In the past decade, MTV has evolved from a network that aired mostly vapid shows that relate vaguely to music to one that tackles some of the most serious issues facing today’s youth. Often the focus of these programs are controversial in nature: we’ve seen specials on polyamory, cross-dressing, and body dysmorphic disorder. One of the networks most popular shows deals with teenage pregnancy.
But all of these topics seem tame and simple in comparison to the one they plan on looking at next. Recently we learned that MTV plans on airing a show that deals with teen abortion.
I for one have to applaud MTV for choosing to go ahead with a project that will inevitably elicit a lot of criticism. It’s important for teenagers to be faced with the reality of the situation: that people get abortions every day – in fact, 35% of women have an abortion at some point, but this issue is rarely discussed on television.
The special will be called No Easy Choice, which is telling. The assumption seems to be that women who choose to have abortions are quick to jump to that decision, but in reality, this choice is almost always a difficult and intensely painful one. This shows gives MTV a chance to show real girls what it’s really like. On the one hand, it may reach people who deem abortion as cruel and wrong (to our readers who are pro-life: I’m not suggesting that you should change your own beliefs, just that the show may present the issue in a way that makes you see others who choose to have abortions in a different way.) On the other hand, MTV has tremendous power to teach pro-choice women an important lesson: that even though abortion is an option, it is a tremendously difficult one, and that it is so important to be careful and safe.
MTV is doing something incredibly brave and important with this show. It’s time someone faced this very complex issue head on – rather than skirting around it the way so many other shows do (when is the last time we’ve seen someone actually go through with an abortion? The fact is, it’s rarely even mentioned as an option – and when it is, creators are so quick to avert the issue, usually by writing in a miscarriage for the character). By countering its hit Teen Mom, MTV is showing real girls the realities of their options. Controversial and difficult as this issue may be, it is so important that someone finally presents abortion for what it really is.