Letter: A different look at pregnancy

Kathryn Olivarius’s “A Pregnant Pause” (Feb. 9) laments the way in which popular media depicts pregnancy and abortion. While her column reveals an interesting trend, I found many of her arguments unconvincing.

The column begins by asserting that abortion and sex are very similar in that they are both “taboo” issues. The author states that sex is now publicly discussed and uses this argument to assert that abortion should be more present in popular media as well. I feel this comparison is unfair, however. For starters, sex is a natural occurrence and to be enjoyed; abortion is neither.

Olivarius also accuses the media of sending the message that teen pregnancy is a wonderful thing though its depiction of such pregnancies. In doing so, she implies that these messages are contributing to the rate of teen pregnancy in the United States. I find this idea to be somewhat ill-conceived. Many, if not most, children like the idea of growing up and becoming parents. However, it has been made very clear — through children’s shows, advice from parents and most of the popular media — that having children is for adults. Most teenagers do not get pregnant because they actively want to.

Olivarius argues that the reason for Hollywood’s lack of abortion is fear: “abortion clinics are bombed and doctors who perform them are murdered,” insinuating that members of the pro-life movement may resort to killing someone. This is ridiculous. The pro-life movement does not support the killing of doctors like George Tiller anymore than the pro-choice side advocates the killing of pro-life advocates like James Pouillon and Mike Fouss (which, incidentally, hardly gained any attention from the media).

Ultimately, Olivarius suggests that the realities of teen pregnancy and abortion should be depicted in the media. Fine. But, if we’re going to put abortion in movies and television, we should show it as it really is. Show the turmoil of the mother in her decision. Display the procedure itself. Reveal the doubts and the heartbreak. To portray a sterilized version of an abortion would be an affront to mothers who make difficult decisions and to the children aborted. Such a movie would be just as slanted as one that does not depict it at all.

Raja Pillai

Feb. 10

The writer is a sophomore in Pierson College and the secretary of Choose Life at Yale.


  • Yale 08

    Well written.

    Ms. Olivarius doesn’t want to hear it though.

  • Funny, I think what you propose in your final paragraph is exactly what Ms. Olivarius was suggesting…that teen pregnancy be shown for the struggle it really is, including decisions as to what to do about it.

    And while teens may be told that pregnancy is for adults, they are taught by shows like Gossip Girl and The OC that teen sex is normal. If Hollywood is going to represent teen sex as glamorous and fun, it would be nice if they were also representing how dire the consequences can really be.

  • anonymous

    “Reveal the doubts and the heartbreak.”

    What about also showing the resolution and relief? There’s room for stories covering the full range of women’s experiences, positive and negative.

  • Alyson

    I agree.

    Even if Ms. Olivarius doesn’t want to hear it, there are many people who will consider this a good framework.

  • weird

    Though i think it has become normal to take issue with a piece that is pro-choice when you are anti-choice, I am not convinced this letter actually engaged with what Olivarius was saying and what #2 has mentioned above.

    The column never said abortion and sex were similar, for one — she said that abortion is as taboo now as sex was 50 years ago. It’s a reality so lets talk about it. And by talking about it accurately and realistically, we can work to reduce the number of them we have as a society. Isn’t that what you want, too? To reduce the number of abortions?

    I, for one, am far more convinced by the first column than this rebuttal. Read it again, I don’t think it says what you think it says. And lets please stop lying to ourselves. Please.

  • the author, @ weird

    I don’t disagree with you. And I acknowledge that Kathryn and I agree on the getting realities straight. I’m saying, if we converse about it, let’s make sure the conversation is balanced on both sides. I did mention that there was a slant in not mentioning it all as well.

  • ?

    No matter what side you choose, abortion is wrong! Can someone write an article on Adoption? Now there is a noble alternative!

  • Emma GS
  • futile

    It’s futile to argue with a pro-choice person like Olivarius. She is the type that likes to put on the earmuffs and shove her opinion down your throat.

    God help the mother that feels some sort of sense of relief after aborting a human…

  • @?

    I like it.

  • Sean A

    It sounds like you are doing the exact same thing, as a pro-lifer, that you alledge Olivarius would do. Shoving stuff down people’s throats. At least she puts her name on it, unlike you. Say who you actually are if you want to bad-mouth.

    Have you actually met her? Has anyone on this comment thread? I have, and she hardly shoves her opinion down people’s throats.

    Stop with the ad-hominums. If you have a critique of her opinion, you can say that, but don’t “block” her into a very very narrow minded view (very) of the pro-choice movement because that is just stupid and you obviously didn;t read her article and don’t know her.