Obvious Child opens with a joke about vaginal discharge and ends with Donna, its protagonist, wrapped in blankets on her couch, sipping tea, resting after her abortion. These moments represent the film’s strengths—its hilarity, its irreverence, its sincerity, and its quietly revolutionary story.
Our research here at ANSIRH has shown how fraught cinematic abortion stories can be.
Characters who consider having abortions often have their plans fortuitously derailed by pregnancy loss or change their minds suddenly in the waiting room of the clinic, or, should they actually get an abortion, deal with relationships falling apart, future infertility, or even tragic deaths. The few abortion stories that avoid these pitfalls are still serious and often grim; abortion is almost always the obstacle that nearly thwarts the protagonist’s happiness, and almost never the easy, safe path to that happy ending. (more…)