There is a lot in MTV’s abortion episode “No Easy Decision” that gives us insight into why abortions occur and what we can do to stop them.
The young couple, James and Markai, who have already done the right thing with their first pregnancy, and are raising their child, become pregnant again. The story of their struggle with the temptation to abort – and their eventual abortion – is one of strong ambivalence. However, if we listen closely, we notice that the ambivalence did not start with the pregnancy. They became pregnant because Markai missed her birth control appointment and they did not use a condom.
The obvious question is “Why?” This is where the ambivalence already existed. On some level, did they want to get pregnant and not admit that to themselves? This is not an unusual occurrence. Birth control is not the answer to abortion. The process of educating the young to say a generous yes to life has to include helping them to understand their own natural desire to give new life, and how to be more aware of what that desire leads them to do.
When she is pregnant, Markai comments that she’s already in love with the baby she’s carrying despite the fact that all the baby is doing is making her sick. This, too, is a very telling comment, especially when joined with the argument that ensues later between her and James regarding the words they use to describe the child. James calls the child a “thing,” and this offends Markai deeply. She tells him he does not understand a woman’s perspective, and then points to their born child and says that this is what the “thing” can result in. In other words, no matter what games we play with language, a mother knows the truth about motherhood, because she is living it from the inside. The body, the emotions, and the spirit of a pregnant woman are all geared, by nature, to care for that child.
The program also provides a key lesson for parents of pregnant moms. Markai enjoyed the support of her mom through her first pregnancy and childbirth. But with the second, we see a conversation between her and her mom that ends with Markai’s mom telling her, “Mommy can’t help you,” and leaving the decision all to Markai.
Parents, as well as partners, often fall into this sad and tragic trap. They take the position that “the decision is yours,” and may think that this sounds noble for its respect of “choice.” But it is a form of abandonment. It makes the pregnant mother feel all the more isolated and desperate. The loneliness, in turn, increases the temptation to get out of the situation through abortion.
The best way to help the mom in such circumstances is to make a strong declaration of hope: Yes, we can do this; we will get through it together, and by loving this child and one another, we will make this situation into a blessing.