Last week, in my review of Judd Apatow’s “This Is 40,” I wrote of its similarities to “Parenthood” (the Ron Howard movie, not the TV show based on it), including:
What they also have in common — spoiler alert! — is a plot twist involving the wife, who is surprised to find herself pregnant years after what (she thought was her) last child was born but, like the couple in “Parenthood,” Apatow’s Pete and Debbie (Rudd and Mann) don’t even pause for a discussion of whether they should keep the child. I know that abortion is a dicey topic for a comedy, but if Amy Heckerling worked it into “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” 30 years ago without creating controversy or bringing the story to a screeching halt, there’s no reason Apatow can’t have his characters at least talk about the choice, including the financial burden another child will place on their already fragile fiscal condition.
That begat a conversation via e-mail with reader Jim Alexander. I’m reprinting it here because it’s rare to see a polite conversation about this topic, albeit between two guys who are pro-choice. It starts with Jim’s initial comments:
I believe that every woman should have the right to an
abortion, and that abortion should never be made illegal. However, I do feel I
should point out that many married couples, upon learning that the wife is pregnant,
never even consider discussing abortion. I find it amazing, and even
disturbing, that you seem to believe that every married couple, when facing a
pregnancy, should discuss abortion as a normal part of their planning process.
I know of your distaste for the tea partiers due to their extreme
views. To me, extremists of either spectrum can be dangerous. Perhaps you
should give that some thought.
That said, I do enjoy reading your blog, and I was a regular
listener to your show when you were in DC. Thanks for the entertainment.
How was it extreme to believe that a couple should consider all options? What’s disturbing about that?
is not something to be take lightly. To treat it as just another option, on the
same level as having and keeping the child, or putting the child up for
adoption, strikes me as wrong. While the government should not make it illegal,
it certainly is the most drastic of options, and many married couples would
never even consider it.
To which I responded:
never suggested abortion be taken lightly. But it should be considered just as
seriously as having a child. Those who don’t consider it as part of their
family planning are being irresponsible.
Okay. One day, when your daughter is married and tells you that she is pregnant with your first grandchild, and expresses concern over the costs and dealing with child care, is this the counsel you will give her?
One day when my daughter asks my advice on anything, I’ll sit down and discuss all available options.