"Friday Night Lights": An Honest Portrayal of Abortion

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Jan. 21 2010 12:21 PM

"Friday Night Lights": An Honest Portrayal of Abortion

Just last year, I bemoaned the fact that no female character has had an abortion on network TV since Bea Arthur's Maude had one back in 1972, even though it is one of the most common surgical procedures in the country. That's about to change: A teen character has an abortion on Friday Night Lights , which is currently only on DirecTV, but will air on NBC again shortly. Warning: if you haven't seen last night's episode, spoilers ahead.

Becky, who is 15, finds out that she is pregnant. Her mom had her when she was a teenager. At first, she doesn't want to tell her mom, but "everymom" Tami Taylor convinces her that she should. Here's what New York magazine has to say about how Becky's decision plays out on screen :

Advertisement
What follows is the best and most honest portrayal of the heartrending decision to end a teenage pregnancy that we’ve ever seen. Other than Becky’s mom railing at the state-mandated pro-life speech that the doctor has to deliver, there’s not a single reference to the cultural war that still rages over this intensely personal issue. Instead, there is just Becky’s intensely personal journey: her sadness over her situation, her shame as she realizes that her mother once viewed her as a similar "mistake," her overwhelming desire to be an adult, someone with responsibilities and love in her life, and, then, ultimately, her realization that she is not ready to be a parent.

There doesn't seem to be much public outrage over this episode, but I wonder if it's because Friday Night Lights is currently airing on a completely obscure channel. It will be interesting to see what happens in April when FNL returns to NBC in a 10 p.m. spot as one of the replacements for Jay Leno's show. Will there be boycotts?

Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.