Tonight at 11:30 EST, MTV will air the special “No Easy Decision,” in which teen mom Markai Durham of “16 & Pregnant” has an abortion. As first reported by Crushable, Markai got pregnant by her boyfriend James shortly after giving birth to baby Za’karia and decided to end the pregnancy. Two other young women who chose to have abortions will be depicted in “No Easy Decision” as well. According to Jennifer Armstrong at Entertainment Weekly, who exclusively viewed the special, “While pro-life critics will likely find fault with the show just for existing, no one can accuse the documentarians of making abortion look easy or fun.”I am pleased that MTV is finally addressing abortion as an option for teenagers, because shows like “16 & Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” made it seem like the only two options were adoption or raising a baby. I just hope Markai Durham and the others are ready for the character assassination that will follow after “No Easy Decision” airs. She will have every nasty, speculative slur in the book thrown at her: Why is she having so much sex? Is she a slut? Doesn’t she know how use a condom? How irresponsible is she? Is she using abortion like birth control? For a non-judgmental viewing of “No Easy Decision” and the young women depicted therein, I suggest you follow along with a liveblog by feminist reproductive rights activists, called 16 & Loved.
“16 & Loved” is a campaign by Exhale, a multi-lingual after-abortion counseling talk line that provides support and respect to women after making one of life’s most difficult choices. Feminist reproductive rights activists Jessica Valenti of Feministing.com, Shelby Knox from the documentary “The Education of Shelby Knox,” Lynn Harris (formerly of Salon.com Broadsheet), Steph Herold of IAmDr.Tiller.com, and Jamia Wilson of the Women’s Media Center will each lend their expertise to the MTV special.
I would imagine these women will discuss a point I made in my last post about Markai Durham, which is that she is a typical woman seeking an abortion in the United States. Why? Because she’s already a mother. According to a 2008 paper in The Journal of Family Issues, 61 percent of American women who have abortions are already mothers. That is a fact which is all too easily obscured by anti-abortion protestors: the majority of American women getting abortions aren’t irresponsible baby-killers, they’re already moms.
You can join the “16 & Loved” liveblog during MTV’s airing of “No Easy Decision” here at 11:30 p.m. EST. I suspect a few of us will be watching “No Easy Decision” on The Frisky, too, and I look forward to a discussion tomorrow.
[16 & Loved Campaign]
[Entertainment Weekly: MTV Abortion Special Preview: Exclusive]
[Guttmacher Institute: Responsibility for Existing Children and “Ideal” Conditions for Motherhood Found to be Important Factors]
[Markai Durham Facebook Fan Page]
[MTV.com: 16 & Pregnant Markai Durham Page]