The MTV abortion special No Easy Decision won't air until 11:30 EST tonight on MTV, and critics are already sounding the warning that the channel is "promoting abortion" with the spin-off of its teen pregnancy show 16 and Pregnant. Which is exactly why the special shouldn't be shown.
Before they've even given it a chance; clearly not even digesting the words "no easy decision," the right to life crew has begun castigating teen girls whose life they can't begin to understand. And they don't have the best track record for treating women who have had an abortion with appropriate respect. Markai Durham and the other two girls expected to talk about their difficult decisions tonight are brave souls, but it's just as difficult to tell how ready they are for the response they'll get.
Unfortunately, they're just teen girls who have done nothing more than represent onscreen what happens to a full third of the teen pregnancies in America. It's "no easy decision," but in a third of cases, it is what is happening for myriad reasons, from the inability to financially support a child to the fear of repercussions from strict parents with a violent bent. For Durham, who has been open not just about her abortion but the negative response it's already gotten, it was a sacrifice for the sake of her other child.
But none of that matters to the most rabid critics, who pick and choose which parts of the Bible they want to follow. Durham and the other girls are about to be the new public face of evil in the eyes of the pro-life crowd. Like George Tiller, the late term abortion doctor murdered in cold blood last year for providing women with a legal procedure and like the people at the Alabama abortion clinic bombed by Eric Rudolph in 1998 for doing nothing more than providing legal health care to women, they are about to become new targets.
They will be written up on pro-life blogs that anyone else they ever meet -- potential employers, potential spouses, future children -- will be able to pull up with a quick Google search. They will likely get hate mail and perhaps even worse.
And even if they've received funding from MTV, it's not likely to cover the cost of bodyguards or a new phone line when the hate calls start creeping in. These girls do not have the means of people like Lil Kim, who spoke out about her abortion 10 years ago but was already shrouded in the privacy and protection of celebrity. Lil Kim did women a service by speaking out; people like her can help us remove the stigma.
I hate to let the terrorists win. But I don't worry about the likes of Lil Kim the way I worry for these girls. They are still just kids themselves.
I will be watching the show tonight because I think it's time we start talking about the realities of being a woman in America. But as a mother, I wouldn't mind seeing it canceled before it hits the airwaves. Will you be watching?
Image via MTV