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Media Dislike Pro-Life Messages in Mainstream Movies

An article appearing in the June 10 New York Times claims Hollywood doesn't make movies containing “realistic” discussions of abortion because it hurts the bottom line.


Bryan Dyak, president and chief executive of the Entertainment Industries Council, told the Times “the [film] industry as a whole is getting to be more public-friendly.  That's driven by the cost of the movies and the international release.  Abortion is not big box office material.” 


The article, however, fails to look at the reason why abortion is not “big box office material.” 


The Culture and Media Institute found in its National Cultural Values Survey that 44 percent of Americans label themselves pro-life. 


With box office numbers generally falling, who would want to risk alienating that many potential customers by presenting abortion in a positive light?  


The article appears on the heels of two summer movies promoting pro-life messages.    Waitress features a woman who is hoping to leave her abusive husband and then finds out she's pregnant with his child.  Knocked Up features a woman who becomes pregnant by a stranger during a one-night stand.


Neither movie is exempt from depicting other immoral behavior like nonmarital sex and drug abuse, but the pro-life sentiments clearly shine through.


Michael Roiff, the producer of Waitress, told the Times that Adrienne Shelly, the film's writer and director, “weighed the concept of abortion.”  However, according to Roiff, she “found richer material following the pregnancy through.” 


According to the Times, “the word 'abortion' is never uttered” in either movie.  Slate describes the failure to consider abortion in Knocked Up – a comedy, for Pete's sake – as “disappointing.”  Variety says the values in Knocked Up “defy credibility.”


Why is it when Hollywood decides to address the subject of complicated pregnancies, the liberal media have to carp if the directors opt not to promote abortion? 


Whatever happened to creative license?


Colleen Raezler is a research assistant with the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.