According to decades of research, abortion is an incredibly common and safe medical procedure.
But if you learned about abortion only from movies and TV, that's not the story you'd see. For the last eight years, we've been studying onscreen depictions of abortion. We've found that Hollywood tends to dramatically exaggerate the medical risks associated with abortion while downplaying real barriers to access.
Aside from a few exceptions, 2020's onscreen content continued to reflect patterns we'd identified in previous years.
Missing from the narratives
Overall, we tracked 31 television storylines and 13 movie plot lines about abortion in 2020. They include titles like the American release of the French film "Portrait of a Lady on Fire"; HBO's "Unpregnant" and "Never Rarely Sometimes Always"; Hulu's "Little Fires Everywhere" and "Mrs. America"; and the independent film "Saint Frances."
Thirty-one of them featured a character having or disclosing an abortion. This is more than we've seen in previous years. In the past, more characters changed their minds, had miscarriages or didn't even consider having an abortion when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
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