Good Girls Avoid Abortion
"Abortion exists only as a faux option — something to choose
When a female character has an unexpected and/or unwanted pregnancy, someone may allude to the possibility of abortion (usually without saying the 'A' word
). However, she will likely not
have an abortion for one of three reasons:
- She dismisses it immediately because of her religious/spiritual/moral beliefs or upbringing, or because she distrusts the procedure (especially if it would involve a Back-Alley Doctor).
- She thinks it over for a while, then decides that, no, she's going to keep the baby. This may be followed by a Convenient Miscarriage. Which, ironically, she will never be relieved by; she'll be sad because now she wanted it.
- She actually decides to have it done, but somehow things don't turn out as she expects, and her attempted abortion is aborted.
If she actually goes through with the abortion, and doesn't suffer gruesome complications from the procedure or a certain amount of moral guilt and uncertainty afterwards, it's usually to show that she's a deeply damaged, screwed-up individual. If this happens, but it is played for laughs, it's a Black Comedy
. If the male character who got her pregnant voices support for the abortion option, it's played as a Kick the Dog
moment to show what a jerkass
the guy is.
Part of the reason for this is to both avoid the wrath of the Moral Guardians
, and as well as avoid polarizing the audience (though this can happen anyway if her decision not to abort is made in a hamfisted manner), but it's mostly because if the character had an abortion and everyone went home happy, it would make for an uninteresting and/or short story
. Writing a character who has an abortion and feels ambivalent or uneasy about her choice is generally verboten. However, if the character decides to keep the child, a large avenue of potential plot lines opens up for the writer to exploit. For example, new Characters, all manner of Character Development
and Wedding and Engagement Tropes
The other 'a' word (adoption) hardly ever enters into consideration even if abortion itself is ruled out. There are several reasons for this. In serial media such as television and comic books, a baby given up for adoption can be seen as a dangling plot thread that the audience will expect to be picked up some day
. Also, adoption requires carrying the baby to term. If the woman merely needs to figure out what to do with the baby, this is irrelevant, but if she wants to conceal the fact that she was ever pregnant to begin with, it may not suffice. And abortion can be counted on to get a stronger reaction from the audience than adoption. Similar story logic applies to why we rarely see women taking advantage of the safe-haven laws
that exist in all 50 states and simply allow them to "surrender" a child to the state without even contacting an adoption agency.
This trope's usage can be executed poorly by writers suffering of Critical Research Failure
, mostly in the field of medicine, where they would show archaic methods used by a Back-Alley Doctor
(mostly the use of a hook-like object) as being the norm of respectable clinics, as well as showing a fully formed embryo (8 months old or so) instead of a tiny mostly amorphous fetus when it comes to the subject of what resides inside the soon-to-be mother's womb.
Most importantly, however, is that this trope turns upon the false Begging The Question
choice between responsibility and personal freedom. From a narrative standpoint, adoption is a kind of a cheat since it allows the woman to have both, thus allowing the author to resolve the conflict without answering the underlying question
. If adoption is
mentioned, it will usually be ruled out with some justification or other.
No real life examples please. This is a very sensitive topic, and the term "good" in appliance to a living person is very subjective.
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Anime and Manga
- A fourth reason was used to justify Hinako giving birth to her second pregnancy in Bitter Virgin (her first was miscarried before she even realized she was pregnant)- the doctor told her that if Hinako went through with an abortion, her body wouldn't be able to take it and she might never be able to bear children again in the future. As a result she was made to carry the baby to term and gave it up for adoption.
- Fumio in Karin went with reason 2, and carried the baby (Kenta) to term against her family's wishes.
- Later we see Kenta's father with another woman, who is pregnant and demands him to pay for an abortion. He gets a little pissed off by that.
- In Nana Nana K becomes pregnant with Takumi's child and thinks about getting an abortion because she and her boyfriend Nobu aren't able to support a child. However she decided against it when Takumi offers to marry her and help raise the child if she goes through with the pregnancy. Though Nana K admits that if her current boyfriend Nobu had asked her to get an abortion she would have gone through with it.
- Played straight in Now and Then, Here and There. Sara becomes pregnant as a result of a rape and tries to induce an abortion, but Sis convinces her to not take out her hatred of the man who hurt her on the baby. This one's a particularly egregious case of this trope considering that Sara is a psychologically traumatized young girl living in a war-torn dystopian hellhole who has limited access to health care and has no family or parents to help her raise the child or support her financially. Her only parental figure is Sis, who dies shortly after talking Sara out of the abortion. In addition, the doctor who gave the option of abortion, and the only real doctor we actually see in the series, was shot dead a few episodes ago, so it may actually be a non-option without putting Sara's life at risk as well.
- Averted in Wild Adapter. Pregnant teenager Saori runs away from home and befriends series leads Kubota and Tokitoh. They're investigating the mysterious drug W•A; she's looking for her missing boyfriend. Turns out W•A killed him. In love with her boyfriend but ambivalent about her pregnancy, Saori is strongly implied to have had an abortion by the end of the story. Kubota offers sympathetic acknowledgment: "women are strong, aren't they? Look at us men, we're hopeless."
- Late in the School Days anime, Makoto gets Sekai pregnant, and alternates between claiming the baby can't possibly be his and pressuring her to get an abortion. This is used to drive home that Makoto's a Jerkass, as his main concern is that nobody else is willing to sleep with him after how he publicly rejected Sekai. However, it's also left up in the air whether Sekai was actually pregnant or not. Being School Days, it didn't end well.
- Averted in Eternal Sabbath - when Yuri's mother finds out she's pregnant just as she's starting to rebuild her relationship with her daughter, she opts to abort, out of equal parts a desire to concentrate on Yuri and a fear she'll love the new child to the point she can't accept the one she has. The story is entirely on her side. When Isaac kills her - abortion is his Berserk Button for very valid reasons - it's presented not as karma but as a tragedy, and is the crucial mistake that seals his fate.
- This seems to be Madam Red's opinion in Black Butler. She actually kills and mutilates prostitutes who had an abortion and don't feel remotely bad about it. This is explained by the fact she cannot have children.
- In Akkan Baby, just about everybody suggests that Shigeru and Yuki may want to give up their child. "I don't want to kill the baby!" are practically Arc Words.
- In Fruits Basket, this is used to show the differences in morality between Kyoko and Ren, though neither woman gets an abortion and they're portrayed in different lights because of their reasons for considering them. Ren threatens to get one to emotionally manipulate her husband into raising their future child as a boy, regardless of the baby's actual gender, because she's such a Yandere that she hates the idea of any woman, even a daughter, taking Akira's attention away from her. Kyoko, meanwhile, considers an abortion because she thinks it's better to not have a baby at all than to have one and possibly condemn it to a childhood as abusive and neglectful as her own was. She decides against it when her husband convinces her that she'll be a much better parent than her own were, and that he'll be there to help her. (He dies while Tohru's still little, but Kyoko is a good mother.)
- Double subverted and discussed in The Legend Of Mother Sarah. The story's setting being a dystopian, After the End-like future where Earth is nothing a but a barren wasteland of warfare and power struggles, getting pregnant is inherently dangerous for a woman since you must be able to run away from bombings and gunfights anytime as these can happen anywhere, anytime. Double points when being a woman doesn't grant you any special immunity. The title character evokes the issue with the Mother Superior of the small religious community her daughter chose to join, saying that abortion and even child-killing aren't always avoidable in such a setting. However, it doesn't stop Satoko from carrying her own unplanned pregnancy to completion, as her newborn will also be a memento from her dead lover.
- Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service takes hard questions to the next level as usual with the question: do good girls avoid infanticide? A recurring character introduced late in the series faces this dilemma when her grandmother, a midwife who performed infanticide services for unwilling mothers, passes away. She is left with the question of whether to take over her grandmother's work in order to help the women who need it, even though she really doesn't want to. A vision from her dead grandmother tells her she should not dedicate her life to a course she doesn't believe in, and she goes on with her career as a nurse at the children's hospital instead.
- Snow White in Fables dismisses abortion as a response to a magical (possibly dangerous) pregnancy via Rape by Proxy without even considering it. She's very old-fashioned, and it's implied that, as a whole, Fables refuse to even countenance abortion. Snow White offendedly asks if Dr. Swineheart is suggesting she's "gone native", adding that "some" (clearly meaning Fables vs humans) are still governed by duty and responsibility over their own happiness. She then threats to expel the doctor from Fabletown if he ever mentions the possibility again.
- In one issue it's implied that Frau Totenkinder ('Mrs Dead Children'), who used to get her magical powers from sacrificing a newborn baby annually, instead does some kind of work related to abortion in the Mundy community for the same effect. It's mentioned that the entire Fable community might turn against her if they found out, despite there being several retired mass-murderers among them and many characters who are still perfectly willing to kill in cold blood.
- When Lauren Beukes wrote a Rapunzel-centric arc in the "side stories about female characters" Spin-Off Fairest, it was revealed that Rapunzel helped Frau T make abortifacient herbal potions for village girls "in trouble", and had no problem with it. The bit in question was so irrelevant to what was going on in the story at that point that it came across as an Armed with Canon attack on the opinions expressed in the main series.
- It later gets revealed that a particularly vicious move by Max Piper rendered Fables virtually sterile, meaning that pregnancies are extremely rare. Some fans consider this a Retcon possibly done to soften the Unfortunate Implications of such a harshly condemnatory attitude.
- The Sandman averts the trope in one conversation, where a woman mentions having had an abortion in a way that makes it clear it didn't mess her up (though it's not a casual reference either).
- In "The Wake" Lyta Hall advises Rose Walker to abort her baby before it can break her heart.
- One of the first storylines in Milestone Comics' Icon had the teenage sidekick, Rocket, discovering that she was pregnant. Everyone she asks for advice — including the socially conservative Icon himself — is sympathetic to her situation, and offer no objection to the possibility of her aborting. Rocket eventually decides that she was really fishing for a trusted authority figure to tell her to do what she wanted to do anyway — carry the baby to term.
- Averted in Exiles: Nocturne and Thunderbird begin a relationship while dimension-hopping and Nocturne gets pregnant, but Thunderbird is effectively rendered brain dead by a Heroic Sacrifice and is unable to jump with the rest of the team. Nocturne tells the team that she had a miscarriage at some point in their travails, but a later issue showing her reflecting on her relationship with Thunderbird implies she had an abortion (or used her powers to induce it herself) because she couldn't handle raising the baby alone.
- Runaways takes this one step further by implying that even evil girls avoid abortion, as well as Hypocritical Humor since both are about to take part in a ritual that involves killing an innocent youth. It is part of a super villain plot to wipe out all of humanity in exchange for twenty years of unlimited wealth and power and a fifty-fifty shot at immortality.
Leslie Dean: You're not going to keep it, are you?
Janet Stein: Of course I am. What do you take me for, some kind of monster?
- Chick Tracts, obviously.
- Stephanie Brown (The Spoiler) is against abortion from the very beginning (the arc was written by conservative Chuck Dixon). At first it looks like it's also going to be Good Girls Avoid Adoption, but she changes her mind after realizing her life is not a suitable place for a child.
- Cindy of Barbara Slate's Angel Love comic book series decides to get an abortion when she gets pregnant from a night with her boyfriend, and although her friend Angel is opposed to the idea, she nonetheless accompanies Cindy to the abortion clinic where she ends up having a change of heart and mind and decides not to go through with it, but instead will marry her boyfriend so that her child will not be without a father.
- The graphic novel Aya by Margeurite Abouet is a subversion. One of Aya's best friends, Adjoua, contemplates getting an abortion after she becomes pregnant. Aya manages to talk her out of it solely because the woman who would be performing the abortion, one of the local medicine women in Yopougon, is said to do so with a knitting needle. Aya's sole concern was for Adjoua's welfare and not the baby's. As a further subversion, Adjoua's not much of a good girl since she tells the local rich kid that he's the father of her baby in order to marry him. When the baby is born, the guy's parents are immediately convinced their son's not the father because he looks absolutely nothing like him. And his mother actually met the guy who is the father. He looks just like his son.
- Initially and pointedly averted, in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 comics. Buffy gets pregnant, and, knowing that the child would be a target for all of her enemies, would never have a chance to have a normal childhood, might prove a severe distraction to her ongoing world-saving efforts, and, in any case, is seriously not ready to have a kid, apparently decides that terminating the pregnancy is the best option. Later issues would reveal that Buffy had had her mind implanted in a robot body and, in fact, was not pregnant at all, struck many as a Writer Cop Out.
- After Kathy in Shade, the Changing Man reveals her pregnancy with Shade's child, she and Lenny immediately begin discussing abortion, and Shade surprises them by turning out to be pro-life:
Shade: But Kathy...you're a good person!
- Shade suggests many Applied Phlebotinum alternatives that would've turned this into a Space Whale Aesop had they been accepted. After several issues of Kathy and Lenny arguing on the principle of their right to choose (with Shade outnumbered and sulking,) Kathy ultimately chooses to keep the child.
- The Pokémon Black and White fanfic Darkest Night involves Hilda getting pregnant after being raped by Grimsley. She decides not to get an abortion, for reasons that are discussed but never fully explained (what makes the situation even weirder is that the author wrote another fanfic for the same exact fandom that actually featured morning-after pills).
- There are hundred's of fics written in the iCarly community, with a Fandom-Specific Plot being Sam(antha) becoming pregnant to Freddie unplanned, and usually as a result of a drunken one-night stand that isn't part of an ongoing relationship. There's probably a bare handful that even discuss abortion, let alone actually have Sam do it.
- Abortion is referenced vaguely in this Avatar: The Last Airbender fic, in which Mai becomes unexpectedly pregnant. Mai's mother suggests that she get an abortion since at this point she and Zuko aren't married yet, making Mai's position in the royal court somewhat uncertain. Mai firmly asserts that she considered the option, but is going to keep the baby. A Justified Trope in this case, as the main plot—a conspiracy to usurp the throne—revolves around the baby's (eventually legitimate) birth.
- Averted in this Dragon Ball Z fanfic, which Topless Robot found so disturbing that they refused to provide running commentary on it. Videl gets an abortion because she heard it would sexually arouse her, and it's possible that she had sex to get pregnantfor this reason.
- Harry Potter fanfic "A Different Dursley Family" briefly mentioned abortion. In that fic, Vernon Dursley was expelled from Smeltings and cut from his father's will, which resulted in Vernon getting a job as a mechanic for a living. Despite this, he and Petunia still fell in love and had a son (who was named Ryan because this Vernon feared the child would be mocked if named Dudley). Because Vernon and Petunia still weren't married by the time she became pregnant, abortion was briefly mentioned but they decided to keep their son.
- Lost Innocence plays with this somewhat, as Ranma, having been drugged by Shampoo and shortly after, raped by Kunou falls into category 2, including the Convenient Miscarriage triggered by the mother showing off a special attack to confirm her story. The playing comes in, not because of the goodness of the mother, but rather that she did not want to bear the child of her assailant, but had to give birth to stop the Mode Lock.
- Very much subverted in the Axis Powers Hetalia fic, Pickles and Peanut Butter. Through some unexplained phenomenon, the nations randomly become pregnant (sex not required) with the nation dying and the baby replacing them. Because it's considered to be too risky to leave any country under the protection of a child for any length of time, the nations all abort with some more affected than others. America, taken by surprise when it happens to him, as no one explained it, tries to keep his. The other nations first try to hold an "intervention", then resort to ordering an abortion when he passes out.
- The Superjail! fanfic An Unexpected Child deals with the Mistress of Ultraprison becoming pregnant with the Warden's child after her debut episode Ladies' Night where she and her male counterpart did the nasty. She does consider abortion at first, but eventually decides to keep it.
- In Christian Grey Vs Pepper Potts, while an actual abortion isn't discussed, when Black Widow ends up unexpectedly pregnant via birth control failure, she has to decide whether to have Bruce Banner halt her Widow enhancements or not (not doing so would have her body automatically have her miscarry early in the pregnancy). She's initially uncertain as she's haunted by memories of the first baby she had (stillborn), but decides to go through with it after coming to terms with it and realizing how much of a medical miracle it was that she and Hawkeye (who had a very low sperm count) could conceive any child at all.
- In Dirty Dancing, the dancing instructor tries to have an abortion, but because it's The Sixties and they're illegal, it goes horribly wrong. Fortunately the heroine's father is a doctor, so he manages to save her, although it does make a major misunderstanding. In this case the girl is still considered "good" both by the audience and the characters, and the blame is rightly placed on the rich snob who knocked her up and dumped her. Even the heroine's father blames him when he learns the truth.
- The Life Before Her Eyes: She gets the abortion, but the film treats it as a very bad decision with lasting consequences.
- In Fools Rush In, the father actually implies he would prefer an abortion (that is as long as the mother is choosing it, so he doesn't have to take any moral responsibility for the decision). The mother responds that she is going to keep the baby. While not explicitly justified, the fact that the mother is a devout Catholic probably justifies the "no abortion" aspect of the movie.
- In The Fly (1986), abortion is still depicted with a negative aspect, but the heroine's decision to get an abortion is given the defense that her baby might not be human. In the sequel The Fly II, she didn't, and it wasn't, but he got better.
- Dogma has the protagonist working at an abortion clinic, but that doesn't stop her from getting "tapped" to do God's work. It's revealed in the deleted scenes that she chose that career because a botched abortion in her youth caused an infection, left her infertile, and led to her husband leaving her.
- Discussed in TheDoors: During Jim's breakdown toward the end, at least two women claim to be pregnant. In one scene, he talks over the matter with Patricia. She wants to keep the baby and raise it ("It would be a genius."), Jim is against raising it ("It would be a monster."). She says she doesn't like "the other fucking thing, either." Although Jim offers to pay for the abortion and support her through it the idea upsets Patricia, although she's so far been shown as a feminist and a practicing white witch (the very women who might have been persecuted for providing abortifacients in the past). The outcome isn't shown, and Jim flies to Paris shortly after.
- In Juno, the main character goes to an abortion clinic but doesn't like the place when she gets there. After a protester tells her that fetuses have fingernails (which isn't actually true at that stage in the pregnancy, in case you were wondering), she decides she'll be putting her baby up for adoption. Her exact reason for deciding against abortion isn't specified, and is pretty much left up to the imagination of the viewer. The slightly more obvious meta-reason she didn't get one is that if she got the abortion, there'd be no plot, and much of the movie can be considered a love-song to adoption and non-biological parents (particularly adoptive- and step-mothers).
- In Breakfast on Pluto, Patrick "Kitten" Braden's childhood friend Charlie travels to London to have an abortion. Kitten accompanies Charlie to the clinic, assuring her that she's making the right decision, fearing the child might end up a "disaster" like Kitten herself. Charlie decides against it at the last second - turns out she wouldn't mind at all if the child ended up like Kitten.
- Averted in Murdoch Mysteries: Dr. Julia Ogden reveals that she had an abortion and suffered severe complications, which inspired her friend to become an illegal abortionist-in The Gay Nineties in Canada where even contraceptive methods are against the law. She has no regrets, because there was no way she would want to marry her lover, and she wanted to pursue her studies and career. However, it's later revealed that the abortion has left her barren. It's not clear how much she wants kids herself, but she knows the man she loves longs for a family.
- In Knocked Up, the female lead's sister mentions the possibility of abortion, but she decides to bring the baby to term. This was a bone of contention for many critics of the film, who pointed out that a) the father was a schlub she had no previous history with and appeared to be a less-than-suitable father figure b) she had no apparent religious convictions or prestated beliefs as to why she might keep the baby, c) she was an anchor at E! who was rather devoted to climbing the corporate ladder and d) the sister who suggested it and Jonah Hill were portrayed very unsympathetically, and the avoidance of the actual word "abortion"-Hill's character refers to it as a "shmushmortion." One unstated but possible reason she decided not to get one is because of the potential fallout of the public finding out she had an abortion, though the film never goes into this.
- Averted in The Godfather Part II. Kay supposedly aborts her second son because she knows the kid is just gonna grow up to be a mafioso like all the other men in the family. This is what leads to her and Michael's final split when he finds out that she had the abortion. It's never really made clear whether we're supposed to root for her or not, which is just as it should be. There is also a possibility Kay was lying to Michael about the abortion and really did just have a miscarriage.
- Averted in Baby Boy, when Yvette aborts what would have been her second child with Jody. She has sympathy on her side, however, since she's heartbroken over the procedure and her boyfriend Jody is an irresponsible jerkass who has a child with another woman.
- The Romanian film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days averts this trope, as the main focus is on a woman trying to get an abortion. And, since it's set in Ceausescu's Romania, it avoids the whole "neat abortion = no drama" bit, seeing as abortion is illegal and carries a hefty penalty.
- Averted in the horror film Pin. Leon's sister, Ursula, discovers that she's pregnant as a result of constantly having unprotected sex. She immediately chooses to have an abortion, which is successful. Afterward, she cleans up her life and the incident is never mentioned again.
- Averted in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Stacy Hamilton is a flawed but fundamentally good person. However, when she gets pregnant by Mike Damonenote , an abortion is quickly decided. The drama revolves not on the controversy or ill effects of the abortion, but on Damone flaking on paying his half, and failing to provide a promised ride. It's then exasperated by Stacy witnessing a demonstration of babies being born at a nearby hospital, which makes her feel very guilty about what she did.
- The movie Bella is all about a (recently unemployed) single woman dealing with the knowledge that she is pregnant and making a decision of what to do about it. Abortion is certainly considered, with her saying things like 'I said I was pregnant; I didn't say I was having a baby.' In the end, she allows a friend to adopt her child, after seeing what a great family he has. Whether or not she is a 'good girl' depends on definitions, but she is certainly portrayed as a sympathetic character with good intentions.
- Played straight in Saved!. It doesn't even occur to the main character to have an abortion when she falls pregnant, though this is in-character as a born-again Christian who lives in a very conservative neighborhood and attends a private religious school. The subject of abortion is only brought up twice, and never actually named, both times by the rebellious Cassandra; only once to Mary's face, and by then, it's "too late."
- Averted in Fame, at least in the 1980 version. The ballet dancer has to have an abortion in order to pursue her career. She's somewhat awkward about it, but realistically not devastated.
- In High Fidelity, before the story takes place, Laura gets an abortion when Rob gets her pregnant, keeping it a secret from him until a long time later. On one hand, he finds out when he mentions having kids and she starts crying, indicating that she's not happy about it; on the other hand, Rob admits that it was probably the right decision.
- In the movie Detective Story, Kirk Douglas plays Jim McLeod, a police officer with a jones to bust an abortionist (which, being in the '50s, is a criminal offense). The doctor assumes McLeod is out to get him because the doc once performed an abortion of Mrs. McLeod. Not so! McLeod didn't know about that at all. When McLeod finds out, he's more upset because his wife had the abortion before they met.
- In an example of extreme Values Dissonance, the head of the Hays Commission tried to rain down hellfire on the film, saying that abortion was such an evil that you couldn't even discuss it in a film, even if you were portraying it in a fairly negative fashion.
- The 1943 French film Le corbeau, made in occupied France and often celebrated for its Take That against the Vichy collaborators, features a hero who is an atheist and abortionist doctor who is sick and tired of poor women dying in back-alley abortions and so provides quality methods with a higher life retention rate.
- In Manny And Lo, the delinquent teen figures she's just getting fat from her diet of convenience store junk food. When she finally goes into the clinic to "get it done," the doctor informs her she's too far along to get an abortion. Solution? Kidnap a baby store clerk.
- An example of only thoroughly messed-up girls getting abortions: in the Dutch movie Godforsaken, the psychotic gangster's girlfriend finds out that she's pregnant and then does her own dirty work with a clothes hanger.
- Averted in April Fools' Day when it turns out that the supposed Shrinking Violet Nan was pregnant and had an abortion. This comes after someone left a tape of a baby crying in her room.
- Averted with Vera Drake, which is about a kind, loving 1950 London housewife who secretly performs illegal abortions. The film is entirely sympathetic toward Vera and presents multiple perspectives on the issue, both with realistic patients (including a careless floozy, an exhausted housewife who couldn't afford to raise another child, and a victim of date rape) and with her family when they find out the truth-her husband vows to stay by her side for better or worse, her son believes it's "killing innocent babies," and her daughter's fiancé thinks it's an act of mercy compared to bringing a child who can't be properly cared for into the world.
- Similar to Fast Times at Ridgemont High (above), this trope is averted in the schizophrenic if poignant 1982 film The Last American Virgin. Smooth Operator Rick gets titular good-girl Karen pregnant then dumps her. Protagonist Gary sells his stereo and takes heat from Nurse Rached to get Karen an abortion, and that's all that's heard regarding pregnancy and procedure. This film is based on the Israeli film Eskimo Limon which features the same pregnancy-abortion plot point.
- Subverted in A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. Protagonist Alice knows she's pregnant. Alice has magic dream powers that let her dream while awake and affect reality through dreams, but she too can be affected. Alice soon realizes that her unborn son Jacob is exercising the same powers. Freddy Krueger can ordinarily only kill people in dreams, but he can use Jacob's dreams to start murdering Alice's friends pretty much whenever he pleases. One of Alice's friends suggests that she stop Freddy by having an abortion, which would end Jacob's dreams. Alice refuses to do so because she wants to keep the baby and thinks she can destroy Freddy through other means. Alice's other means aren't entirely successful and ultimately her unborn son Jacob has to destroy Freddy in the dream world by copying Freddy's powers. The film's final scene shows Alice and her father cooing over the baby. As the camera pans back, we see girls in old-fashioned white dresses playing jump-rope and singing a song that always heralds Freddy's reappearance in a Nightmare on Elm Street film.
- Played with in Blue Denim: After a teenage couple, Janet and Arthur, find themselves expecting a baby, they seek help to pay for an abortion, and find a doctor willing to perform the procedure; however, because it takes place in the 1950's, there is some worry over the safety of the procedure itself and in the end Arthur, worried that Janet will die, breaks down confessing to his parents, and they go to rescue her just in the nick of time. They go home, and the parents of both teenagers have a discussion before agreeing, with Janet's consent, to send her to live with her aunt. The characters constantly skate around the word "abortion", but the euphemisms, and the characters' worry about the procedure, makes it pretty clear to the audience as to what it is they're planning to do. In the play Janet has the abortion after all, and lives through the procedure.
- Enforced in the Lifetime Movie of the Week The Devil's Child, where a woman pregnant with the Antichrist tries to get an abortion, but a mysterious explosion kills everyone in the hospital.
- In Garage Days, Kate gets pregnant by Joe, decides to have an abortion, and then changes her mind. However, it's not clear how set she was on the abortion to begin with (the characters were in a bad patch.)
- The film version of I Don't Know How She Does It has an assistant-who's single, working all hours at her job, and has sworn not to have kids-considering an abortion when she gets pregnant from a one-night stand. Kate simply plants her hands on her shoulders and tells her, "You are going to have this baby." She agrees.
- In El Crimen del Padre Amaro (English title- The Crime of Father Amaro), the titular priest has an affair with good girl Amelia and gets her pregnant. Him being a Catholic priest in very Catholic Mexico, he of course wants her to leave town to protect his reputation. Instead she tries to reunite with her ex-boyfriend Ruben so she can pass the baby off as his. When her Ruben rejects her advances, Father Amaro arranges for Amelia to have a back-alley abortion. The abortion, of course, goes wrong and Amelia dies. Ruben coincidentally leaves town at the same time and so is subsequently blamed for what happened to Amelia while Amaro gets to keep his good reputation. Amelia is portrayed as an innocent victim of Amaro's selfishness rather than a hussy who got what she deserved.
- Played straight in Blue Valentine; Cindy goes to a clinic to get an abortion but backs out at the last possible second.
- Discussed in Se7en. Tracy, the wife of one of the main characters, contacts her husband's partner to discuss her pregnancy. She isn't sure she wants to have a child given the environment of the city where they live. Somerset tell her about a previous relationship in which he pressured his partner into having an abortion and later regretted it. He does not actively try to dissuade her, though. Becomes a moot point when she is killed before deciding what to do about the pregnancy.
- Enter the Void: Averted at first with Linda, who gets one after she's gotten pregnant by the strip club owner early on. Played straight later on when she gets pregnant by Alex, then apparently has a baby at the end whom Oscar may (or may not) have incarnated into.
- Obvious Child is a very deliberate aversion. The filmmakers were annoyed with this trope, and intentionally made a film about a sympathetic protagonist who wants an abortion.
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: Subverted. It is implied that sweet, fragile Honey secretly aborts all her pregnancies because she doesn't want to have children.
- Averted in "The Big Chill": Meg is telling her old friend Sarah that she's fine giving up on the search for Mr. Right, but frustrated because she's always wanted a child. When Sarah gives her a meaningful look, she quickly adds "But it was the right thing to do at the time." The audience later learns that she's referring to an abortion she had after she and Michael conceived back in their college days. In the end, Sarah asks her husband to sleep with Meg and father her child. Since this was before IVF became widely available, this makes sense in context.
- Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy explores the hypocrisy of this concept. Clyde Griffiths and Roberta Alden initially decide to abort her child but find it difficult to seek a sympathetic doctor, mostly because of religious notions. Roberta, already wracked with guilt, decides to keep her baby, an action which drives Clyde to plot her murder. After her death, she's portrayed in the media as an angel and a good woman, whereas if she had gone through with the abortion she would be judged more harshly.
- The Phantom's Phantom, a modern novel retroactively set in The Fifties, has a Back-Alley Doctor referring his poor patients to a prostitution ring in lieu of cash payment. And between the illegal abortion and the prostitution, blackmail opportunities abounded.
- Katie Nolan gets pregnant three months after the birth of her first child in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn but declines the abortifacient the midwife offers her.
- Bizarrely averted in one of Karen Traviss' Wess'har books, where the protagonist's God Mode is so strong that she can't have a normal abortion, so she has to cut the fetus out and blow it up with a grenade.
- Completely averted in Lynn Margulis's Luminous Fish, where René, one of the main characters, has a back alley abortion in her college years because her boyfriend could not stand to see her future ruined. She ends up as a perfectly fine atmospheric chemist later, even if she can't have children (and is happier for it). Note that Margulis is the biologist who made symbiogenesis a mainstream evolutionary theory, and therefore doesn't fail biology forever.
- In the final book of the Twilight series, Bella refuses to end her vampire/human hybrid pregnancy even though it seems very likely to kill her. Even when she's vomiting blood and the baby breaks her spine. Of course, every. single. female in the book is baby-obsessed; and no one is child-free in Forks, apparently. Also keep in mind that Meyer is Mormon. What's somewhat ironic is that a pregnancy that threatens the life of the mother is one of the few situations where Mormonism condones abortion (the other two being incest and rape, though the latter can be fuzzy depending on where you are and who you ask). The logic is usually that a.) if the mother dies, the baby dies anyway, and b.) odds are good the woman already has other kids, who would be left without a mother.
- Similarly, in The Whitby Child, Nelda, one of a race of magical Fisher Folk, refuses a magical herb that will end her pregnancy, and the character who offers it to her is presented as evil for even suggesting it. This is even though 1) Nelda's people are under a curse that causes all laboring women and almost all their babies to die slow and agonizing deaths and 2) we're told that at in human terms Nelda's approximately eight years old. Got that? Good girls are willing to die to avoid abortion even if they're minors and there's no realistic prospect the baby will even survive.
- Averted by Lyra Volfrieds, the protagonist in Ursula Vernon's Black Dogs. She is impregnated by The Dragon in an attempt to create a powerful and long-lived bloodline, and in a Heroic Sacrifice she uses a brand of magic to both abort the pregnancy and sterilize herself to prevent this plan from ever being carried through.
- Two examples in The Sword of Truth: when Du Chaillu says she's going to abort her pregnancy (which was due to rape) Richard asks her not to, saying a child is not to blame for what it's father did (he was conceived this way himself). Du Chaillu concedes, and because they're married according to her people's custom, later considers the child to be also "his." Later Kahlan, having gotten pregnant by Richard, considers having an abortion due to having been told by a semi-reliable source that the child would be male, and the last time male Confessors were allowed to live past infancy they turned out to be Always Chaotic Evil; since then male Confessor children have always been killed at birth. She eventually decides against it...two minutes before she's beaten very nearly to death, which causes one from trauma anyway.
- Averted in Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, when main character Charlie escorts his sister to the abortion clinic after discovering she is knocked up by her abusive jerkass boyfriend.
- While never stated directly, Ernest Hemingway's short story "Hills Like White Elephants" is about a couple discussing whether or not the woman should have an abortion: he wants her to, she doesn't but eventually agrees, saying she's willing to always do anything he wants. Nearly the entire story is dialogue without mentions of tone, gestures or thoughts, leaving the possibility for a lot of Alternative Character Interpretation (whether or not she's being angry or sarcastic at the end, for example).
- Averted in Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years with Rosie, Adrian's teenage sister. While she's not exactly a "good girl", she's portrayed as being rather naive in some ways and thinks she wants to keep the baby. Adrian, in a rare moment of maturity, persuades her to spend a week taking care of a baby doll of the sort used to demonstrate the realities of baby-care to teenagers in school. After caring (after a fashion; at one point she chucks it out the window) for the doll for a week, Rosie opts to have an abortion. It's portrayed as being a good choice for her.
- It's also averted by Pandora (although she's about as much of a "good girl" as Rosie is), whose dad points out that she "had a termination in her lunch break once".
- In The Pale King, a teenaged Lane Dean secretly hopes that his Christian girlfriend will break up with him, but still keep their unborn child. It's eventually revealed that they're still together and raising the child.
- Inverted in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga novel Barrayar, when an assassination attempt nearly kills Cordelia Vorkosigan, and does severe, permanent damage to her unborn child. Pretty much everybody thinks she should abort and start over. She doesn't.
- Cersei Lannister reveals to Eddard Stark in Games of Thrones that when her husband Robert impregnated her she had the child aborted, not so much because she didn't want children, but she didn't want Robert's children, and was perfectly fine bearing the secret children of her own twin brother. In story this is used to show her villainous and petty side. In the TV series the child died shortly after birth due to a fever.
- And Lysa Arryn, nee Tully, is revealed to have had an abortion when she was young when she was impregnated by a man she was not married to and was below her station, (Petyr Baelish) which resulted in her father making her drink "moon tea" to abort the child. Worse, Lysa says that she would've gladly born the child and didn't even know what they were giving her until it was too late. It's also implied that her later issues with multiple miscarriages once she is married might be a result of this, though it's not certain since this was also said to have happened to Lysa's mother as well.
- Youth in Sexual Ecstasy takes a strong pro-life stance. The protagonist of the novel mentions abortion as one of the main reasons for youngsters having sex freely, then after watching The Silent Scream he has a My God, What Have I Done? moment when he remembers breaking up with his pregnant girlfriend (who pleaded and begged him to help her keep their baby) and then giving her the money for aborting his child.
- Averted in The Red Tent. Ruti has been suffering at the hands of her husband Laban, and she does not want to give him any more children, because she does not believe he deserves the honor of more sons and she knows he will molest a daughter, so she asks Rachel to help her terminate the pregnancy, threatening to kill the child anyway after it's born. Rachel agrees, and next month (when the women enter the menstruation tent), she gives Ruti an unidentified black brew that induces a miscarriage. The women are all supportive of Ruti's choice, on the grounds that they don't much care for Laban or the way he treats her either.
- Built into the way healing works in Tales of Kolmar. Magical healers can cause a deformed embryo which wouldn't survive long out of the womb (if it got that far) to abort, same with most pregnancies that the body fights against, but this technique won't work against a healthy embryo. When Lanen's half-dragon twins are threatening to get her killed they are not themselves sick enough for this to work, and she's furious at the suggestion that it should.
- Inverted in Brave New World. Linda is a social outcast for having a baby in a world where in-vitro fertilization is universal, motherhood is an archaic obscenity, and Abortion Centres are luxury facilities.
- In John Barth's The End of the Road, Rennie is determined to get an abortion, but the quack who does it gets her killed.
- Discussed in Memoirs of a Geisha when it's revealed that Sayuri's mentor Mameha aborts all of the children she conceived by her client, the Baron. While most of the characters treat it as normal if a bit embarrassing, Mameha has graves for her aborted children which she visits regularly.
- In The Sleep Police by Jay Bonansinga this winds up being the motive for the killer, since due to his beliefs he decided that he would target women who got abortions and kill them in ways reminiscent of the procedure, including cutting them apart and laying them in a fetal position with their thumbs in their mouths. He also decides to target the main character's ex wife after he finds out she's had two abortions and very nearly succeeds at killing her.
- In Rosemary's Baby, Rosemary breaks down crying at one point, out of confusion and fear over her extremely bizarre pregnancy. Her friends convince her that the constant pain she's been experiencing is not a normal pregnancy symptom, and that she should see a different doctor about it (her own is insisting that it's normal, though we later find out that it's because he's a Satanist in on the plan for her to give birth to the Antichrist). Rosemary's first thought is that they're suggesting she abort the baby, and tearfully insists she won't do that. Her friends assure her that they weren't recommending that, and just that she ought to get a second opinion to make sure there wasn't a health complication she was unaware of.
- In 1632, Julie Sims rejects the idea of abortion on the basis of her personal beliefs. Given that she's from West Virginia, that's not surprising.
- Averted in Literature/Hometown. Good Bad Girl Vicki fears that she may be carrying a Child by Rape and is distraught by the possibility, but is much calmed when someone points out that abortion is an option. It turns out to be a moot point anyway, as she isn't pregnant, but rather suffering from an eating disorder that has stopped her from menstruating.
- Both averted and played straight in The Diviners by Margaret Laurence. A minor character (who was abused and mistreated throughout her life) self-aborts with a coathanger. The baby is buried at the dump and a nice boy from town marries her, although she can no longer have children. Morag, the protagonist, later uses the incident in a novel. Morag's character is a Broken Bird stripper type.
- It is mentioned that this is a part of the Beowulf Code (the foundation for medical ethics across the known galaxy) in Honor Harrington.
- Played straight in Frostflower and Thorn, where Thorn is hankering for money to procure an abortion until a Type 3 option presents itself (a spell to speed up the pregnancy and birth), but also averted because Thorn has in fact had at least one abortion before and her current predicament is refreshingly presented not as some agonizing moral dilemma but rather a practical choice.
- Zigzagged in Mickey Zucker Reichert and Jennifer Wingert's Spirit Fox. The heroine Kiarda, who's pretty clearly a good girl (though a moody teenager) is impregnated (apparently through rape when she was blacked out). She begs her healer friend Bevin to give her an abortion. Bevin tells her she can't do it, because it would be destructive magic that would endanger Bevin's healing powers (a White Mage who practices destructive magic will no longer be able to perform White Magic), and pleads with her to keep the baby. Kiarda reluctantly agrees. However, Kiarda isn't portrayed as bad for wanting an abortion, and Bevin later reassures Kiarda that she doesn't think ill of her for it. Kiarda eventually suffers a miscarriage anyway, because her Half-Human Hybrid twins are severely deformed and non-viable. Her pregnancy-by-rape was actually pregnancy through mating with a male fox when she was shapeshifted into a female one. It's a bit complicated to explain.
- Heralds of Valdemar: Averted near the end of Arrow's Flight in which Talia allows a midwife to abort a young woman's pregnancy if she wishes it (which was due to her stepfather raping her and she'd found that it was non-viable anyway since the girl was underage).
- The Scream : Averted with Jesse, who's had two abortions and is pregnant a third time. Played straighter with thirty-seven year old Rachel, who is pregnant with her second baby in less than two years (she already has a much older teenage son).
- Alluded to but averted in "The Spy Who Loved Me". The narrator and protagonist, Vivienne, was pressured into an abortion by a lover who seemed considerate and sensitive up until she announced she was pregnant. Then, he blamed her for the situation and insisted on paying for her trip to Switzerland (abortion was illegal in Great Britain at the time). She doesn't want the procedure but goes through with it because she doesn't want to be a single mother, either.
- Played mostly straight in Honor Harrington. When Honor becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she immediately rejects the idea of abortion, but does seriously consider adoption.
- Averted in the very first TV abortion, that of the 47-year-old protagonist of Maude. No complications are referred to, and her family supports her choice. Her daughter's encouragement included explaining why a 47-year-old shouldn't have a baby, and Adrienne Barbeau played the daughter. Ironically, the episode aired before Roe v. Wade became law, but abortion had recently been made legal in New York, which was one of only four states to have abortion on request, with no reason required. Some people interpreted the episode as a subtle PSA regarding this fact.
- Party of Five has Julia getting pregnant at age 16 and the entire episode is a debate over this trope. Charlie wants Julia to get an abortion since she's too young to be a mother while Claudia wants her to keep it since she considers abortion murder. Surprise, it's solved with a Convenient Miscarriage though Julia was actually planning to get an abortion.
- In the first series of The O.C., Ryan gets a girl pregnant, and she says she's not going to have an abortion. It's quite probably not his, but he won't even consider this, despite the fact that it seems like his ex-girlfriend is trying to force him back into a relationship after her boyfriend - the probable actual father of her child - dumped her. But then, in the next season, she said she had Convenient Miscarriage off-screen and drops off the face of the Earth, only for it to revealed later that she faked the miscarriage and has the kid, who wasn't his anyway.
- Jordan mentioned having an abortion, and although she probably doesn't fall under the category of "good girl", it's notable that though she's shown to feel quite sad about it when talking to her young child about it, she says it was the most reasonable decision she could have made at the time, as she told the couple (JD and Kim) asking for advice.
- When J.D. gets his girlfriend pregnant, he has one of his daydreams where he discusses abortions with Jesus:
Jesus: No abortions!
J.D.: What if the parents are both drug addicts who'd neglect and abuse the child?
Jesus: Oh, in that case it would be OK.
Jesus: NO abortions! How are you people not getting this?!
- JD and Kim discuss adoption, but JD rejects that since he thinks that if it were a girl, he might one day in the future end up sleeping with her without knowing who she is. They decide to keep the baby and Kim has a miscarriage after she is Put on a Bus. A few months later, after it is revealed that she lied about the miscarriage and that she is still pregnant, she gives birth and they raise the child (who is a boy), though they are no longer a couple.
- A throwaway joke in the fifth season has a priest revealing to JD that he is pro-choice.
- In Sex and the City, Miranda got pregnant and went for an abortion, but decided to keep the baby at the last minute, though it is mentioned in the same episode that Carrie and Samantha have both had abortions in the past (and Carrie, while shown not to regret her decision, says she still doesn't feel "normal" about it even years later).
- Subverted with Aurelia on Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Aurelia is pregnant via a rapist and abortion doesn't seem to occur to her, even though her husband is disgusted by her carrying another man's baby and she is in a very desperate situation. When Varro apologizes for being a massive douche, he implies that it's up to her whether the baby will be born. After his death, she has it terminated to continue paying off his debt as a slave to Batiatus.
- Averted with Chloe on My Mad Fat Diary.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Child", After Troi gets pregnant by mysterious means, Worf suggests as a precaution that the pregnancy be terminated. But then Troi shoots that idea down: "I am having this baby."
- Averted in Six Feet Under. Claire gets pregnant from her cheating sleazy boyfriend, and ends up having an abortion. There are no ill side effects, but she does end up seeing her baby in the arms of Nate's dead wife in a hallucination/trip to the afterlife/whatever the hell that was.
- In Frontline, hard-nosed bitch reporter Brooke finds out she's pregnant, and wants to keep the baby. However, she's not married and the producers blackmail her with mentions that she's being considered for the star of a new show - but that would be impossible if she was pregnant on-air. They mention that she could discreetly deal with the problem and call the absence a family emergency. At the end of the episode, she's absent for a day due to "a grandmother's funeral."
- In the UK mini-series The Duchess of Duke Street, Louisa Trotter becomes pregnant by her lover, Charlie Tyrrell, in 1903. When she and Charlie discuss what to do they both dismiss abortion out of hand because of the very real danger of infection. The decision not to abort was justifiable given the time frame, but the decision to have the character become pregnant was less defensible given that she was very loosely based on a historical individual who never had a child and probably never slept with a man.
- Famously averted on All My Children in 1973, where a young Erica Kane has an abortion. She did, however, gain a life-threatening infection from the procedure. This was later infamously retconned decades later into the abortion doctor harvesting Erica's fetus and implanting it in his own wife, resulting in the character of Josh Madden. Never mind that that's not even possible now, let alone in the seventies!
- On Malcolm in the Middle, the entire family is utterly horrified when Lois becomes pregnant with her fifth child, as their resources are stretched to the snapping point taking care of the kids they already have, but the possibility of abortion is never even brought up. The family are implied to be Roman Catholic, albeit heavily lapsed, and given how strictly many Catholic adhere to this trope, consciously or not, it may well be Truth in Television. In this case the pregnancy plot was created because the actress playing Lois really was pregnant, so it would've been very difficult to hide the pregnancy in the later months, so it's highly unlikely the creators intended to have any message about abortion present in this subplot.
- Criminal Minds.
- Season two's "Aftermath" has a serial rapist that is attacking girls at a religious school, then switches to an older demographic when one of the religious girls "chooses the sin of suicide over the sin of abortion."
- Averted in a third season episode. A stalking victim admits to having had an abortion about a year earlier, and though her fiancé is upset when he finds out, it does not seriously damage her or her relationship with him.
- Averted again in the fourth season, we find out that Prentiss had an abortion when she was fifteen. Though this fact is mentioned in the context of revealing why she's screwed up, the abortion is never treated as the reason; it is instead the negative reaction of her priest which damages not her, but her friend. In neither of these cases does the character revealing the abortion or the character hearing about it imply that abortion is an immoral act.
- Frequently subverted in House, usually when there are medical implications. In "Babies And Bathwater", the mother died before she could have the abortion that would allow her to receive cancer treatment. In the very next episode, the pregnancy was the underlying cause of the Patient Of The Week's condition. And in "One Day, One Room", House's patient (after much persuading) adheres to the one exception-that abortion seems to be okay when the pregnancy resulted from rape.
- Played straight(ish) in "Fetal Position", where a women refuses to terminate a live threatening pregnancy, forcing House to perform a risky operation on the fetus in a Shout-Out to Real Life Samuel Armas. He maintains that they took an unacceptable risk to their patient, but starts using the word 'baby' over 'it' from then on.
- The trope is toyed with in an early episode of Third Watch. Officer Yokas gets pregnant, but given her family's financial difficulties and the stresses of her job, decides she wants an abortion. Her husband encourages her to keep it. During a foot chase, a thug hits her in the stomach with a pipe, which, she tells her husband, caused a Convenient Miscarriage. She's later shown getting an abortion. The moral issue in this case seemed to be presented not as the abortion itself, but that she lied to her husband in order to avoid having to talk or argue about it.
- Averted in Cold Case, which deals with abortion several times.
- One first season episode centers on an underground abortion service during the 1960s. Both of the (highly sympathetic) victims worked for the service and two other sympathetic witnesses in the case also had.
- One third season episode involved a high school couple who decide not to get an abortion after seeing photos given to them by a militantly pro-life (and hypocritical) nurse. It ruins both their lives (anvilicious, but on the other side).
- One sixth season episode involved a character who had suffered through a botched abortion (the episode was again set in the 1960s-in both cases the botched abortions highlighted the trouble criminalizing abortion could cause, rather than serving to punish the characters).
- The West Wing Season Five episode "The Supremes" averts this a scene in which two of the White House staff are interviewing a potential candidate for the Supreme Court. When asked whether she has done anything that would make her confirmation difficult, she offhandedly replies that she stole a book, bought a marijuana plant for her roomie, and had an abortion. Cue minor Heroic BSOD. Important to note that they were only worried about the political implications. None of the protagonists thinks any less of her for it, and they subsequently do nominate her.
- One plot line on South of Nowhere involved Chelsea getting pregnant from Clay and going for an abortion. At the last minute, she opts out and keeps the baby, which she later loses in a car crash.
- In a Russian teen TV series Kadetstvo, a Good Girl ponders over the option of abortion, decides to go through with it and sticks to that decision. Her Good Boy boyfriend objects to that, and she promptly breaks up with him. Considering how common abortion is in Russia, around 2.7 million annually, this could be Values Dissonance.
- In EastEnders erstwhile single-mother Michelle matter-of-factly aborted her husband's baby, after rejecting abortion while she was pregnant the first time. The difference was partly that she loved the father of the first child, the notorious Dirty Den, and didn't actually love her husband, weedy Lofty. Sadly, Lofty had wanted the baby, and this led to the break-up of their marriage (and arguably a better future for all concerned).
- Stacey also aborted Bradley's kid, and the show dealt with it unusually: instead of getting over it and everybody forgetting what had happened, Stacey was never comfortable with what she had done.
- On a Gilmore Girls flashback episode, when Lorelai was pregnant with Rory, Chris's father (who had been established as a jerk in a previous episode) tacitly suggests to the other parents that Lorelai simply "get rid" of the baby. This leads to a rather stunned silence, which makes some sense, since both sets of parents are upper-class conservatives.
- Played with in Mad Men, naturally. Joan gives a blink-and-you-miss it reference in the first season (roughly, "Are you late again? Do you need to see Doctor Emerson?"), and later Betty Draper, of all people, makes serious inquiries after finding out that she's pregnant while estranged from her husband. And one of her friends knows a doctor. Admittedly she doesn't go through with it, but that has less to do with morality and more with being driven to patch her marriage back together at any cost. Bear in mind that we're in the early 60s here. In the fourth season, Joan reveals that she's had two abortions (or "procedures" as she calls them) and that she's concerned that she might not be able to get pregnant with her husband because of them. She most certainly can and does—but not by her husband, leading to what appears to abortion #3. In the underground clinic she goes to, we see a 17-year-old go in for one as well. However, Joan ultimately keeps the child. In this case they pay lip-service to past abortions, but every woman who gets pregnant on the show keeps the baby. Joan may have had abortions in the past, but she wasn't a good girl-she's keeping this baby, because she's a good girl now.
- Arguably Peggy Olson's adoption counts as not "keeping" the baby.
- Played with in Roseanne, of all places. Jackie has an unexpected pregnancy and is considering abortion, which her mother is strongly against, only to find out that her and Roseanne's grandmother had two, long, long before they were legal. In the end Jackie opts to keep the baby, though her mother is still horrified that she has no plans to marry the father. (For the record, she eventually does after the baby's born, though even then they eventually divorce.)
- Used in Murphy Brown: Murphy mulls her options after getting pregnant, abortion clearly being one of them. Eventually she decides against it. It's implied that the father assumed she would abort. In a pointed fantasy sequence, she considers aborting the child, only to turn and find the entire Supreme Court wagging their fingers at her in disapproval.
- Averted in the second season of The Real World when roommate Tammy has an abortion after finding out she's pregnant. When she returned to the house, the producers asked if she wanted all references to her pregnancy edited out, but she allowed them to keep it in since it was something young people could learn from. MTV showed both sides of the issue without being polarizing; another roommate thought what Tammy did was wrong, but knew that wasn't what she needed to hear and stood by her as a friend regardless.
- Quinn of Glee is briefly asked whether she's going to get an abortion, but she promptly says no without a single thought. This fits into her character, who has been set up as a very devoted Christian, canoodling aside. Later on, Rachel has a pregnancy scare and the issue might have been addressed, but they sidestep it when it turns out she wasn't pregnant.
- On Private Practice when Maya becomes pregnant at the age of 16 her pro-life OB-GYN mother tries to force her to have an abortion. Addison offers to perform the abortion, but once inside the exam room, Maya can't go through with it. She decides to have her baby, which leads to a temporary estrangement from her mother. Eventually, her mother falls in love with the baby once it is born and acknowledges how thankful she is that her daughter chose life.
- Averted on Spenser: For Hire, as Susan Silverman has an abortion in spite of Spenser's opposition.
- Abortion was alluded to three times on Desperate Housewives and avoided every time:
- Gabrielle becomes pregnant in season 1 (due to her birth control pills being tampered with) and remains that way until a Convenient Miscarriage midway through season 2. She dismisses the question by saying that she and her husband are good Catholics.
- Danielle becomes pregnant in season 3. When she tells Austin (the father) about it, he tells her that he "knows of this clinic," but she immediately dismisses it with "Absolutely not!" She goes through with the pregnancy and gives birth to a son, Benjamin, in early season 4.
- Lynette becomes pregnant with twins at the end of season 5. Early in season 6, she becomes depressed when she sees them on the ultrasound, telling Tom that she doesn't love them like she loved her other kids and doesn't want them. She has a change of heart after having a talk with Susan about it.
- On The Facts of Life, Blair's mother visits her and tells her that she's pregnant, but not going to go through with it. Blair is very disappointed with her mother's decision and how little thought she put into it (this was very true-to-life for Lisa Whelchel, as she was a devout born-again Christian). Blair eventually talks her mother into going through with the pregnancy, and the baby (a girl) is born later in the season in a Christmas Episode.
- Charlie Kelly's mother on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia had an abortion that didn't exactly work out, since three months later Charlie was born. Yes, three months later.
- Averted twice on Nip/Tuck: in season 2, Liz had one when she finds out that the baby she's carrying would be born with Down's Syndrome. In season 6, Kimber has one when jerkass Christian tells her that she could either choose between keeping him as her boyfriend or receive child support checks but lose him completely as he already has 3 kids and does not want another. There are some complications during the procedure and afterward Kimber is told that she can't have kids anymore.
- The third season of Dexter has Rita discover that she's pregnant and — despite coming to the conclusion that having the child would be a stressful, near-unmanageable complication to an already complex situation — she decides to have the child.
- Twin Peaks. Dick wants Lucy to abort their supposed child, and she is disgusted.
- Skins averts this trope with Jal so she can go to university.
- Degrassi High subverted this when Erica decided to have an abortion and went through with it. This lead to the repeats of Degrassi either cutting episodes 101, 102, and 103 ('A New Start' Parts 1 and 2, and 'Breaking Up is Hard to Do') or changing episode 101 so that Erica was never pregnant.
- Degrassi The Next Generation averted this with Manny (leading to a similar incident of the above: the episode in question didn't air in the states for years, and any references to Manny being moody afterwards was treated like she was just depressed over her messy break-up with Craig), but played it straight with Liberty—when JT suggests the possibility of abortion, she says she doesn't want to want to even think about it. However, she is three months along by the time she works up the courage to tell JT, so she's had enough time to think her options through.
- And when Spike was pregnant with Emma on Degrassi Junior High, she did briefly consider abortion, even at the protest of her boyfriend, but (obviously, or else there'd be no Next Generation) decided to have the baby.
- Averted on Friday Night Lights, where a minor female character falls pregnant from a one-night stand, and spends an episode considering all her options before ultimately going through with it. The episode does a pretty amazing job of never making the story a political issue, and keeping it focused on the characters that are affected.
- Used in One Tree Hill, where Peyton chooses to continue a pregnancy against medical orders and is seemly quite willing to sacrifice her own life in spartan martyrdom if it saves the life of her unborn child. It's painful not so much because of her reasoning but rather her reaction when Lucas tells her he would rather lose his unborn baby than lose her.
"Lucas, if you want to talk about it, call it what it is...an abortion!
- This occurs many times throughout the series, actually (there are so many teen pregnancies or false alarms in the town that you have to wonder if there's something in the water). Lucas' mother kept him even though it meant dropping out of college, and during both of Brooke's scares, she didn't consider abortion to be an option.
- The one character that in the past had an abortion was the very pro-life-y "revirginized" leader of the school Clean Teen group (who revealed her past transgressions with a tearful "I KILLED MY BABY!").
- On Stargate Universe, when T.J. tells Colonel Young that she's pregnant with his child, preempts any mention of abortion with the statement "I'm keeping it." In this case, performing an abortion would have been rather tricky given their limited medical supplies, even if a doctor could have been brought in via the stones.
- Played somewhat straight on Angel. Darla says that she tried to have an abortion when she discovered she was pregnant. It didn't work. Turns out the baby was mystically protected while in her womb. However, Darla is about as far as one can get from being a "good girl".note
- In The Secret Life of the American Teenager, at first it was Amy. To be fair, she considered abortion to the point of going to the abortion clinic, but ultimately realized that she couldn't go through with it and it wasn't the best choice for her. This example was far more prominent later in the series, when bad girl, Adrian becomes pregnant and goes through with the pregnancy using exactly the same reason as Amy, word for word.
- Laura from Emily of New Moon is horrified at the very idea of abortion, yet has little qualms about whoring herself out to the cruel factory overseer.
- The first episode of That's My Bush! has a highly fictionalized George W. Bush trying to unite both sides of the abortion issue in a summit. It fails spectacularly with the pro choice spokeswoman (a stereotypical Straw Feminist) gets mistaken for a stripper and the pro life spokesmen (an survived aborted fetus, which has happened in real life) getting drag off by a dog. Laura Bush comforts him by telling him that those who believe that the unborn have a right to life and those who believe that a women has final say on her body will never see eye to eye as because at the end of the day they are both sort of right.
- In series three of Big Love, Sarah discovers she's pregnant from her ex-boyfriend. She initially decides to put the baby up for adoption, then decides to keep it and raise it with her best friend Heather while she's at college in Arizona. However, she suffers a Convenient Miscarriage soon after.
- Arrested Development: Apparently, Lindsay Bluth was pregnant "loads of times"...just never with Maebe. Except she was.
- GOB cautions George Michael that if a religious girl gets pregnant, "she stays pregnant." "When GOB was in high school, he had sex with these women. These women got pregnant. This one had a baby."
- Arlene of True Blood finds herself pregnant with her serial killer ex-husband's baby, which she decidedly doesn't want. However, she's against abortion, and instead tries to get a witch to do a magical abortion (which she, for some reason, considers OK). It doesn't work.
- Fringe has Fauxlivia having some sort of illness that eventually almost certainly kills both the mother and the child (her sister had the same syndrome and died from it). So, for her, abortion is the only way out, and she's definitely doing it (even if the term itself, as usual, is never named). However, before she can go through with it, she's kidnapped and her pregnancy is accelerated. Ultimately, both she and her baby survive-the kidnapping was orchestrated by the baby's scientist grandfather who needed the child's DNA for his own nefarious purposes.
- Being Human plays this straight in the third season. Nina gets pregnant after she and George have sex (the pill wasn't designed with werewolves in mind, apparently) and decides to abort despite George's objections. She changes her mind after meeting Sasha, a young female zombie whose body is rapidly succumbing to decay. Sasha tells them that her greatest regret was that she didn't do more with her life, like starting a family, because she assumed she'd always have time.
- Incidentally, Nina's reasons for wanting to abort are similar to Kyoko Honda's - fear of repeating what she herself went through with an abusive mother, who constantly reminded Nina that she was the result of an unplanned pregnancy.
- On The Sarah Silverman Program, Sarah's non-moral (not amoral), and not too bright, character, admits to having had several previous abortions, oblivious to the fact that this is a hot topic, and people may judge her for this. Later, she makes friends with a group of fundamentalist Christian women she meets at a clinic, and they're very nice to her, even though she has had abortions, because they believe she regrets them, and will be a mouthpiece for their cause, talking about how traumatic the experience was. It takes a while for this to dawn on Sarah, who at one point says that not only does she not regret having abortions, but doesn't think she's done having them. Her new "friends" drop her like a hot potato, but she's not too upset, because she's pretty happy-go-lucky. By the end of the episode she's having another abortion.
- Both played straight and averted in Deadwood. It's made clear that Doc Cochran is the Gem's abortionist-in-residence, and Trixie mentions that she's had several abortions. But when widowed Alma Garrett becomes pregnant by a married man, she decides to keep the pregnancy. Ellsworth generously offers to marry her, and it's only after this marriage that the pregnancy fails and she has to have an abortion to save her life.
- At the beginning of Roz's unplanned pregnancy arc in Season 5 of Frasier, the possibility of abortion is brought up only very briefly and indirectly by Frasier. Roz makes it clear that she never contemplated abortion as an option.
- Somewhat averted in season seven of How I Met Your Mother, when Robin hints that she will probably have an abortion if her pregnancy scare turns out to be real, which distresses Barney, the potential father. However, it never actually comes to a head because she turns out not to be pregnant after all.
- In season five of Stromberg, Jennifer gets pregnant by Stromberg. It was unwanted and she seriously considers the option of abortion, but then decides against it, after some persuasion by Ernie. Then she miscarries.
- In the 2012 Upstairs Downstairs, Lady Persie insists upon an (illegal) abortion and does go through with it; this is played as another sign of what an infinitely petty and morally bankrupt individual she is.
- Awake plays this perfectly straight... except with adoption. By the time the pregnancy in question is known to the protagonists, it's five months along, too late for an abortion.
- Boston Legal: Missy Tiggs once tricked a man so he'd make her pregnant with his child and he hired Alan Shore to have the courts force her to abort. Alan accepted the case and believed he had a chance because ever since Roe vs Wade, the government has been waiting for a chance to have Roe vs. Wade overturned without being seen as anti-abortion for this (or so he believed - the series never hinted if he was right or wrong in that point). Alan's Freudian Excuse for this is that, back in college, he once got a woman pregnant and she, assuming he'd not want the child, had an abortion and only told him afterward. Alan took the case hoping to make it so the child's father would have as much right as the mother over the abortion issue.
- Averted in series two of Bedlam: In one episode, Ellie reveals she's pregnant; in the next, she says she's had an abortion (offscreen) because her life is too fucked up to bring a child into.
- Played somewhat straight in the BBC series Silk. Main character Martha Costello finds out she's pregnant and immediately calls a clinic to take care of it, but when she misses the appointment due to her work schedule, she decides not to reschedule. When the father asks her where she's going to go for an abortion, she plainly informs him that she's keeping it. Until a crazy ex-client assaults her in the season finale.
- Played straight in Inspector George Gently, when a progressive student falls pregnant and decides not to go to Scotland for an abortion (it had been decriminalised there but not in England) even though she has the money and contacts and not having an abortion would mean dropping out of university and returning to her working-class parents to be a single mother, effectively ending her dreams of becoming a lawyer to support the progressive cause.
- Played straight again in another episode, where Gently arrests an abortionist he catches about to begin the procedure. She had previously discussed it with him, as a hypothetical scenario, and claimed that abortion was for the general good because most of the women coming to her were unable to care for a child, and claimed that abortion would soon be legalised anyway. Unusually Gently, who is for racial tolerance, gay rights, and multiculturalism, is completely opposed to abortion, whereas Bacchus, who would be somewhere between Jack Regan and Gene Hunt if he weren't on a tight leash, is more open to the idea of legalisation (perhaps because of his own Shotgun Marriage).
- Grey's Anatomy has Cristina get pregnant and have a miscarriage before her scheduled abortion. The second time she gets pregnant note , she actually has the abortion. It causes a lot of trouble between her and her husband, though her decision is perfectly in-character. This time it's contrasted by Meredith and Derek unsuccessfully trying to conceive after Meredith's previous miscarriage, which happened the day she found out about the pregnancy, so she didn't have time to make a decision.
- When April has a pregnancy scare, she decides that she would keep the baby. Justified as she's very religious and had been a virgin until a few months before.
- In That '70s Show, both Jackie and Donna have pregnancy scares on separate occasions. In both cases, abortion is not even mentioned as a possible solution.
- Unusual example in Stargate SG-1 since Vala is hardly a good girl in the conventional sense and the conversation happens well after the child (who becomes the Big Bad for the rest of the series) was born.
Vala: What, you don't think I'd want to be responsible for the enslavement of an entire galaxy, do you?
Daniel: It was hardly your fault.
Vala: I knew she was the will of the Ori even before she was born. I could have done something about it, but I didn't.
Daniel: She was your child.
Vala: Maternal instinct can only excuse so much.
- In one episode of Call the Midwife, a teenage prostitute named Mary gets knocked up and realizes that if she stays with the pimp she's been working for, she'll be forced to have an abortion. Wanting to keep the baby, she appeals to Jenny Lee for help. Jenny takes her to a priest, who shelters Mary throughout the pregnancy. In this case though, it ends badly. The priest ends up putting the baby up for adoption without Mary's consent, arguing that a teenage mother would have no chance at all of getting a job, and thus splitting the two up was the only possible way for either to survive (the baby was adopted by a family able to support her). The episode also hinted that Mary wasn't entirely right in the head (she seemed unable to understand why it was worrying and not romantic at all that her boyfriend, who tricked her into the prostitution ring, was stalking her around the place she was hiding at) and that, coupled with a later episode where she kidnapped a baby (under the delusion that it was her own) and had no idea how to properly care for it lead to the hints that she would have been unable to care for her own child, had she been allowed to keep it.
- A later episode subverted the trope as it followed Nora Harding's increasingly desperate attempts to induce a miscarriage. Her story was played utterly for sympathy — she already had eight children and could hardly afford to feed and shelter them as it was — and everyone who finds out are only worried that Nora will inadvertently hurt herself in her attempts to abort. The episode dealt with the issue of the invention of birth control, and how that would have saved her all of the heartbreak and stress she went through. Ultimately, Nora resorts to a back-alley abortion and nearly dies from septicaemia. Sister Julienne tells Jenny that this is far from the first time she's dealt with the situation, and knows exactly what to tell the doctor so that the woman can get the necessary care without being arrested for an illegal abortion. The end of the episode discusses how birth control was brought about soon enough that the woman's daughters and granddaughters were spared the same ordeals.
- Averted in Jack & Bobby, Missy gets an abortion after accidentally getting pregnant and it's portrayed as being the right thing for her to do, ironically her devout Catholic father was more upset about her being pregnant in the first place than he was about her getting an abortion, which is the opposite of how it usually is with religious families on TV shows.
- In As the World Turns, Liberty doesn't know whether to have an abortion, raise the baby herself, or give it to her mother or another couple to raise. She has a convenient miscariage. Janet herself refused to get an abortion, raising Liberty by herself as a teenager.
- Played with in American Horror Story, where at first college student Hayden's decision to abort the child she's carrying as the result of her affair with Ben is presented as a mature and rational choice, but she changes her mind right before she goes through with it in order to pull The Baby Trap on Ben, who's already married with one teenage daughter and another on the way, and plans to uproot her life to move to California and is clearly presented as being in the wrong for forcing this on him. Becomes a moot point when Larry murders her shortly thereafter. Likewise the girls who come to the Montgomerys for back alley abortions in the 1920s are not presented in a villainous light and instead as victims of the insane Dr. Montgomery, especially since they had no legal methods available to them at the time.
- Also used for Kick the Dog purposes when Constance Langdon mentions to Vivien (who recently found out that she's pregnant again) that if they'd had "those tests" (i.e. DNA tests) back when she was pregnant with her daughter Adelaide, who has Down's Syndrome, that she probably would have aborted her. Needless to say, Constance isn't the best parent.
- Used for Kick the Son of a Bitch purposes in the second season, when Lana is raped by Dr. Thredson and tells him that she aborted the child. She tries and fails once, and has an opportunity for a safe backroom abortion later on in the series, but she declines, not out of any moral standing, but rather that she was tired of death.
- In Orange Is The New Black, Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett was in the clinic for abortion #5, but remembers a conversation she had the night before with her boyfriend/husband/whatever the hell he was, and pulls the IV out. She took his gun and shot the nurse that was tending to her because of a snarky comment the nurse made about how many abortions Ms. Doggett had had. The pro-lifers protesting outside the clinic think she did it to support their cause, though, and give her legal aid and support. Shortly thereafter, Pennsatucky became The Fundamentalist. It isn't known what became of the child...or her partner.
- In the same series, Daya becomes pregnant by a corrections officer that she was in a Secret Relationship with. She doesn't want to get him in trouble, and she knows the baby would be taken away from her after it's born, so she asks her cellmate to make up an abortifacient herbal tea for her. Later, her heretofore estranged mother reveals that she spoke to the cellmate first and told her not to give Daya an abortifacient (it was actually a laxative) in order to get a grandchild.
- Averted with Tara on Sons of Anarchy, who became pregnant by her boyfriend prior to the start of the series and had an abortion at six weeks. She does not feel guilty about this, but the conflict stems from the fact that her (ex, by the start of the series) boyfriend seems to believe in this trope on top of being more than a little emotionally unstable.
- In Pramface, despite going to a clinic to hear her options, having abortion suggested by her best friend, parents, and worrying about how motherhood is going to work while she's going to university, Laura goes through with the pregnancy.
- Continuum: Kiera scheduled one, but decided against it, and urges her grandmother to do the same (of course, that was to save her own future existence).
- Salem: Nastily averted by Mary, who up to that point seemed quite the good girl. The slave Tituba not only uses magic to abort her child, but apparently it's sacrificed to the Devil as the beginning of Mary's slide into evil.
- It's later revealed her child is still alive... raised by the coven.
- Averted in Misfits: Curtis quickly gets rid of his Gender Bender power after getting his female alter ego pregnant accidentally, effectively aborting that pregnancy. The word isn't used, though Alicia says "There are options, you know" when Melissa!Curtis is worrying over what to do.
- Defiance: Averted with Amanda, who is one of the least ambiguously good characters and had an abortion years ago. The abortion itself is treated as an understandable choice given the overall situation, but her handling of it-not even discussing it with the father, Connor Lang, beforehand, even knowing he would have a problem with it-led to the destruction of their relationship.
- It's later revealed that her pregnancy was a result of her rape by a stranger, but she had allowed Connor to believe otherwise.
- In Days of Our Lives, Mimi has an abortion after becoming pregnant by Rex. This is shown to be difficult for her emotionally, but she decides she is too young to have kids. She is punished harshly for this decision-she is blackmailed into assisting a kidnapper, her relationship with Rex falls apart when he finds out, and she becomes a borderline villain for some time.
- On Downton Abbey, Edith considers having an abortion when she gets pregnant out of wedlock, and her boyfriend is married to another woman and currently missing. The fact that it was even brought up is very progressive considering the time period, and her normally harsh aunt even supports her. However, the clinic is presented as a very dark, seedy place, and Edith chickens out, eventually choosing adoption.
- Reign: Lola goes off to have one, but is stopped by Mary at the last minute before the operation.
- Averted in Orphan Black: in the season 2 finale, Sarah admits that she has had an abortion in the past.
- "Oasis" by Amanda Palmer is a cheery little number about a girl who gets raped, ends up getting pregnant, and gets an abortion with absolutely no regrets. Mind you, she is a bit more focused on the fact that Oasis wrote back to her...
- There's also "Mandy Goes To Med School", by Palmer with her band The Dresden Dolls, a slinky, jazzy tune about operating a back-alley abortion clinic in an SUV. Both could be considered satirical Protest Songs.
- Aaand then again there's "Sex Changes" by the Dresden Dolls, which reads as a bitter song about having disappointing sex and getting an abortion ("You get more than you're asking for without the right protection", "the knife is nearing", "this little feat of engineering"...). Comes across as more of a straight-up Protest Song than Oasis, for sure (the video for which includes "annoying fundamentalist Christians" protesting with signs that read "Jesus Hates You").
- A subverted-inversion in Vienna Teng's jarringly upbeat Shasta. To all intents and purposes, it looks like the girl is on her way to get an abortion, until she remembers turning away at the heed of a protester standing outside the clinic doors. At least, that is the most probable interpretation, but it is not made clear whether or not she went through with it.
- Likewise subverted in Nina Hagen's Unbescreiblich weiblich.
- "But I've made up my mind, I'm keeping my baby."
- This trope is possibly subverted, though, as both her friends and father have advised her have an abortion, and her choice to keep the baby is not presented as the "good" choice.
- French song "Aurélie" by Colonel Reyel is about a sixteen years old girl who gets pregnant then decide to keep the baby against the will of her friends and parents. The chorus praises her decision to become "mother at all costs". Word of God is that the song is not against abortion but against external pressure to have one.
- MAD Magazine had one article about telling the difference between a Drama, a Comedy, and a Reality Show (which was useful with shows like Laguna Beach: The Real OC and The Hills, when you couldn't tell what was scripted and what wasn't). One of the examples was pregnancy. If it's a comedy, she'll keep it and have lots of wacky jokes about pregnancy and henpecked husbands (citing Friends); If it's a drama, she'll abort it and be scarred for life (possibly referencing The OC or Law & Order); if it's a reality show, there will be cameras there to film it either way.
- In A Raisin in the Sun, the first thing the wife does when she finds out she's pregnant again is put a down payment on an abortion, even though it's clear that she really does not want to do it but feels she has no choice. Her husband is devastated to hear this, and it's not the abortion itself that troubles him so much as the circumstances that lead to them considering it, which underlines the desperation they feel throughout the entire story. They don't go through with it since they wind up with a bigger house and money to raise the child. Note that the play was written in 1959, before Roe v. Wade.
- In the musical Spring Awakening, Wendla gets an abortion though it's implied she does not want to; her mother takes her to get one by force, and then Wendla dies. This is even sadder in the original play on which the musical is based because her child is the product of rape. Not to mention that in both the musical and play, Wendla does not even know what abortion is.
- In Cabaret, Sally brings up abortion immediately after announcing her pregnancy, but Cliff (who may or may not be the father) convinces her not to do it. In act two she changes her mind and has an abortion, which is played as a sign of her character's downward spiral. YMMV on the good girl/bad girl question, though, as some viewers will note that Sally has fairly sound reasoning (she and Cliff have neither any hope of a functional, long-term relationship nor a realistic way to provide for the child).
- Older than Television: In Sidney Howard's 1924 play They Knew What They Wanted, Amy finds out that she's become pregnant from her extramarital relations with Joe. As she wonders what to do about it, Joe suggests one possible course of action, but she rejects it out of hand: "Them kind of doctors is no good... I'm too far gone anyway... I know... and anyway... doing that... It's worse than the other." It all works out, because her husband wants children even though he's infertile.
- The Girl Who Never Was is a play about a woman who aborted a baby she wanted to keep (her boyfriend convinced her to) and is driven insane by guilt/ the ghost of the baby girl. Although the message is more "don't be persuaded to do anything you don't want to" than "good girls avoid abortion."
- Most (though not all) versions of "The Tango Ballad" from The Threepenny Opera make reference to Low-Dive Jenny having become pregnant by Macheath, who then forces her to abort the child. Interestingly, the song suggests that this was the thing that ultimately convinced Jenny to break off her engagement to Mac, even though she reminisces fondly elsewhere in the song about Mac having pimped, stolen from and beaten her repeatedly.
- In Eugene Brieux's play Maternity, an eighteen-year-old girl is pregnant by a boyfriend who abandoned her. The last act of the play has an abortionist on trial for her murder, and the counsel for the defense takes the position that Society Is to Blame for not respecting motherhood, but "abortion is a crime, because it deprives of life a creature already living; and to condone it would lead to condoning infanticide also." (Yes, this is Anvilicious, but Brieux was never known for subtlety in drama.)
- At some point in Nagisa's pregnancy in CLANNAD After Story, the possibility of abortion is brought up out of concern for her health, but Nagisa refuses, as she really wants to have the baby.
- Played with in ef - a fairy tale of the two.. Yuuko gets pregnant, and is so adamant on having an abortion that she pulls out a knife and attempts to stab herself in the uterus before her boyfriend has to physically restrain her. He eventually calms her down and persuades her that keeping the baby wouldn't be the end of the world. They also bring up how they likely couldn't afford to pay for an abortion, which results in massive Fridge Logic about how they expect to afford the baby if they can't afford a one-time payment on the procedure.
- You learn fairly early that Rokushiki in Kara no Shoujo in large part targeted women who were uncomfortable about their pregnancies and either had abortions or might have been considering one. This also makes up part of the motive of the first serial killer.
- In The Elder Scrolls, a book series that has appeared since Daggerfall entitled "The Real Barenziah" suggests within Part 3 that Barenziah carried on an intimate affair with Tiber Septim in which she eventually got pregnant. Barenziah wanted to keep the child. As a bastard child from a Dunmer mistress would be very inconvenient for the Emperor, he basically forced his healer to magically abort it against her will. This became a plot point in the story as the story implied she also had trouble conceiving later in life due to the limited fertility of Dunmer and the trauma of the event.
- In Final Fantasy IV in the flashback where you control Golbez, a villager hints that his mother was aware that her second pregnancy would be dangerous but she decided to keep the child. She died giving birth to Cecil which leads Golbez to hate him.
- The Webcomic Destroyer Of Light by A-gnosis averts this - Persephone gets pregnant, and does have an abortion. Everyone involved is sympathetic. However, it doesn't work as planned. Well, the fetus is out of her womb, and she's healthy. So, technically, it did work.
- The first strip of Something Positive has Davan sending a wire hanger to an old girlfriend who's having a baby shower. A later series of strips would have him escorting another old girlfriend to an abortion clinic. (For the record, neither child has any chance of being his.)
- Anders Loves Maria brings this up several times, with Maria and Tina both having abortions in the back story. Tina is also going in for an abortion when she finds out that she's had a Convenient Miscarriage.
- Aiko of Red String casually announces she "had that little problem taken care of" and giggles when Reika mentions her pregnancy. Aiko is also very slutty and is caught trying to seduce her fiance's younger brother while both of their love interests are in the next room.
- Sil'lice implies in Drowtales that her sister Snadhya'rune has had abortions, specifically referring to how she "murders her own children while they are still in the womb" which to a drow, who place a high value on motherhood and directly connect social status to how many children one has, would be an absurd concept, and Snadhya's rejection of this part of drow culture is seen as scandalous and shameful. However this trope is later twisted on its head when it's revealed that Snadhya has had a daughter, but she was carried outside of her womb thanks to the Jaal'darya's mana-tech, the implication being that Snadhya is such a Control Freak that she didn't want to be pregnant, but still wanted children. And even more shockingly, the "father" is none other than Mel'arnach Val'Sarghress.
- Inverted in Moon Over June, with Hatsuki, she choose to keep her child in order to do pregnancy photoshoots and to hide the kid from her parents.
- Foxxy Love in Drawn Together apparently gets them on a regular basis, but considering what type of show it is that's not very surprising.
- Family Guy
- Peter tells a story about how he and Lois had gone to get an abortion when she was pregnant with Meg, but backed out, when they arrived at the clinic and found out the abortionist had one arm. Another time he mentioned that he could find the black market as an actual store, just like the back alley abortionist, then said that he was glad she changed her mind but the important thing was that he found the guy.
- In "Peter's Daughter", when Meg thinks she's pregnant, she refuses to have an abortion. Lois suggests Meg consider drinking and smoking a lot to cause a miscarriage, but not to "wimp out halfway through", because Lois ended up with Chris.
- In the episode "Partial Terms of Endearment" Lois agrees to be a surrogate mother for another couple, however, the couple dies and she must decide whether or not to get an abortion she does. The episode was finished but it was banned from airing on FOX, however, it is available on DVD and it is not known if it will air on Adult Swim.
- Peter's mother tried to get an abortion when she had Peter because it was from an affair. Because it was in Mexico, the abortion process involved hanging from a bar and being beaten like a pinata by a bunch of kids. As she was already full term when she decided to abort, Peter is born full size and healthy. When she sees him, she falls in love and keeps him. Though knowing Peter, he may very well have gotten brain damage from the procedure.
- Also spoofed in a quick gag when the family is watching Murder, She Wrote and Jessica casually mentions that she once had an abortion. "Aha!" says Peter, "So she's the murderer!"
- In the Adult Party Cartoon spinoff of The Ren & Stimpy Show, one of the episodes involves Stimpy believing he's pregnant with Ren. After Ren is told about it, he immediately pulls out a hanger and starts approaching Stimpy with it. Thankfully, he's promptly persuaded not to do it.
- Skewered by The Simpsons.
Kang: (pretending to be Bob Dole) Abortions for all!
Kang: Very well, no abortions for anyone!
Kang: Hmm. Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others!
[crowd cheers and waves miniature American flags]
- In South Park,
- One of Cartman's students is pregnant and refuses to have an abortion and go to a university, he (who's teaching them how to cheat in exams) convinces her that abortion is the ultimate form of cheating and thus she must do it.
- In "Kenny Dies" he convinces a woman who wanted her baby to get an abortion so the stem cells could be used to save Kenny's life. Except it was actually a plan to get pizza. Though this one could be debated, as he didn't come up with that plan until long after he started getting stem cells to help Kenny.
- When Mr. Garrison gets his sex-change operation he is excited to be pregnant, just so that he can get an abortion. He's then surprised to find out male-to-female transsexuals can't become pregnant.
- Cartman's mother contemplates getting an abortion... of Cartman... years after his birth. She goes on a crusade to get fortieth-trimester abortion legalized, only to finally realize she was getting it mixed up with adoption.
- In the Woodland Critter Christmas Episode, Stan has to get three lion cubs trained to do an abortion to prevent the birth of the Anti Christ. They are too late to abort the birth, though the skills come in handy after the Anti Christ is absorbed into Kyle.
- In the Pro Wrestling Episode "W.T.F." the boys set up a WWF acting ring, and Cartman regularly takes the role of a wrestler's floozy. One of his most frequent claims is that he's addicted to drugs, pregnant with some other wrestler's baby, and then that he's had an abortion. Eventually he makes the claim that he's addicted - to abortions.
- Moral Orel: Agnes Sculptham had/gets an abortion, although whether it plays this trope straight or averts it is debatable, depending on whether or not you consider the character to be "good." Also if the series continued she would have had twins and only terminated one in the procedure, later giving birth to a girl.
- American Dad!: Stan and Francine sabotage a young couple's birth control, in order to slow them down so the middle-aged Smiths can keep up with the not-yet-30 couple (and thus keep them as couple-friends). While they are in the couple's bedroom (poking holes in condoms and replacing the spermicidal lube with marshmallow fluff) Francine raises the point that their plan won't work if the couple decides to have an abortion. Stan looks directly into the camera in a deliberately invoked example of Anvilicious: He looks into the camera, squints his eyes, and says "Oh, they won't have an abortion...because they're awesome."
- High School USA! Amber has a hysterical pregnancy, but only finds out from the doctor at the abortion clinic. Not that she had sex.