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"Abortion exists only as a faux option — something to choose against."

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 most likely not have an abortion for one of three reasons:

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  1. 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).
  2. She thinks it over for a while, then decides to keep the baby. Sometimes the plot will twist the knife by having her pregnancy end in a miscarriage just when she's decided to carry to term.
  3. 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.

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Part of the reason for this is to both avoid the wrath of the Moral Guardians, and as well as avoid polarizing/alienating a big chunk of the audience (though this can happen anyway if her decision not to abort is made in a hamfisted manner)note , 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, or worse, imply that abortion is nothing special. 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, etc.

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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 fetus (8 months old or so) instead of a tiny mostly amorphous embryo when it comes to what resides inside the pregnant woman's womb early-on, when nearly all abortions take place.

The Trope can often contrast with Deliver Us from Evil, which shows that a bad girl would likely feel the same way.

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.

See also Abortion Fallout Drama, where the story focuses on what happens when the character does get an abortion (may overlap if the story demonizes the person who got the abortion).

No Real Life Examples, Please! This is a very sensitive topic, and the term "good" as applied to a living person is very subjective.


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    Anime & Manga 
In general, anime & manga will play with this trope a lot more than Western media will. In Japanese culture, abortion is neither as culturally polarizing a topic (most Japanese accept it, and it is not taboo in either Buddhism nor Shinto, the dominant religions) nor as strictly legally restricted, and has been effectively available when required for centuries. Ironically, birth control is far more polarizing and legally restricted in Japan, which leads to the Japanese typically aborting unwanted pregnancies instead of using contraceptives to manage family sizes.
  • 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.
  • In Ceres, Celestial Legend, Aya eventually learns that she's pregnant. Nothing is discussed for some time because the deaths of Chidori and Touya, who is the father of Aya's child, is in the foreground, until Aya returns to her home. She's still processing the news herself until her doctor friend asks her what she's thinking of doing. Aya quickly decides that she wants to have the baby, despite the circumstances being very difficult, and since the baby is 'part Touya', she doesn't want to get rid of it.
  • Karin:
    • Fumio 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.
  • Kodomo no Kodomo: Abortion is discussed in Haruna's case. When Mika finds out, she researches things and tells Haruna that an abortion can only be done up to the 23rd week and that she should abort. But Haruna eventually realizes that the baby needs her, so she doesn't.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • This seems to be Madam Red's opinion in Black Butler. She actually kills and mutilates prostitutes who had an abortion and doesn't feel remotely bad about it. This is explained by the fact she can no longer have children.
  • In Akkan Baby, just about everybody suggests that Shigeru and Yuki may want to give up their child (as in, for adoption). "I don't want to kill the baby!" are practically Arc Words. However, this is played with a side character, Mika, as she initially intended to get an abortion after Shigeo, Puni's father, left, but she was too far along.
  • 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.)
  • Skip Beat! discussed this in the case of Saena Mogami, Kyoko's mother. She didn't realize she was pregnant for some time and thought of getting an abortion, but most doctors refused to do it because she was already in a weakened condition because of her strenuous job and malnutrition. While she was looking for a doctor who would go through with the abortion, the legal time-limit passed and she had no other choice but to give birth.
  • 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.
  • The 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.
  • Attack on Titan has Kuchel Ackermann. Not only does she belong to a bloodline mercilessly persecuted by the royal family, she's a prostitute living in abject poverty, so her brother urging her to abort her accidental pregnancy by one of her johns comes off as more pragmatic than anything. She still refuses, and is vindicated in the long term by her son growing up into the most deadly warrior ever seen within the Walls.

    Comic Books 
  • Fables
    • Snow White 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:
    • This is averted 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). The pregnant woman she's speaking to eventually decides to have the baby, and is later seen wearing a button proclaiming "I chose to have a baby but I'm glad I had a choice."
    • In "The Wake" Lyta Hall advises Rose Walker to abort her baby before it can break her heart. Rose is rather understandably disturbed.
  • 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:
    • In "Baby Talk", a man who dumped his girlfriend after he got her pregnant is convinced by his uncle and a doctor that abortion is murder. The guy finally repents to God and reunites with his ex just before she goes to the clinic.
    • In "Who Murdered Clarice?", God sentences a doctor who performed an abortion to hell along with his "accomplices".
  • Robin Series: 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. The revelation in later issues 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 Goon shows Goon's Aunt Kizzie being pressured into getting an abortion by her lover after she became pregnant. Here it's not the abortion that's the problem but the fact that she clearly wanted the child but he didn't, so she did it to hold on to him and it becomes a moot point when he's killed shortly thereafter in an accident while performing. As a result of this when baby Goon is dumped on her by her brother she decides to raise him in the place of the child she wanted to keep.

    Fan Works 
  • 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 not fully explained.
  • There are hundreds of fics written in the iCarly community, with a Fandom-Specific Plot being Sam(antha) becoming pregnant from 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.
  • 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). Petunia refused to even consider an abortion upon becoming pregnant (the pair still weren't married at the time) and they had Ryan.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Law & Order: UK fanfic "Choices" features Alesha realizing that she's pregnant as the result of her rape. Despite not wanting to have a child conceived as a result of rape, she can't bring herself to abort it either and drags her feet on making a decision until it's too late for one. She ends up having a Convenient Miscarriage.
  • In Kiryuuin Chronicles, the issue isn't brought up but it does seem to be implied, considering Ragyou didn't see any other way out of marrying her abusive husband while pregnant with Satsuki besides being disowned, then again, the possibility that, if she didn't marry her abusive husband, her family might have disowned her anyway (whether she terminated the pregnancy or not) cannot be ruled out either. Either way, she elects to keep her pregnancy.
  • In the fourth of the Gensokyo 20XX series, this is played with and implied with subtly, as Yuuka notes that she is glad that society has collapsed because to think of what sort of advice a person could give to an emotionally fragile Ran would be horrid. Made a tad more explicit, all the while still being implied, later on, when Sakuya suggests she drink some herbal tea, to which she responds rather horrified, implying she knew what Sakuya could be talking about (we don't know if that was what a kid Sakuya really meant).
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines:
    • Played with in the Misty Gaiden. The only reason Misty's parents didn't abort her was because of the bad press it would bring them.
    • Eventually we discover the trope was put in place to some extent in the verse, not by the author, but by the father of Ash Ketchum and his many half siblings using his abilities to make it so the mothers would not have abortions, with it being noted that a number of them would have done so without this in play.
  • In thisThe Hobbit fanfic, a woman decides to have an abortion because her lover implied that he won't marry her and she knows she couldn't provide for a child on her own. Just before she takes the herbs, her lover turns up and reveals that it was a misunderstanding - in his culture, women propose, and it is considered rude for men to do so. Then her mother enters the room, sees the (poisonous) herbs, scolds her for doing something so dangerous and states that she is fully willing to invoke a Shotgun Wedding as alternative.
  • In the Kim Possible fanfic A Small Possibility, Drakken devises a way to get Kim pregnant with Shego's child. Neither Shego nor Kim want an abortion despite hating each other and Kim being 17. Shego cites growing up a latchkey child whose parents were distant made her want to be there for her future children matter what. Kim doesn't want an abortion because she refuses to kill a baby. The two go through with the pregnancy, end up falling in love, and end up with twins.
  • Subverted in the Metroid oneshot Chaos and the Aftermath. After getting pregnant during a one-night stand, Samus debates what to do next. Just when she starts to come to terms with being pregnant, she doubts her ability to be a mother. Samus decides that, even if the idea hurts her, it's better that she have an abortion rather than be an unfit parent.
  • In Angel of the Bat, Stephanie Brown's reason for chosing adoption in the comics stems from abortion going against her religious beliefs.
  • Double subverted in the Harvest Moon fic Mind Brigade. Eve ends up pregnant from a one-night stand she had while partying in the city. Being a single woman who works as a bartender, she tearfully decides that having an abortion would be the best solution. Jamie doesn't condemn her choice, but it is shocking and it only confirms his belief that life isn't fair. In the end, however, Eve decides to keep the baby. She names her daughter "Jamie" (which thankfully is a Gender-Blender Name), after the recently deceased man.
  • Played with in The Second Try. Asuka very briefly brings up the possibility of having an abortion, but it's shot down for practical reasons rather than moral ones. After all, where would the last two people on the planet (who are both teenagers with only basic self-taught medical training) get the skills or resources to perform one?
  • Warriors: The Days The Clans Died: Eeltail is a medicine cat who Really Gets Around, despite medicine cats being barred from taking mates or having kits. When she ends up pregnant, she tries to take abortion herbs but is stopped by Swanfeather. Swanfeather is very fond of kits, but he has difficulties having his own because he's only attracted to toms. He's horrified that Eeltail would think to kill her kits and he wants her to deal with the consequences of her promiscuity.
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "The Birth Of Psycheliana", no sooner does Smurfette discovers that she's pregnant with Empath's child does she get a visit from Tapper, the resident Christian Smurf, who tells her that she may be tempted into giving up the child (alluding to abortion) during her time of pregnancy. Smurfette, who at the time was married to Empath and actually wanted to have a child by him, assures Tapper that she has no intention of ever giving up the child, that she intends to go all the way through to the birth. The rest of the story has Smurfette go through the emotions of being pregnant with a child, but nonetheless delivers a healthy daughter at the end.
  • A similar situation occurs in the Hero: The Guardian Smurf series regarding Hero's two separate wives having their separate pregnancies with his two daughters, with Hero's friend Abloec being the resident Christian Smurf who engages in the talk.
  • In born of hell('s kitchen), Jessica apparently didn't consider abortion after falling pregnant from drunken sex into a school closet. By contrast, Kilgrave is obviously repulsed by her eight-months-pregnant silhouette and bemoans it's much too late to "fix" this problem — which is clearly intended to establish him as a monster.
  • In a "Doug & Carol" ER story, she is not pleased to find herself pregnant in her late-40's, citing both the risks of having a child at her age and not wanting to start all over at the same time they're almost ready to send their four kids off to college. She comes around and the story concludes with them looking forward to it.
  • Played with in the A Song of Ice and Fire fanfic Safe Anchorage. Jeyne seeks an abortion after she realizes she's pregnant with Ramsay's child. She's unable to get one, but only because Westerosi abortificants are too dangerous at her age and state of pregnancy. The moral concerns never come up.
  • In Freedom's Limits, Madavi can't bring herself to abort her first pregnancy, even though having a baby would make her life ten times harder (she's only fourteen/fifteen and the father is an Orc, which her employers would probably not be understanding about).
  • The Redemption of Harley Quinn: Upon learning that Harley's pregnant with twins from being gang raped, Poison Ivy asks for an abortion doctor, but Harley decides to give birth and adopt them out, viewing the act of creating new life as a good deed for her new reformed self.

    Music 
  • "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 to have an abortion, and her choice to keep the baby is not necessarily presented as the "good" choice.
  • "Aurélie" by Colonel Reyel is about a sixteen year-old girl who gets pregnant, then decides to keep the baby against the will of her friends and parents. The chorus praises her decision to become a "mother at all costs". Word of God is that the song is not against abortion but against external pressure to have one.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • The different denominations of Christianity have a variety of different views on abortion, ranging from condemnation to acceptance of it, many of which have changed drastically over time.
    • The Roman Catholic Church views human life as beginning at conception, and as such considers willful abortion to be a mortal sin in all circumstances and punishable by both automatic excommunication and eternal damnation.note  Even before reaching the conclusion that life begins at conception (which in their view makes termination of pregnancy an act of murder), the Catholic Church has considered abortion to be a mortal sin as early as the 1st century AD when it was condemned by the Didachenote  and by other Church Fathers. As a result, the Catholic Church and many Catholic individuals tend to be active in the anti-abortion movement. Having said all this, medical procedures to save the mother's life are acceptable even if the side effect is the child's death (such as when a cancerous womb is removed). This is called the principle of double effect (i.e. a good act is permitted even where some bad consequences result so when unintended).
    • The Eastern Orthodox Church, like it's Western Catholic counterpart, forbids abortion in all circumstances and considers it to be a mortal sin. But while still expected to repent, a woman who gets an abortion because of potential threat to her life doesn't get excommunicated.
    • The Church of England considers abortion to be a Great Moral Evil, and only permits abortion when there is a clear threat to the life of the mother.
    • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints considers abortion to be contrary to the will of God, and punishes it with excommunication. However exceptions are made in cases of rape, incest, or when a pregnancy threatens the mother's life.
    • The Episcopal Church only condones abortion in cases of rape, incest, when the fetus has abnormalities, or when the mother's health is at risk. It forbids abortion as a means of birth control, as a means of family planning, as a means of sex selection (i.e. aborting all female fetuses because a couple only wants a son), or convenience.
    • The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America supports legal abortion prior to fetal viability, and allow it after fetal viability when the life of the mother or the fetus is threatened by the pregnancy.
    • The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod teaches that abortion should only be allowed when the pregnancy endangers the mother's life.
    • The Presbyterian Church USA disapproves of abortion for convenience, but does not outright forbid it.
    • The Southern Baptist Convention opposes abortion in all circumstances.
    • The United Church of Christ allows abortion on demand.
  • Judaism also has a variety of different stances depending upon denomination.
    • Orthodox Judaism considers abortion an act of murder and only allows it when the mother's life is endangered by pregnancy.
    • Conservative Judaism allows abortion when the pregnancy might cause mental or physical harm to the mother, or when the fetus is deformed or disabled.
    • Reformed Judaism allows abortion in more circumstances, including rape, incest, and when the pregnancy is inconvenient. Additionally it states that the pregnant woman should be the one to make the decision.
    • There is a ritual in the Torah (or Old Testament) describing how a woman accused of adultery by her husband should drink "bitter water", an odd concoction which will according to one interpretation cause abortion if she's guilty and pregnant from her lover. Other interpretations are the potion causing her premature birth or a prolapsed uterus.
  • In Islam, the fetus is believed to gain a soul after four months so past that point abortion is impermissible. Whether or not it's permissible before four months differs from scholar to scholar with stances ranging from forbidden to completely permissible. Muslims universally agree that the mother's life takes precedence over the fetus' regardless of term though.
  • In Hinduism, abortion is generally only permitted to prevent a woman from dying in childbirth. As with Buddhism and Catholic Christianity, in Hinduism a human life begins at conception. The classical Hindu texts even went so far as to claim that getting an abortion was a worse sin than killing one's own parents.
  • Buddhists generally regard abortion negatively; it is believed that life begins at conception and that the act of killing (either directly or through neglect) always generates negative karma for all involved (even the unborn child, as they return to the cycle of death and rebirth without an opportunity to generate good karma). Of course, there are different schools of thought within the religion.
  • Greco-Roman religion for the most part allowed abortion and practiced it regularly. While there were exceptions (one example being Pythagoreanism), they were very rare. The original Hippocratic oath forbade physicians from inducing abortion by use of a pessary. It seems this was not over opposition to abortion overall, though, but a dangerous procedure. Hippocrates advised other methods in his writings. Some followers of his later were adamant it forbade all abortion however.

    Theatre 
  • 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.
  • 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, and forgives her.
  • 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.)
  • The Irish play An Triail deals with a young woman who gets pregnant after being seduced by a married man. Her mother crosses the in-universe Moral Event Horizon by trying to trick her daughter into taking a drink that will abort the baby. Of course, given that everything goes to hell for Maire after she chooses to keep her baby, it's arguable that her life would have turned out better had she gone through with the abortion.

    Video Games 
  • Averted in the sequel to The 7th Guest, The 11th Hour. Two characters are impregnated through rape in their backstory. One aborted the pregnancy (and ended up paralyzed from the waist down due to complications as it was a back alley job) and the other did not. The former ends up being the Big Good of the game, while the latter's child is an Enfant Terrible.
  • After Nagisa's pregnancy is discovered in CLANNAD After Story, her mother Sanae suggests abortion out of concern for her health, but Nagisa refuses, as she really wants to have the baby. Also because one of the series's storyboard artists was forced to abort as a teenager, and the writers didn't want to offend her by reminding her about it through having a character in the story get an abortion.
  • 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 but, as a bastard child from a Dunmer mistress would be very inconvenient for the Emperor (illegitimate heirs to the throne tend to do that), he basically forced his healer to magically abort it against her will. This became a plot point later 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.

    Web Original 
  • The Irish short film Aaron deals with the aftermath of a Teen Pregnancy. The girl in question was going to carry the baby to term, but her parents were going to make her give it up. Naturally it resulted in a Convenient Miscarriage. This one has a justification as abortion was illegal in Ireland at the time.
  • Lindsay Ellis's documentary The A Word examines the trope and all the different reasons some women get abortions.
    • Lindsay herself got pregnant while she was still in college, and her decision was based around not being able to afford to raise a child. She says that she would have carried the baby to term if one of her friends or relatives had been willing to adopt it.
    • Her mother reveals that she was the victim of a date rape in the 70s and got pregnant as a result of that. She alludes to the doctor that performed it saying he had many other rape victims get it done too.
    • A woman who got pregnant very young and later regretted her decision. She became a pro-life campaigner.
    • One woman was 26 with three children and had inherited three more after her brother passed. So with six children, she couldn't afford another and got the abortion even if it was "completely against my morals".
  • Played with in The Most Popular Girls in School where Cameron Van Buren admits to having multiple abortions to such a degree the local clinic is naming a wing after her. This is because Cameron is a Manipulative Bitch who purposefully forgets to take her birth control medication whenever she thinks her current boyfriend or lover is considering breaking up with her. She doesn't seem too upset by this, but "The Reason You Suck" Speech she gets from Jeannie Halverstad implies this is another aspect of Cameron's supposedly "Glamorous" life she's really ashamed of.

    Webcomics 
  • 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, who chooses to keep her child in order to do pregnancy photoshoots and to hide the kid from her parents.
  • Implied in Sleepless Domain during flashbacks to when Mitsuki was pregnant with Kokoro. Kokoro said a member of the C.D.D. explained to Mitsuki what happens when an active magical girl gets pregnant- namely, that she loses her powers prematurely when they're passed on to the baby during childbirth- but Mitsuki decided to keep Kokoro anyway.
    "I guess she had her own reasons."

    Western Animation 
  • 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 before 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 Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon", 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!
    [crowd boos]
    Kang: Very well, no abortions for anyone!
    [crowd boos]
    Kang: Hmm. Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others!
    [crowd cheers and waves miniature American flags]
  • Rick and Morty: Beth and Jerry were originally planning on having an abortion after conceiving Summer when they were 17, but blew a tire on the way to the clinic and decided against it. Subverted in the universes where they did go through with it, in which the two end up going their separate ways and lead far more successful careers.
  • 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 U.S.A. Amber has a hysterical pregnancy, but only finds out from the doctor at the abortion clinic. Not that she had sex.
  • BoJack Horseman:
    • Beatrice, traumatized by the memory of her baby doll being cruelly taken from her and burned in front of her eyes by her father after she contracts scarlet fever, refuses to abort when she gets pregnant by Butterscotch, and gets essentially a Shotgun Wedding instead. It would have probably been more merciful to do so, as her resentment over the circumstances that led to Bojack's birth led her to become an Abusive Parent. Likewise, when she finds out her maid is pregnant with Hollyhock, she convinces the maid to give the baby up for adoption, although Henrietta had no intention of aborting in the first place.
    • Diane chooses to abort her child, and while she's certainly not the the nicest character on the show, she is one of the more morally good ones. She's also not judged for it in a moral sense, with the one person that did have issues with it having them because of her own struggles with infertility, but she accepts Diane's decision.
    • Played with with the fake abortion (yes, FAKE abortion) Sextina Aquafina has: when Diane, her ghostwriter, accidentally tweets her decision to abort to Sextina's account instead of texting her husband, Sextina decides to spin this to her advantage and become the face of the pro-choice movement, and while she's an Alpha Bitch who decides to have her fake abortion live just for the publicity and controversy, she does bring levity and education to a very touchy subject, which gives other women the courage to abort when they might have been peer pressured into keeping it against their desires. Then Sextina gets pregnant for real and decides to keep her baby, quietly retiring. Diane and Princess Carolyn do not question Sextina's decision to keep her baby, only thinking of how they can help her hide it.


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