HBO released the trailer for its latest streaming movie, Unpregnant, last Wednesday. Starring Haley Lu Richardson (Edge of Seventeen) and Barbie Ferreira (Euphoria), the HBO Max road-trip comedy is set to be released September 10. The film’s premise: two estranged friends go on a road trip across state lines to get an underage abortion, sounds like the subject of a painfully serious drama. Yet that’s not how Hollywood wants viewers to see abortion anymore. For all intents and purposes, the movie looks like a teen coming-of-age comedy à la Superbad or Booksmart, and abortion is the butt of the joke. With the release of Unpregnant, Planned Parenthood and abortion are being normalized for teens.
It’s unclear if the actual film will deal with the nuances of a decision as serious as aborting a child, but the marketing doesn’t look promising. In the trailer, every serious mention of pregnancy and the realities of abortion is downplayed through dismissive attempts at humor. When Richardson’s character finds out she’s pregnant, the reveal is undercut by a slapstick moment. Later, Ferreira’s character asks Richardson’s,“You’re hiding this from your Jesus-freak parents?” The screen then flashes to a nice portrait of Pope Francis, clearly implying her parents are both Catholic, and pro-life as the Catechism teaches. Sure, it’s an attempt at comedy, but it flies in the face of the religious views of many Americans and uses them as a punchline. And when the jokes are centered around the life of a child, it is disrespectful of that life and desensitizing to the young viewers at whom the film is targeted.
Worse, the film’s “serious” points turn out to be straight from Planned Parenthood propaganda. When Richardson’s character and her boyfriend are arguing in a New Mexico abortion clinic, she parrots the pro-choice movement’s key phrase: “It’s my life; it’s my choice.” This isn’t the first time Hollywood has put out comedies promoting abortions. Obvious Child, from 2014, was specifically written and produced to destigmatize abortion to audiences. The movie’s humor is mostly derived from its lead character’s stand-up background, but its message is that we can laugh while we talk about abortion. In the movie, there is no resistance to the protagonist’s decision, and it is depicted as a normal occurrence.
Other comedies, like Academy-Award nominated Juno (2007) or the classic Judd Apatow comedy Knocked Up (2007) have dealt with the issue of pregnancy and abortion with much more seriousness. Knocked Up barely entertains the idea of an abortion and focuses on the realities of preparing for an unplanned pregancy. Juno does dive into the issue, and the main character goes back and forth in her decision about whether to get an abortion. Conversations are had, minds are changed, and ultimately Juno chooses to save her child’s life. She ends up giving up her child for adoption, one of many viable alternatives to terminating a pregnancy. Juno still remains the gold-standard for comedies surrounding the contentious topic.
In the decade-plus since Juno’s release, liberal Hollywood and Democrats have moved past the Clintonian mantra of “safe, legal, and rare” and fully embraced the supremacy of Planned Parenthood abortion on-demand. This has reflected in movies due to some key signals from the pro-abortion lobby: once “rare” was struck from the 2012 Democratic platform, Obvious Child released just two years later with a strong “safe and legal” message. This dramatic shift to the left in the last decade has resulted in a film like Unpregnant that glorifies underage abortions.
Unpregnant looks as if it will not even attempt to address the ethics of abortion. Instead of questioning the decisions for Richardson’s character to lie to her parents and sneak across state borders, the movie tells its audience these are the right, and cool, decisions to make. Rather than highlighting the perilous decision to have an abortion, the movie spends more of its time criticizing reasonable abortion restrictions like notifying a minor’s parents.
Unpregnant pushes Hollywood’s normalization of abortion to the extreme. While pro-abortion activists have long opposed parental notifications of a minor’s abortion and endorsed traveling to get the easiest access to an abortion, Hollywood’s endorsement of this message in Unpregnant is new. Gone is the fear of offending a still sizable conservative audience by endorsing abortion, and here to stay is a brazen promotion of the furthest extent of the pro-abortion movement. It looks as if Hollywood will put out a comedy this fall that promotes abortion and belittles the lives of the unborn and the religion of many Americans. Shameless.