icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

New teen comedy ‘Unpregnant’ seems to suggest that abortion is nothing but a barrel of laughs

Michael McCaffrey
Michael McCaffrey

Michael McCaffrey is a writer and cultural critic who lives in Los Angeles. His work can be read at RT, Counterpunch and at his website mpmacting.com/blog. He is also the host of the popular cinema podcast Looking California and Feeling Minnesota. Follow him on Twitter @MPMActingCo

Michael McCaffrey is a writer and cultural critic who lives in Los Angeles. His work can be read at RT, Counterpunch and at his website mpmacting.com/blog. He is also the host of the popular cinema podcast Looking California and Feeling Minnesota. Follow him on Twitter @MPMActingCo

New teen comedy ‘Unpregnant’ seems to suggest that abortion is nothing but a barrel of laughs
The trailer for HBO Max’s Unpregnant appears to ignore the moral complexity of abortion in favor of promoting an insidious amorality on the issue. This is a poor message to send out to impressionable young girls.

Unpregnant is the controversial new abortion buddy comedy movie set to premiere on HBO Max on September 10.

The film, based on the novel of the same name, tells the story of Veronica, a pregnant 17-year-old girl, and her friend Bailey, as they go on a wild and wacky road trip from Missouri to New Mexico so that Veronica can get an abortion.

In its trailer, Unpregnant sells itself as a zany road picture where hilarity ensues when a goofy odd couple of teenage girls steal a car and try to hop a train on their epic odyssey down the yellow brick road to abortionland. 

The road picture narrative is a long time Hollywood staple. Think Bing Crosby and Bob Hope with their numerous “road to” musical comedies of the ’40’s and ’50’s… except in Unpregnant, Crosby and Hope are teenage girls crossing state lines to get an abortion. Hilarious!

It is easy to see why pro-life advocates are up in arms over Unpregnant, as the trailer makes the film appear to be a piece of pro-abortion agitprop specifically designed to antagonize them by making light of abortion and demonizing Veronica’s Catholic parents as “Jesus freaks.”

Also on rt.com American clinics report up to 400% rise in abortion requests. If there's a Covid-19 economic collapse, this will get much worse

2020 has been a banner year for decidedly pro-abortion films with Unpregnant, the critically acclaimed drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always and the indie dramedy Saint Frances, which all have an amoral attitude toward abortion, all being released.

Notice I described these films as ‘pro-abortion’ and not ‘pro-choice’, and that is because pro-choice implies a grappling with the moral gravity of the abortion decision, whereas pro-abortion removes any moral dimensions at all, and reduces abortion to being akin to getting a nose piercing.

This amoral approach to abortion is perfectly summed up by Kelly O’Sullivan, writer and star of Saint Frances, who told Time magazine, “I wanted to write a story where it’s a non-traumatic depiction of abortion. It’s ordinary and light and sometimes funny… 

Yes, because if abortion is anything it is ordinary, light and sometimes funny.

Hollywood has not always been so devoid of nuance in its depiction of the extraordinarily complex issue of abortion.

Also on rt.com In the Pentagon and China’s propaganda wars, greedy Hollywood is a happy helper for both – the people and art are the victims

In 2007, Juno, Knocked Up and Waitress all portrayed their female protagonists wrestling with an unwanted pregnancy and highlighting the choice part of the pro-choice position, with each ultimately choosing to not have an abortion.

These films were wildly successful, with Juno and Knocked Up raking in $231 million and $219 million respectively, and Waitress pulling in a respectable $22 million with just a $1.5 million budget. 

Juno also garnered four Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress, while winning for Best Original Screenplay.

The commercial and critical success of these films was a result of their mirroring Americans’ extremely conflicted feelings on the subject of abortion. 

Polling shows that a majority of Americans are pro-choice in some form, but as Barbara Carvalho of Marist Poll told NPR, “People do see the issue as very complicated, very complex. Their positions don’t fall along one side or the other... The debate is about the extremes, and that’s not where the public is.”

In the 13 years since Juno, Knocked Up and Waitress hit the big screens, Hollywood has abandoned the nuance and dramatic complexity of Americans’ view of abortion in favor of the extremist pro-abortion message of Unpregnant.

Tinsel Town is no longer interested in connecting with as wide an audience as possible, but rather prefers to signal its self-professed virtue with cultural propaganda that directly targets underage girls, while preaching to the minority of pro-abortion zealots in their midst. 

Also on rt.com Making great movies in Hollywood is difficult. Anti-white racism will make it impossible

Most troubling for movie lovers is that internal moral conflicts are what make for the most interesting drama and comedy, and to ignore them in favor of self-aggrandizing political posturing is self-defeating for both artists and the movie industry.

An example of a mainstream filmmaker successfully embracing morally complex issues, including abortion, is Knocked Up director Judd Apatow, who has made a career of wrapping moral debates in his signature raunchy humor.

Apatow’s films, which include The 40-Year-Old Virgin, This is 40, Funny People and Trainwreck, are “conservative” comedies where adult protagonists face moral dilemmas and though tempted to make the libertine choice, eventually make the difficult but responsible one instead.

As Hollywood’s cultural politics become ever more strident, Apatow’s formula, which has made him a gazillionaire, will become anathema in the movie industry and “get woke, go broke” will most assuredly be made manifest in La La Land.

The Unpregnant trailer, which boasts such cringe-worthy dialogue as “it’s my life, my choice” and the insipid tag line “when life gets off track, forge your own path,” makes clear the popular 2007 approach of entertaining adults with moral complexity is now abandoned in favor of indoctrinating kids with extremist agitprop.

Maybe when Unpregnant comes out, we’ll discover that it’s a terrific film and more morally complex than its trailer suggests… or maybe it is the canary in the cultural coalmine reflective of how the new, grotesquely woke Hollywood is desperate for its cancer of vapid amorality and decadent depravity to metastasize to the next generation of girls and young women. My bet is on the latter.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Podcasts