11 Movies About Abortion That Need to Be Seen

Dirty Dancing, Penny, Cynthia Rhodes, Dr. Jake Houseman (Jerry Orbach)
Vestron Pictures

If alien invasions and robot apocalypses can be on the silver screen, why can't abortion?

11 Movies About Abortion That Should Be Discussed

Abortion is a hot topic of conversation these days. Some people believe in the women's right to choose, yet others are against it.

Hollywood portrays many things inaccurately: space invasion, bar fights, divorce, superheroes, and city-wide car chases. Abortion is not exempt from that either. While some movies portray the female viewpoint accurately, others demonize and exaggerate abortions.

Regardless, the following 11 movies were groundbreaking in various ways. From championing the notion that women are in charge of their bodies and choices to advertising an abortion plot line during a time where it was taboo, these films brought awareness to the procedure.

Below you will find movies spanning many years, with actors of many talents. Each film touches on abortion in its own way and it's up to the audience to deduce the realistic or imaginative nature of the film.

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1. A Private Matter

Based on the true story of Sherri Finkbine, a woman who sought to terminate her fifth pregnancy due to deformatilites in the fetus because of the controversial drug, thalidomide. The movie proves why legal abortion in the United States is necessary for women.

2. Alfie

While the 2004 remake isn't the greatest piece of cinematic history, the abortion subplot originated from the 1966 film of the same name, albeit watered down in this version. Alfie, a charismatic playboy impregnates his best friends ex-girlfriend (wow), who proceeds to tell Alfie she is seeking an abortion. Later, he visits the reconciled couple upstate and learns that she in fact, never went through with it.

3. Blue Valentine

A common theme in Hollywood regarding abortion, is that the woman changes her mind at the very last moment. This, for many reasons isn't necessarily a honest depiction of what 1 in 4 women may think about, but for cinematic purposes, I'll let it slide. Cindy, played by Michelle Williams, learns she is with child and decides to go to a clinic to terminate the pregnancy. Again, she changes her mind and keeps the baby then goes on to marry Dean (Ryan Gosling), which of course, ends rather sadly.

4. The Cider House Rules

Raised in an orphanage, Homer Wells is brought up by Dr. Wilbur Larch, who teaches him how to preform safe but illegal abortions. The abortion discussion is interesting, two men who have conflicting views eventually work together for the betterment of the woman.

5. Dirty Dancing

Not just a classic film where a sexy ass Patrick Swayze dances with Jennifer Grey. If anything, it's a reminder why abortion should be legal. Johnny's dancing partner, Penny, seeks an abortion but it leaves her in pain. Eventually, Baby has to go to her father, a doctor, to help Penny. The notion of secret and unsafe abortions is all too real for many women around the world.

6. Fast Times at Ridgemont High

High schoolers Stacy and Damone have unprotected sex, which leaves Stacy to seek an abortion. Damone is unable to help her pay for it and begins ignoring Stacy. Brad, the protective older brother, supports Stacy through the decision and picks her up after her appointment. An unideal situation is portrayed somewhat ethically in this 1982 film.

7. For Colored Girls

Women of color are in dire need of proper medical care, including reproductive care. For Colored Girls explores the lengths at which African American women go through to find such resources. This movie provides another example of the illegal and life-threatening abortion options for minorities and women of color.

8. If These Walls Could Talk

Released in 1996, If These Walls Could Talk follows the story of three women (Demi Moore, Sissy Spacek, and Cher) whose stories span twenty years but take place in the same home. Demi Moore's character deals with illegal abortion in 1952 when she finds she is pregnant with no husband. In 1974, Sissy Spacek realizes she is pregnant for the forth time and at a later age in life. Financially and emotionally, her and her night-shift husband cannot care for another dependent. And in 1996, Cher is a doctor who performs abortions with intense scrutiny from the general public. The three stories are all too common, even in 2018.

9. Juno

Sixteen-year-old Juno (Ellen Page) gets pregnant and seeks an abortion. But, on her way to the clinic, she is persuaded by a protestor to keep the baby and put it up for adoption. So she does, and Jennifer Garner gets a baby. It's a happy story (albeit, a cliché); again, the woman changes her mind just in time.

10. Obvious Child

Quite possibly the most honest and real depiction of abortion on screen, Donna (played by the talented Jenny Slate) has unprotected sex with Max and becomes pregnant. She's not equipped to bring a child into this world, nor knows Max well enough to do so. Max supports Donna's right to choose and accompanies her to the procedure. They go back to the apartment together and watch a movie, presumably the first of their new relationship. Director Gillian Robespierre and Jenny Slate create an honest depiction of what a modern (albeit, white) woman goes through when deciding what to do with her body and life.

11. Revolutionary Road

Based on the book of the same name, Revolutionary Road depicts an abortion scene that might shock viewers. The main characters, Frank and April (played by Leonard DeCaprio and Kate Winslet) want more for themselves than suburbia has to offer. When April learns she is pregnant again, she performs a vacuum aspiration abortion, which ultimately kills her. The depiction of abortion proves the lengths women had to go through when safe medical outlets were unavailable.