Gretchen is a sociologist at ANSIRH (Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health) in the Department of OB/Gyn at University of California, San Francisco. She studies cultural reprsentations and constructions of parenthood and reproductive choice, including abortion, adoption, and young parenthood. Her current research focuses on depictions of abortion in popular culture. Gretchen also serves on the Boards of Directors for Backline and Bitch Media.
With National Adoption Awareness Month drawing to a close, we urge viewers to reconsider our culture’s portrayals of adoption. The continual framing of adoption as an unqualified good is not only inaccurate, but also damaging.
Here are several films with breathtaking performances that portray illegal abortion, which you can watch to reflect on how far we’ve come, or on how far we still must go in the fight for abortion access.
As there have been more and more abortion stories on television in the past few years, it’s important to recognize how groundbreaking Shonda Rhimes’ work truly has been. Rhimes is a board member of Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles, and is clearly invested in how abortion is portrayed in our popular entertainment. Indeed, her shows are unique in these portrayals.
There's a tendency in our society to think of relationships formed by adoption as somehow less real than those rooted in biology. This may explain why so much of the discussion of Farrow's story of abuse has focused on her status as an adopted person.
Many of the historical problems with adoption came from the desire to keep it secret, to allow adoptive families to “pass” as traditional, biologically related families. Fully embracing openness is key to our efforts to keep improving adoption and placing further distance between its dark and coercive past and its hopeful future.
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