Today in Sex: MTV Does Abortion

Last night MTV aired their answer to all the people who wonder why abortion never seem to come up during any episodes of their teen pregnancy reality shows, "16 and Pregnant" or "Teen Mom." Well, now it has. "No Easy Decision" showed Markai and James (unfortunately, two "16 and Pregnant" alums) struggle with the decision of what to do when Markai winds up pregnant again after she misses an appointment for her Depo-Provera injection. After much deliberation, they decide they're going to terminate the pregnancy.

The actual procedure is handled off-screen and despite the fact that the show is only a half-hour in length, we are given a sense that the two actually struggled with their choice, before, during and after.

"No Easy Decision" was divided into two parts: the first filming Markai, James and their baby; the second, a panel discussion with two other women who'd had abortions, moderated by TV's Pimp of Dysfunction, Dr. Drew.

I have mixed feelings about Dr. Drew. He seems quite happy to exploit seriously fucked up people for financial gain (see "Celebrity Rehab"), but also actually seems to genuinely care about the people on his shows. Then again, maybe I'm just swayed by his silver-fox, good looks.

Either way, this was one of his less reprehensible shows and actually gave a respectful, measured look at a reality that one in three women in the US will go through. Unlike some of the cast members of "16/PG," Markai and her man were using birth control, she was just misinformed about the importance of taking it regularly. Markai's abortion was still quite recent when the show aired and though she was still a little raw, she was adamant that she made the only choice she could. "Nobody wants to have an abortion--nobody is 'pro abortion,'" she insisted wisely.

Katie, one of the other women on the show, described finding out she was pregnant a month after breaking up with her boyfriend. She lived in a state that required parental consent and had to get a judge to waive that rule for her. "It's hard to stand in front of a courtroom with no one by your side and ask a stranger for permission," she said. Especially when you're only 17. She had to scramble for money, selling back her prom ticket and asking her ex to help pay for the procedure.

The show aired at 11:30 at night with zero in the way of advertisers (chickenshits), but generated enough buzz that hopefully any young woman who wants to see it, did (or can here right now). MTV partnered with a non-profit called Exhale, that provides support for women who have had abortions.

The worrisome thing is that Markai was getting attacked by anti-choice loonies before the show even aired--her Facebook administrator was taking down nasty notes as quickly as they could be posted. Her full name is out there, where she lives . . . that's scary and I hope MTV is providing her with some kind of security.

Another thing MTV owes their underage moneymakers--and I'm talking about the "16 and Pregnant"/"Teen Mom" casts--is good, solid information on birth control. How could Markai be given Depo-Provera shots and not know it wears off after three months? During the "16/PG" reunion show that aired directly prior to the abortion special, one couple says that despite having one kid already, they're not using any birth control to prevent a second pregnancy. Though both were adamant that they don't want a second child.

Ka-pow. That was the sound of my head exploding.

So now that MTV has covered the parenting angle, the adoption option and the abortion alternative, it's time for a three-hour, hopefully prime-time, primer in birth control. I realize that may dry up their supply of knocked-up cast members, but it's about time they gave back a little.

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