Last night, MTV aired “No Easy Decision,” a spin-off of the popular reality series, “16 and Pregnant.” The special follows “16 and Pregnant” alum Markai as she struggles with the decision to have an abortion after unexpectedly becoming pregnant for the second time.
Unlike some who use abortion as a form of birth control, Markai and her boyfriend claim they were using contraception when she became pregnant again.
“I just never knew [the Depo-Provera] ran out,” Markai recalls. “They give you a time limit to get the shot again. [It's] like days-days, so I thought I had time. I guess not.”
“No Easy Decisions” does not glamorize abortion, if anything it shows how much of a gut-wrenching decision deciding to terminate a pregnancy can be. The show takes an in-depth look at the outcomes of unplanned pregnancies and shows Markai researching her options. During the show she consults her partner, James, her friends, her mom and several counselors. She does not come to the decision to terminate her pregnancy lightly, and the show captures the gravity of the situation.
Despite her apprehension, Markai and James ultimately decide to go through with the abortion because they do not want their daughter, one-year-old Za’karia, to suffer because of the financial burden involved in raising two children. In the special, Markai says that no one is ever “pro-abortion,” but sometimes women “have to do what’s right” in order to be a responsible adult.
Expectedly, MTV’s decision to air the special came under fire by pro-life groups even before the show hit the airwaves. Conservative pro-life blogger Jill Stanek argues that although MTV claimed to present the issue from all sides, no “pro-life” groups were included in the special.
“According to Entertainment Weekly, MTV’s December 28 abortion reality show ‘will tackle all sides of the issue,’ ” Stanek writes. “This apparently means the pro-life perspective will simply get tackled. The new website, 16 and Loved, sponsored by the pro-abortion group Exhale, states that MTV collaborated with it for the program.”
Although Stanek positions Exhale as a “pro-abortion” group, it is decidedly apolitical. Exhale offers non-judgemental support to women who’ve had an abortion. Their aim is to provide support and resources to help women and their families deal with the difficult emotional repercussions of terminating a pregnancy.
Abortion is a hot-button issue that continues to divide. No matter which side of the debate you fall on, “No Easy Decision” shed new light on a part of the issue—teen abortions—that few get to see.
Watch an extended clip from “No Easy Decisions” and share your thoughts.