According to Linda Schuyler, the executive producer of the teen sitcom “Degrassi”, abortion is the “first, if not the second, most divisive topic that we talk about.”
Schuyler’s comments come as Degrassi is set to air its third season. In it they will confront abortion, refugees, and “scary right-wing thinking.” In an episode called #IRegretNothing Lola Pacini, a 16-year old character on the show, will be featured having an abortion. Victoria Ahearn of the Canadian Press interviewed Schuyler who is quoted as saying, “We’re very much influenced by what’s going on in the world, there’s no question.” This would lead the reader to believe that the only reason they include such a “divisive topic” on their show is because of what’s going on in the world – as though 16-year old girls are publicly celebrating their abortions all the time – and they are only catching up. Except that’s not really what’s going on. Amanda Arcuri who plays Lolo Pacini in the show told Ms. Ahearn that, “I’m happy that the writers gave me this opportunity to portray it [abortion] and help young girls.” Degrassi’s producers are clearly trying to destigmatize abortion and normalize it for teens.
In spite of Degrassi and the efforts of other abortion advocates to portray abortion as something to celebrate we can be sure that it will always remain divisive. This is not because of “right-wing, scary thinking” but rather, because of the scientific reality that abortion takes the life of a human being, and that abortion is contrary to the created order in which a mother’s natural instinct is to care for her young.
The pro-life response to Degrassi’s ploy is not to demonize the show or its characters but to continue displaying the humanity of the pre-born child and doing everything we can to build support for laws that protect them.