Hollywood's year of the accidental motherCOLLEEN CARROLL CAMPBELL
Much ink has been spilled over the unplanned pregnancies of starlets Jamie Lynn Spears and Nicole Richie. But more culturally significant are the onscreen pregnancies that made 2007 Hollywood's year of the accidental mother.
An unplanned pregnancy also is the unlikely avenue of redemption in last summer's crude hit comedy, Knocked Up. After a drunken one-night stand leaves responsible rising star Alison pregnant with the child of juvenile slacker Ben, she ignores her mother's thinly veiled suggestion that she should abort the child and have "a real baby" later. Alison embarks, instead, on the awkward adventure of getting to know Ben for the sake of the unborn child they have agreed to raise together. Despite the predictable complications, the film concludes with the pair celebrating the first birthday of the daughter whose life has become the catalyst for their love and initiation into adulthood.
Juno, released this month, offers yet another twist on the pro-natal theme. The eponymous heroine of this coarse and bittersweet comedy is a wise-cracking 16-year-old who faces an unplanned pregnancy after a sexual encounter with her dorky best friend. Initially phoning for what she describes as "a hasty abortion" from the local clinic, Juno reconsiders after encountering a plaintive pro-life classmate outside the clinic and a creepy, condom-pushing receptionist inside. Fleeing the clinic's seedy sterility, she opts for adoption instead.
The film does not airbrush the costs of Juno's decision. But its depiction of her deepening maturity and the heartache of infertility experienced by her baby's would-be adoptive mother ultimately affirms her selfless choice. It is noteworthy that the writers and directors behind these three films — like those behind Bella, a more overtly pro-life film also released this year — are Gen Xers raised in the wake of the sexual revolution and the legalization of abortion. Under the cover of crudeness, their comedies pointedly mock the hollow values of their postmodern upbringing: the clinical soullessness of their sex education classes, the simplistic assumption that sex is just another contact sport for which condoms offer sufficient preparation and protection and the puerile fear of commitment and disregard for human life that feed our astronomical abortion rates.
Colleen Carroll Campbell. "Hollywood's year of the accidental mother." St. Louis Post-Dispatch. (December 27, 2007).
Reprinted with permission of the author, Colleen Carroll Campbell.
Colleen Carroll Campbell, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., is a St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist, a former speechwriter to President George W. Bush, and author of The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy. She writes for a wide variety of national publications, speaks to audiences across America, and hosts her own television show, "Faith & Culture," on EWTN, the world's largest religious media network. Her website is here.
Copyright © 2007 Colleen Carroll Campbell
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