Special Report

Roe v. Wade Overturned

Opinion: Does Giving ‘The Talk’ to Kids Now Have to Include Abortion?

By

July 15, 2022

Categories

Special Report: Roe v. Wade Overturned

Tags

, ,

Share

(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) America has been bracing for the end of Roe v. Wade since early May when a brief by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito outlining how and why the court decided to overturn the landmark 1973 decision leaked to the political news site Politico.

That decision became official on June 24 and sent a relatively slow news week into overdrive not seen in 50 years or possibly ever.

It’s obviously an important decision for both pro-choice and anti-abortion advocates, but it is also a vitally important decision for journalism. It is unlike anything the craft has ever seen, and what has become quite clear in coverage across all media, is that a large portion of the news media is taking a side. But in doing so, they are not necessarily going pro-choice or anti-abortion so much as they are anti-rights removal. It is, after all, the first time in America’s 245-year history that the Supreme Court has removed a right that it gave to the populace a half-century before. This outlines how the politics of the latest judicial appointments have sent the U.S. into a divisive tailspin from which it may never recover.

While some of the journalism has given equal play to both sides of the issue, some organizations have taken a pro-choice stance. There are dozens of articles about which states provide abortions, how to get one, what phone numbers to call for pills, and further guidance. It is doing what journalism is supposed to do inform the public with important information. As a journalist, I think it’s acceptable to take that stance, given that every woman whose reproductive rights are now limited does not know what it is like to live in a world without Roe. The removal of the right to body autonomy really only has one side, and I can easily sleep at night with outlets firmly standing on that side of the debate versus trying to straddle the line for “objectivity’s sake.”

And that brings me to this article from Vox, titled “It’s important to talk to kids about abortion. Here’s how.” To me, this is the best form of advocacy journalism because it puts out an important call to action that not every parent takes into account. Yes, abortion has been legal for 50 years, but very few parents speak to their kids about it whether or not they are in favor of it. In fact, I’d posit that parents who are anti-abortion likely speak to their kids about it more than those who are pro-choice. Regardless, it’s not an easy subject to discuss, but given the intense news coverage of the decision,  it’s a topic that no teenager with a connected device can avoid no matter where they may reside.

What struck me about this article is that it’s strictly about engaging the topic. It’s not about discussing celibacy or abstinence or even birth control. It’s about having an open discussion about abortion and how to build that discussion into a positive narrative with your children. It presumes that we all know someone or are someone who has had an abortion. It advocates for open discussion not based on belief systems but on information systems built toward a level of comfort around reproductive rights and body autonomy that has been taken away. It is not lost on the reader that there is a veiled narrative that future generations will be the ones to take Roe and body autonomy back.

In my opinion, that’s what makes this the best kind of advocacy journalism. It doesn’t get into the politics of the issue per se but simply sets out a way in which the reader can engage a very important conversation openly and with a positive outcome.

I’ll close with a bit of an aside because it suits the point about the difficulty the subject and talking about it can present. I texted the link to this very article to my family group chat, of which four of my teenage nieces are a part. My family is in Canada, where abortion is legal, and it looks to remain that way based on statements from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the wake of the overturning of Roe

My two younger siblings and their spouses are all pro-choice, but the private texts I received from both of my siblings about sending over that link reinforced to me how important an article this is.

From my brother: “Bro, why would you send a link like that to the group chat? Leave the parenting to those of us who have kids.” (I do not have kids.)

From my sister: “While I appreciate that you are a journalist and want to send over information to us, this is HIGHLY inappropriate to send to teenagers who are 13-18 yrs old. You should have cleared this with us first.”

There is merit in what both of them had to say, but my reply was simply, “read the article, digest what it says.” I added that having this discussion now is better than having it when they come home and tell you they might be accidentally pregnant. I have yet to get a reply, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to make the next time I see them both at Thanksgiving dinner all the more entertaining.

Special Report: Roe v. Wade Overturned

July 12, 2022

Opinion: Abortion Limits Echo Anxieties About Civil Rights and Slavery

For Black women, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade threatens to upend a hard-fought battle for equality.

Hangers

July 12, 2022

Opinion: Confronting Abortion’s ‘Ick Factor’

In almost 50 years since Roe v. Wade was decided, then overturned, advances in abortion methods have outpaced its image in popular culture. Research shows most Americans don’t know how contemporary abortion works, and many don't want to talk about it.

People gather at Supreme Court

June 24, 2022

Missouri First State to Ban Abortion in Wake of SCOTUS Decision

The impact of the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization was felt almost immediately as Missouri and other states enacted so-called "trigger laws" to ban or limit abortion immediately.

A group of protesters hold up signs

June 8, 2022

On an American Main Street, Women Protest the Fall of Roe v. Wade

The protesters' reasons for attending the event were as varied as the signs they held.

Becca Andrews

June 6, 2022

Covering the Fall of Roe v. Wade: Becca Andrews of Mother Jones

The Click is talking with reporters who cover abortion and reproductive rights to get a sense of what their job […]

Heidi Beedle headshot

June 6, 2022

Covering the Fall of Roe v. Wade: Heidi Beedle of The Colorado Times Recorder

The Click is talking with reporters who cover abortion and reproductive rights to get a sense of what their job […]

Erica Hensley of The Fuller Project

June 4, 2022

Covering the Fall of Roe v. Wade: Erica Hensley of The Fuller Project

The Click is talking with reporters who cover abortion and reproductive rights to get a sense of what their job […]

Headshot of Sarah McCammon

June 4, 2022

Covering the Fall of Roe v. Wade: Sarah McCammon of NPR

The Click talked to NPR's abortion rights correspondent, Sarah McCammon, about what it's been like since the Roe v. Wade draft opinion leaked.

June 2, 2022

Covering the Fall of Roe v. Wade: Becky Jacobs of The Salt Lake Tribune

The Click is talking with reporters who cover abortion and reproductive rights to get a sense of what their job […]

May 6, 2022

Activists Rally in Foley Square Following Leaked Supreme Court Draft Opinion

(NEW YORK) — Foley Square was alive with action as New York City advocates took to the street in protest […]