Reprimand NBC for Refusing to Air the Word “Abortion”


Target: Stephen B. Burke, CEO of NBC Universal

Goal: Air uncut trailers for the movie Obvious Child that include the word abortion

New indie rom-com Obvious Child is taking the United States by storm. Lauded by feminist pop culture critics for its realistic portrayal of abortion, Obvious Child is paving the way for female-centric comedies that depict abortion as a normal part of women’s lives. TV network NBC has allegedly refused to air any ads for the film that include the word “abortion.” Tell NBC that abortion is not a four-letter word and demand that it run uncut ads for this important and groundbreaking film.

Obvious Child is about an average Brooklynite who, after she happens to get pregnant, decides to get an abortion. Since it was legalized in the 1970s, abortion has been a normal and integral part of reproductive healthcare in the United States. It’s estimated that one in three American women will have an abortion in her lifetime. And yet, NBC allegedly asked Obvious Child’s distributor to censor the “a word” from its commercial spots despite that it was slated to run only during primetime and Saturday Night Live, the hours that are dedicated to adult programming.

The word abortion is bandied about regularly on political talk shows and the news, although TV shows and films have a much-discussed history of shying away from realistic portrayals of it. Representations of women facing unplanned pregnancies in the media usually either depict her abortion as traumatic or have her decide at the last possible moment that she wants to have the baby instead. These experiences do not reflect those of the average American woman.

In Obvious Child, abortion is portrayed as it is for many American women: just not a huge deal. Demand that NBC run the uncut versions of the commercial spots for Obvious Child to bring validity to the life experiences of average American women.


Dear Mr. Burke,

I am appalled that forty years after Roe v. Wade made abortion a safe and legal procedure for American women, the word itself, as well as the experiences of women who undergo it, is still regularly silenced. I demand that you air the uncut commercial spots for the groundbreaking film Obvious Child with the word “abortion” intact.

One in three American women will have an abortion during her lifetime. Having an abortion is not unusual or a radical action. It is an integral component of reproductive healthcare and a right. And yet, abortion is often ignored or skimmed over in the very media that professes to represent American women and their interests. I ask you this: Why do you allow film trailers with gratuitous violence and objectifying images of women to inundate primetime TV while the word “abortion” is censored?

Refuse to give into pressure from right-wing groups with special-interest agendas, and support the values of average American women. Do your part to end the stigma of women’s life experiences and run the uncensored version of Obvious Child’s TV ads.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: BetacommandBot via Wikimedia Commons

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