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Sunday, February 12, 2012 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer getting abortion

Joss Whedon, along with another writer, is taking the franchise he worked from movie and TV series into comics and politicizing it. In this Entertainment Weekly interview, he and they talk all about it:
...in the latest issue of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 comic series — which chronicles Buffy’s life in San Francisco after she destroyed the seed of all magic on earth at the end of the Season 8 comic — Buffy Summers will face perhaps the toughest decision she’s ever had. SPOILER ALERT for those who would rather read about it in the issue itself, “On Your Own, Part 1,” out in stores today. Seriously, what you’re about to read is one heckuva spoiler:

Buffy is getting an abortion.

Last month’s issue, “Slayer, Interrupted,” ended with Buffy discovering she’s pregnant, and in this month’s issue (the sixth in the Season 9 series), she turns to the person who best knows what it means for a Slayer to have a child: Robin Wood (played by D.B. Woodside on the TV series), the grown son of the late Slayer Nikki Wood. By the end of the issue, Buffy comes to the conclusion that she cannot have a baby. The decision was so important for Buffy creator and Season 9 exec producer Joss Whedon, that he took time off from finishing his post-production directing duties on The Avengers to talk with EW about the issue.
First off, I don't see what the point is of destroying all magic on earth, since it throws away a lot of imagination, and by that logic, they'd surely have to destroy all electricity and energy supplies on earth, since that's something most magic is built upon too.

And then, just look at that. Seems the only conclusion they can come to is that abortion is the only option, and that a vampire hunter cannot possibly marry and raise a family. That seems to be what Whedon is saying here.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When and why did you decide that Buffy would become pregnant?

JOSS WHEDON: When I was first working out season 9, and deciding what it was about — deciding it was going to be about this period in her life, when she is surrounded by people who are getting their lives together, and she is still at this stage when she is completely in, as [the first issues] are titled, “Freefall.” She’s been freed from the responsibilities she’s had in season 8 and all through the TV show, but then has no idea who she is or what she’s doing. [In] that early twentysomething search for identity, where you’re making the decisions that are going to eventually choose your path, [becoming pregnant] seemed to be a really important and not uncommon part of that period in your life.

Did you always know that she would be getting an abortion, or did you ever contemplate the notion that she would keep the baby?

No. I think strongly that teen pregnancy and young people having babies when they are not emotionally, financially, or otherwise equipped to take care of them, is kind of glorified in our media right now. You know, things like Secret Life [of an American Teenager] and Juno and Knocked Up – even if they pretend to deal with abortion, the movies don’t even say the word “abortion.” It’s something that over a third of American women are going to decide to have to do in their lives. But people are so terrified that no one will discuss the reality of it — not no one, but very few popular entertainments, even when they say they’re dealing with this issue, they don’t, and won’t. It’s frustrating to me.

I don’t think Buffy should have a baby. I don’t think Buffy can take care of a baby. I agree with Buffy. It’s a very difficult decision for her, but she made a decision that so many people make and it’s such a hot button issue with Planned Parenthood under constant threat and attack right now. A woman’s right to choose is under attack as much as it’s ever been, and that’s a terrible and dangerous thing for this country. I don’t usually get soap box-y with this, but the thing about Buffy is all she’s going through is what women go through, and what nobody making a speech, holding up a placard, or making a movie is willing to say.

Obviously, you couldn’t have known that Planned Parenthood would be so in the news when this issue of the comic was in the works, but I imagine you must have known this development would spark some strong debate?

Yeah, I suppose. But there’s nothing wrong with debate. I didn’t do it as a sensationalist move. I did it as what seemed like a natural part of Buffy’s life. And obviously there will be complications to the whole storyline that could only happen in the Buffyverse. But it’s not about what happens, it’s about that moment of decision, and just articulating what so many people are not saying, but so many are thinking.

Do you know who the father is?

I know everything about it, but will tell you nothing. Except, like I said, it’s going to end up being a storyline that is rooted in the Buffyverse. I’m not going to turn the comic book into something other than what it is. The whole thing isn’t going to be, well, normal. There’s not going to be a lot of “normal” going on, but hopefully there’s a certain amount of “relatable.” We’re going to pursue what this storyline means, but not in a way people are going to expect.

Yeah, I can’t imagine this plotline is going to play out like an afterschool special or a Lifetime movie.

No.

But I did want to ask about the way she got pregnant — at the party in the first issue of Buffy Season 9, after Buffy became black-out drunk. Her behavior at that party has already bothered some fans, and to learn she got pregnant there, and doesn’t know by whom, will bother some fans even more, especially those who want Buffy to be, well, more responsible.

I think that first of all that they should wait until they have all the facts and they’ll learn stuff that they didn’t know before. They should find out what happened before they completely judge her. But at the same time, this is also about the time in your life when you do things that are irresponsible, or that you want to hold yourself to account for. She’s a person living her life, she’s not running for president — actually, I think those guys have a lot of sex. [Chuckles] She’s not living under a microscope. Well, she is, because we’re all watching her, but she doesn’t know that. And she’s going make some wrong decisions. I’m not going to turn it into a Season 6 wrong-decision-athon, but at the same time irresponsible and impulsive behavior may occur in your 20s. Consult a doctor.
While it may be true that teen pregnancy without proper finance is glorified in the media, I don't agree with him abortion isn't spoken about in entertainment. I did a search and found a page with a list of several movies, some pretty recent too, that reference abortion, including some American-made films. Some of the earliest stuff to feature mentions of abortion include TV series like The Fugitive, such as episode 29 Season 1, broadcast in 1963-64, just several years prior to Roe vs. Wade. More recently, the ER medical drama and Chicago Hope have brought up the subject too. The 4th Alien movie was practically an allegory. In that case, Whedon's either misleading everybody, or he's remarkably ill-informed for someone who's long worked in showbiz. And for someone who argues that teen pregnancy is being glorified, what about abortion? Isn't he taking the risk of glorifying that as well?

Another problem with this interview is that it sounds like they're more interested in Buffy getting an abortion than in whether she was raped under alcoholic influence and if she'll find and punish the creep who did it, to say nothing of why exactly she's even losing her head on alcohol to begin with.

And then there's his ill-advised citation of Planned Parenthood, an organization that, not mentioned in the interview, is under fire not because they've performed abortions, but because they've engaged in illegal activities that include assisting sex trafficking and failure to report child abuse cases, among other deceptive acts. They even discriminated against blacks. Just what's EW's big idea whitewashing such a corrupt outfit anyway? Abortion is one thing. Engaging in illegal practices and misusing tax dollars is another. It's hardly abortion that's offending conservatives in America so much as it is Planned Parenthood's contempt for taxpayers and even minorities.

And why's he saying he didn't do this as a sensationalized step? That's not exactly what he's done - the problem is that he's trying to promote the book based on controversy. And why does he say he "agrees with her"? He's the one who's doing most of the writing and editing, not Buffy.

In the second part of the EW interview, they speak with co-writer Andrew Chambliss:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you know Buffy would be getting pregnant?

ANDREW CHAMBLISS: That was something that Joss had always kind of set out from the beginning of conceiving season 9. It was definitely something we were building towards from day one, the first issue of the season where she’s got the crazy party and blacks out at it. It was always something Joss wanted to do. In the season, where we’re really trying to push Buffy back to dealing with real world issues that are getting in the way of her slaying, and also where she is in her life, it seems like this is what we should make the core of the jumping off point for the season.

How did you come to that decision? The seasons have generally been marking posts for Buffy’s development in her life. Was it a big life moment Buffy was going to have to tackle?

Yeah, that was kind of the idea. Just looking at the intention of the season where magic has disappeared, and it’s kind of Buffy asking herself, “Do I have a life after slaying? I spend so much time saving the world and dealing with these huge supernatural things, what’s my life like if I have to deal with these real things?” Getting pregnant seems like one of the things Buffy can’t run away from, as easily as she can run away from a relationship or something like that.
But if she's getting an abortion, she is running away from it. Why must that be her only option? In a country with more than 300 million people, there'd surely have to be plenty of fine folk who could adopt her child and give him/her better care than she could with the kind of career she's got.
I asked this of Joss too: You couldn’t have known that Planned Parenthood would be so in the news when this issue of the comic was in the works, but I imagine you must have known this development would spark some strong debate?

Yes, for sure. It’s not a topic that anyone takes lightly. There are such a wide spectrum of opinions, and we knew that there would be debate around it. I think the thing, when we were making the story, was to make sure we weren’t doing a story just for the sake of being controversial, or trying to get attention. It really is trying to go someplace that a girl in Buffy’s position would go, and the questions she’d have to ask herself.
Oh for heaven's sake! "Wide spectrum"? He too is only putting on a display of cowardice and not willing to recognize that Planned Parenthood is nothing more than a blatant tax dollar abuser. And the only reason why she'd have to go for an abortion is because they cannot use their imaginations, and can only see bleakness as a future for her. That seems to be pretty much the direction they've been going in for goodness knows how long since they made this into a comic series. And they can say what they will, but they did intend to create controversy, while at the same time sounding like just the abortion is what matters, and not Buffy's personal pride possibly being violated while she was in a drunken stupor at the party.

Stuff like this only makes me develop a lower opinion of Whedon than I've already got.

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Wow, i've just lost respect for Joss Whedon. I used to watch Buffy and Angel all the time back in the day. Although Buffy kind of went downhill they made Willow a lesbian... anyway, Planned Parenthood is an evil organization and I've always been opposed to abortion, since I am a Christian. I don't view it as a human "right;" I think that if a woman doesn't want the baby, why not give it up for adoption?

Carl

There was an article, last year, citing sexual conservatism in Whedon's past works. I forgot who wrote it, at the moment, so I'll post a comment when my memory is properly jogged. Either way, we can drop all that, I suppose. Oh, well, as I never cared for Whedon, anyway.

Although, yeah, and everyone is panicking about PP, at the moment, because, God forbid PP would have to pay for their own abortions. While I am edging toward pro-life, if someone wants an abortion, pay for it, yourself. Don't make the taxpayers do it, as they're soaked as it is. After all, there are enough wealthy liberals to keep PP afloat indefinitely, like Air America, right?

(I know the answer to my question, but I wanted to pose it, anyway.)

And the Whedon prestige goes down, down, down. Just in time for Avengers and that cabin movie that's been on the shelf for years.

Weird how, apparently, he never even considered adoption as an option for Buffy. To normal people, I'd guess that would be the second option they'd think of. Guess that's what happens when you live all your life in a far left echo chamber...

I don't see why these comics creators are so keen on putting characters through darkness and depression rather than have them raise a family or things like that and continue to fight evil. I always knew Whedon was liberal, but I never thought he'd take it to this extreme.

Carl

She was black-out drunk, got pregnant, and now is getting an abortion. And Whedon is worried about Planned Parenthood being "under attack?"

Maybe Whedon should be the one "under attack" for promoting ridiculously irresponsible behavior. But hey, who are WE to judge, eh? Can't have any standards, after all. Just let people live as they wish ... be damned all responsibilities, morals and duties ...

*Sheesh*

Yeah, Hube, it's like a friend of mine said, no one has any real values anymore.

Carl

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