Breaking Dawn and Abortion

I recently saw the first half of the Breaking Dawn movies.  If you do not know the story, the important part for this post is that Bella, the female lead, gets pregnant with a half vampire fetus that grows extremely quickly and causes her to waste away and will/does threaten her life during birth.  Her new husbands family, except for Rosalie, argue for an abortion, but Bella disagrees.

It is likely, if not certain, that this is meant to be more of a pro-life argument.  This is especially likely considering Meyer’s Mormon background and the story’s strong message of abstinence until marriage.

The opposite is possible to argue, though. As I have learned from John Green, the most important part of the story is not what the author puts into it, but what the reader takes from it.  We do not know if all the sword fights in Romeo and Juliet are meant to be homoerotic, but there are some that argue it is.  What individuals see in a work may say more about them than the author, it says the most about the work.

This could be seen as a very pro-choice story.  Bella is well aware of the threat her fetus poses to her.  It is explained in great detail by the most qualified doctor available.  Unless they manage to turn her into a vampire at the right moment the birth will kill her, if the pregnancy itself does not first.  However, she is determined to bring the baby to term and the family does respect it.  They do not like it and make that clear, which is fair enough, but they do their best to help her.

Of course, Edward’s mind was changed when he made telepathic contact with the fetus.  Once he made the connection between fetus and baby he was all for it.  However, in the end, his opinion was never going to be the one to make the decision.  It was always down to Bella and what she was willing to put her body through. Part of being pro-choice is allowing women to keep their babies even when it is a risk to their health.  Allowing women the control over their bodies includes choosing which treatments to undergo after being fully informed.  Sometimes these choices may be to their physical detriment.


About Tori

I am a graduate student working on my masters in Women and Gender studies. My masters thesis is on the gender nonconformity and ambiguity in modern film.
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2 Responses to Breaking Dawn and Abortion

  1. sardonicious says:

    An excellent point no one has made (that I’ve heard). Seems like most people claiming the book/movies is/are pro-life are forgetting that pro-choice doesn’t mean “always abort”.

    • Tori says:

      Things get defined by oppositions, that it can be hard to consider that the same outcome/situation can fit the desires of two polar opposites.

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