Archive for October, 2015

Missing from the family portrait: “The Leftovers” and abortion

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

HealingtheShockwavesLogo       On an otherwise normal day in October, 2 percent of the world’s population disappears in an instant. That’s the premise of the HBO show “The Leftovers,” which began its second season this week. Throughout the show’s depressing first season, I couldn’t help but comparing the “departure,” as the event is known, to abortion. Abortion has caused the departure of more than 17 percent of Americans, so that’s not the similarity. The show doesn’t spend much time trying to figure out where these lost 2 percenters have gone. Instead, the focus is on how those left behind are carrying on without them. That’s where I see abortion’s ghost. One first season episode slaps viewers right in the face with its abortion plot device. Laurie, a well-to-do psychiatrist with a healthy family – dad is the police chief, a teenage son and daughter seem well-adjusted – has become so damaged by the departure that she joins a strange cult known as the Guilty Remnant, whose mission is to remind everyone of what they have lost. Three-quarters of way through the season, by the time we are sure her family remained intact, we discover that on that fateful day, Laurie was at her ob-gyn’s office making a decision about whether or not to abort her late-in-life unplanned pregnancy. And then the departure happened, and the baby on the ultrasound screen is gone. Laurie suffered from post-abortion guilt without even having an abortion. But her guilt stems, in my opinion, from being willing to lose this child, while all around her are heartbroken parents who would do anything to have their departed children returned. One main character, Nora, lost her whole family – husband and two kids – and is only brought back from the brink when she finds a baby in the season one finale. But Sunday night’s season opener, which brought us all the way back to Cro Magnon man to demonstrate the fierce bond between mother and child, also brought a new title sequence, one that all but bowled me over. It illustrates exactly what we’ve been saying since January through the Silent No More Awareness Campaign’s Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion initiative: Abortion impacts a wide circle of victims. The sequence shows a montage of family portraits, but in each one, the “departed” is seen as a ghostly spectre. Life goes on, but that missing family member is always missed, and mourned. The same is true of abortion. The child who is lost is never forgotten by those who know about the abortion. But even those who don’t know about the abortion sense the loss of that child. We know that because so many people who have learned they had siblings, grandchildren or other close relatives killed by abortion have told us that they always felt a loss they couldn’t quite define.   Abortion has caused much more of an upheaval in our society than the departure. But you will never see a show on HBO about it. Learn more about this wider circle of victims at www.abortionshockwaves.com.

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