The MTV special ‘No Easy Decision’ took pains to illustrate its title, with a heartfelt depiction of the range of emotions and factors behind the choice to get an abortion.
Tuesday’s late-night, commercial-free special followed Markai, who was featured on the series “16 and Pregnant,” as she and her boyfriend James confronted a second unplanned pregnancy.
“Nobody wants to have an abortion. I didn’t want to have an abortion. I want to be able to raise my children,” Markai said.
Dr. Drew Pinksy also sat down with the couple and two other women who had undergone the procedure. “There is no way to talk about this and please everyone,” he said, acknowledging the controversy the special attracted before even airing.
Pinksy noted that 750,000 teenage girls get pregnant every year, and nearly a third of those pregnancies end in abortion, and that overall one in three women in the U.S. will have an abortion in their lifetime, as he introduced the hot button issue.
Cameras followed Markai and James at home with their one-year-old Za’Karia as they debated what to do about the pregnancy, which Markai said happened after she missed an appointment for a Depo-Provera shot and they couple didn’t use back-up birth control.
As she braided his hair, she said she never thought she’d be faced with deciding whether or not to get an abortion. James urged her not to rush into anything, but said he didn’t want to have a child they couldn’t support.
In a visit to her friend Chambray’s house to break the news, Markai offered a blunt but poignant explanation for why she wouldn’t consider adoption. “That’s not an option for me. If I feel that baby kick inside of me, I’ll grip on their love. I’m in love with this baby already and this baby’s not doing nothing but making me sick,” she said.
She called a clinic for information and fought back tears as she asked the woman on the phone how she might expect to feel after. “A lot of women after an abortion feel a mixture of many different emotions, you might be relieved, you might be sad,” she was told.
As Markai seemed to make her decision she cried. “I know I need to because we ain’t go no other way,” she said.
Repeatedly, Markai and James expressed concern about not being able to provide as well for their baby if they added another.
Their trip to the clinic in the car was shown, then the special picked up two hours later, after the procedure when James took a groggy Markai home.
Markai recounted what a counselor at the clinic had told her: “She said, ‘Don’t think of it as 10 fingers and 10 toes with a forehead and all that stuff, because if you think of it like that you’re going to make yourself depressed. Think of it as what it is: a little ball of cells.”
James tried to agree, but it backfired. “I never called that thing a baby,” he said.
That prompted Markai to tell him: “It’s kind of hard not to get attached to something that’s in your body. You will never feel my pain.”
Later, talking to Dr. Drew, Markai said she now feels more “sad than regret” about her decision. Dr. Drew checked: they’re now using condoms.
He encouraged women who have had abortions who might need to share to visit www.4exhale.org.
For information on birth control, he referenced www.itsyoursexlife.com.
Whatever inevitable criticism is leveled at MTV and Markai for her decision and the special, they didn’t leave much room to say the choice was made lightly. “I wouldn’t choose abortion as a first option for anybody,” she said. “It’s the toughest decision ever to make in your life, but this was the best choice for me.”
What did you think of the special? Did it explore all sides of the issue like the network promised?