Abortion Onscreen
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Abortion portrayal

Call the Midwife (television)

Call the Midwife
Notes:

Jeanie, a friend of Nurse Trixie, was using the dutch cap for contraception and finds out she's unexpectedly pregnant. She and her husband talk about wanting only two children, and when she suggests that she pursue an illegal abortion, her husband gets upset. She asks Dr. Turner to help her terminate the pregnancy, and he says he doesn't have a medical reason to refer her for an abortion, so he can't. She confesses to the midwives that she keeps hoping she'll miscarry, and how she doesn't want to end up like her mother with seven kids over 11 years.

Jeanie takes the money she and her husband were saving for a new apartment and goes to see an illegal abortion provider. Later, she's in bed shaking and feverish. Her husband insists on calling Dr. Turner even though Jeanie says they could get in trouble. By the time the doctor arrives, Jeanie is unconscious. He tries to jump start her heart. The husband is incredulous that Jeanie came to Dr. Turner for help and he sent her away. They call an ambulance,  but Jeanie is dead by the time they get to the hospital. Dr. Turner laments that he failed her and that the media coverage of her death didn't mention the children she left behind.

Keywords: Illegal abortion.

Episodes: Episode 4
Release date: April 21, 2019
Time setting: Past (1964)
Geographical setting: Non-US (England)
Abortion legality: Illegal
Health outcomes: Death
Character age: 20-29
Genre: Drama, Historical, Medical
Network: PBS

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ANSIRH is a program within the UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health and is a part of UCSF's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences.

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