Sadly, there are those who find it unacceptable that a movie contains a pro-choice message if it leads to life. Enter feminist newspaper columnist Ellen Goodman, who has denounced the film. She complains that her "inner fuddy-duddy" yearned to proclaim, "By some screenwriter consensus, abortion has become the right-to-choose that's never chosen." She watched "Juno" behind some young girls and worried about what was being "absorbed through their PG-13 pores." She doesn't approve of the prospect that they were lapping up "the rosy scenario of the motherhood fantasy movies." That's an odd way of characterizing "Juno," wherein she chooses adoption over motherhood.
Goodman deplores the current state of our culture, where the abortion debate is now grayer, even at the movies. She asks: "Is it still OK to ask whether this cultural 'compromise' ends up compromising the future of those kids in my theater?" Abortion, to her, is still the great principled refusal to compromise, the fulfillment of sexual liberation.
Goodman is upset with films depicting women who choose life "wrapped in nice, neat bows." But Juno suffers for her child and suffers in giving him up. What is the alternative? A movie with abortion as the choice, "wrapped in nice, neat bows"?
Real-life teenagers who opt to carry their babies and give them to childless couples are willing to endure condemnation and become what Juno quips is the "cautionary whale." They're the ones who show more maturity than the girls who have abortions because it will ruin prom or their place in the high school pecking order. They're the ones who show more selflessness than girls who have abortions because they don't want to worry and "not know" where their babies ended up.
Abortion will forever be an emotional, divisive issue in our society, with great passion on both sides of the debate. But for once, there is a movie whose message has brought cheers from both the pro-life and pro-choice camps. This is a good thing. Hollywood is applauding "Juno." The public should applaud Hollywood for "Juno," too.