Were Abortions Legal in Dirty Dancing

But between 1967 and 1973 — just a few years after Dirty Dancing — 17 states lifted abortion bans or reformed their laws to allow some access to abortion. The number of deaths due to interventions has begun to decline. According to Roe v. Wade, the abortion legalized nationwide in 1973, that number dropped even lower and hovered around zero in the following years. We can add to the list of films that talk about the cost of this year`s event, a French film set, just like Dirty Dancing in 1963, in which a literature student named Anne must raise money for an illegal abortion. “I quit abortion in [Dirty Dancing] despite a lot of resistance from everyone, and when it came time to shoot it, I made it very clear that we were going to use what I thought was very purple language: references to dirty knives, a folding table, a penny screaming in the hallway. I had a doctor on set to make sure [the description of illegal abortion] was correct. Bergstein`s foresight knowing that this does not always make Roe v. Wade is all the more necessary to recognize that Dirty Dancing is a film about abortion and demonstrates the importance of safe and legal abortion – for whatever reason. The film is set in 1963, a decade before Roe v. Wade, and as Baby`s father, Dr. Houseman, says, the person who operated on Penny was “a butcher.” It`s a poignant account of what happens not only when abortion is illegal, but also when men don`t take responsibility for their late pregnancy.

And unfortunately, it couldn`t be more contemporary. In real life, abortion was legalized in New York in 1970, three years before Roe v. Wade and seven years after the film. Author Eleanor Bergstein spoke at the Greenwich International Film Festival in March about her decision to include the plot in the film: “I had little hope that anyone would see the film and even less hope that it would influence anyone – but just in case I inserted the things that were important to me. Just in case. Watching “Dirty Dancing” in 2022 reminds us how far reproductive rights have come – and the risks everyone faces when they are taken back. Currently, abortion is still legal, but the dismantling of Roe v. Wade threatens everyone`s reproductive rights.

While “Dirty Dancing” found a happy ending for Penny in 1963, the future of abortion rights became increasingly uncertain for many Americans today. “When I made the film in 1987, around 1963, I started illegal abortion and everyone said, `Why? There was Roe v. Wade – why do you do it? I said, “Well, I don`t know if we`re going to have Roe v all the time. Wade, and I had a lot of resistance,” Bergstein told Vice on the film`s 30th anniversary in 2017. First of all, Swayze`s Johnny appears to be a bit predatory. Baby is supposed to be 17 in the movie, and Johnny is supposed to be three years older. (For what it`s worth, Grey was 26 and Swayze was 34 when they were chosen.) He is also in a position of power as a dance teacher, and she is his student. “The reason I put that language there was because I felt that — even though it was an abortion by hanger — a whole generation of young people, and women in particular.” would not understand what [illegal abortion] was,” she added. “So I built a very, very graphic language and worked really hard to rotate it to make sure it was shown realistically.” One of the main misconceptions in the arguments of anti-abortion activists is that the illegality of the procedure will eradicate it (it`s much more complicated than that).

As history shows, pregnant women will continue to seek abortions, and if they cannot do so safely, they will risk their own lives. Have you ever seen the spring awakening? Or a little movie called Dirty Dancing? When the Supreme Court decided to overturn a nearly 50-year precedent by eliminating Roe v. Wade and thus access to a safe and legal abortion for many, Jennifer renewed Grey`s desire to talk about how her own abortion has changed her life. In the book, titled Out of the Corner, Grey also talks about her own abortion and her path to motherhood. “When I try to imagine my own daughter playing at home at 16, basically living with an adult man, punching tons of punches, hitting Quaaludes and walking into the studio [54] – not to mention lying to me, being deceived, and then being given various sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies, I feel physically ill. ” she wrote. “No teenager should swim in such dark waters. And while she was still wary of birth control and felt empowered by her sexual freedom at that age, she told the Times that her abortion still had serious consequences on her psyche. “This is such a serious decision. And it stays with you,” she said, while also acknowledging that she undoubtedly made the right decision. “I wouldn`t have my life. I wouldn`t have had the career I had, I wouldn`t have had anything,” she added.

And it wasn`t for lack of serious attitude. I always wanted a child. As a teenager, I just didn`t want a child. I didn`t want a child where I was in my life. And thanks to this procedure, she was able to have her first daughter Stella at the age of 41 with her ex-husband Clark Gregg on her own terms. For Bergstein, these grim details helped remind women watching in the `80s how lucky they were to have a legal abortion option — and how quickly that right might one day be revoked. “When I made the film in 1987, around 1963, I started illegal abortion and everyone said, `Why? There was Roe v. Wade – why are you doing this? ” she said.

“I said, `Well, I don`t know if we`ll always have Roe versus Wade. She did it knowing that people like me would be watching. “The reason I inserted that language there was because I felt that – even though it was a hanger abortion – a whole generation of young people, especially women. would not understand what [illegal abortion] was. In my case, every time I watched Dirty Dancing until recently, I breathed a sigh of relief that if I ever needed an abortion, I wouldn`t meet Penny`s fate. Abortion was legal; If necessary, I could see a doctor and safely terminate a pregnancy. I wouldn`t have to worry about dying in an alley or losing my ability to have children if I survived. Unfortunately, that`s no longer the feeling I get when I watch baby ask his dad (a doctor) to help Penny, who doubled in pain following a botched procedure. Today, that scene looks more like a warning of what lies ahead than a reminder of what we left behind. The opening voice of Dirty Dancing stages the stage as a simpler and more peaceful time – a last breath of innocence for Frances “Baby” Houseman and the country. “It was the summer of 1963 when everyone was calling me `baby` and it didn`t cross my mind,” we hear Baby (Jennifer Grey) say about a scene of the housewives` family on the street, leading up to the New York Catskills for the summer.

“That was before President Kennedy was shot, before the Beatles came along, when I was looking forward to joining the Peace Corps, and I thought I`d never find a guy as great as my dad.” And most importantly, the film, which debuted in 1987, also took place 10 years before Roe V. Wade legalized abortion nationwide. All of this means that watching Dirty Dancing in 2022 is enough to make your head spin — if not almost explode with rage. We live in a time when abortion rights are being abolished by the federal government, and we are looking at a time when abortion was banned by the federal government, through the lens of a film that was written when abortion bans were banned by the federal government itself. It`s a pretty sad circle. That`s not to say abortion wasn`t a hot topic at the premiere of Dirty Dancing. Although Roe v. Wade was (apparently) established at the time, Republican politicians ran (and won) on anti-abortion platforms — and the inclusion of an illegal act of abortion in a feature film was certainly controversial. Bergstein even told Vice in 2017 that the film`s domestic sponsor had urged the studio to remove abortion from the film, but Bergstein had etched it into the plot so much that it just wasn`t possible.

The screenwriter not only ensured that Penny`s abortion remained a crucial plot point, but also deliberately painted a picture of the dangers associated with illegal abortions. “I made it very clear that we were going in very purple language for me: references to dirty knives, a folding table, a penny screaming in the hallway,” she told Vice. I had a doctor on set to make sure [the description of illegal abortion] was correct. Baby`s wealthy Jewish family visits a sophisticated resort in the Catskills. After seeing Johnny dancing dirty with Penny (Cynthia Rhodes), one of the other teachers, at a staff party after work, she tries to befriend the close-knit team. Baby wants to avoid family activities like water aerobics, charades, and volleyball in favor of the entertainment team, who have a looser, freer attitude to life than the conservative morality of their stricts.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.