The Secret Life of Us: articles

TV abortion upset

OUTRAGED anti-abortion activists have called for TV viewers to protest against Network Ten's hit series The Secret Life of Us.

The controversial episode on Monday night, which attracted 1.3 million viewers, featured Claudia Karvan's character Alex making the heart-wrenching decision to have an abortion after splitting with her boyfriend.

The episode was the most-watched program during its timeslot for viewers aged between 16 and 39.

But Right to Life president Margaret Tighe said people offended by the series' star character having an abortion should contact the station.

Australian Family Association national vice-president Bill Muehlenberg said he would also encourage his members to express their concerns.

Mr Muehlenberg said shows such as The Secret Life of Us had a powerful impact on young people and should send out the right message.

"We believe the episode was unfortunate," he said. "Shows like this have an impact on young people. Destroying a life is never the answer to a problem."

Mr Muehlenberg said the show had also depicted a practice that was technically illegal -- in Victoria doctors must certify that having a baby would threaten a woman's physical or mental health or face criminal penalties.

"You could also make the case that the show was violating Victoria's laws but it is happening all over the place," he said.

But Sexual Health and Family Planning Australia national director Roberto Rojas-Morales praised the popular program for portraying the issue realistically.

"I think it's very important to have a popular program that approaches the subject with an educational slant," Mr Rojas-Morales said.

"The writers obviously had access to a good advisory team. I think they tackled and demystified abortion."

Mr Rojas-Morales said the episode reflected a realistic situation as the majority of women who had abortions were aged between 24 and 35.

He said it was time for people to adopt a more mature attitude by looking at the issue rationally.

"It's not going to solve the situation if you have people enforcing their cultural or religious views," he said.

A Network Ten spokeswoman said the station had only received congratulatory calls regarding the episode.

By Nadia Miraudo
Herald Sun
May 09, 2002