Usually when I talk about abortion in pop culture, I mean film and television. But a few years ago I looked at a handful of novels that included either primary or secondary plots about abortion, and in the past week I read two novels that fit into this category as well.
Susan Rebecca White’s A Soft Place to Land and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Best of Us both included characters that had chosen abortion. This was more of a subplot in Pekkanen’s book, as seemed to mainly affect a relatively minor character. This woman had had an abortion while in college and never told her husband; at the time the story takes place, she is grappling with his desire to have a family and her somewhat vague reluctance to do so.
A Soft Place to Land, on the other hand, put its abortion plotline front and center in the second half of the book. After one of the main characters becomes pregnant as a teenager, she chooses to terminate. Years later, she begins dating a man that is very anti-choice–much to the disappointment of his equally pro-choice mother. White’s characters have several interesting and realistic conversations about choice and religion, as well as autonomy. Her treatment of the subject was definitely more nuanced and thoughtful than Pekkanen’s, who seemed to include the abortion detail as a way to place yet another obstacle on a couple that didn’t really need it.