5 Memorable Abortion Scenes in Movies

Abortion is a topic that can be tricky to deal with in movies, but when people do, they must tread carefully. For today’s list, I’m listing five memorable movies featuring abortion scenes that know how to make their point, and should be commended for confronting it so truthfully.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)

This is the obvious one, so I thought I’d get it out of the way quickly. It is probably the best film that deals with abortion, and the abortion ‘scene’ is not really explicitly shown, but it is the way director Cristian Mungiu deals with the subject that makes it what it is. He refuses to take sides: sure, the characters believe an abortion is the right thing to do, but pro-life activists could argue that the film’s ambiguous ending, as well as what the characters are forced to do in order to obtain the abortion, leave Gabita and Otilia regretting it.

Enter the Void (2010)

People who’ve seen this film will remember the abortion scene; it’s almost impossible to forget. It’s possibly the most graphic on this list, and Gaspar Noe puts a wince on our face as we see it occur. A fairly brief, but incredibly descriptive and unforgettable scene.

The Kingdom (1994)

This is one you probably don’t remember. In the 4th part of Lars von Trier’s 1994 hit miniseries The Kingdom, a doctor administers an abortion on a woman whose fetus is growing at an accelerating rate. In the final scene of the episode (and the series) we see her stomach bulge and enlarge as a screaming figure pushes his way out of her vagina. Incredibly graphic, somewhat comic but definitely nightmarish.

Dirty Dancing (1987)

This was a film you weren’t expecting to see abortion in. Granted, it’s not that graphic, but nevertheless it is an abortion scene, and it’s a fair enough inclusion on this list. I don’t recommend seeing this movie, mainly because I think its godawful, but an abortion scene is an abortion scene, so here it is.

Lake of Fire (2006)

This was the film that inspired me to make this list. A friend gave me a copy of it and told me I ‘needed to see it.’ It is a 2006 documentary directed by Tony Kaye (American History X) which deals with the history of abortion in America and the world. Kaye refuses to take sides, remaining darkly ambiguous. There are some scenes in here that will shock viewers, including abortion footage, but some of the interviews with people are equally as disturbing. If there is a documentary I recommend to you, it’s definitely this. Absolutely one of the best and most provocative documentaries I have ever seen.

Those are my selections. Any I’ve forgotten that you’d like to add? Leave a comment below.

Posted on September 14, 2011, in Lists, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. You come up with the strangest lists Tyler

    And this is technically a tv show example, but in the second season of Skins(he original british version) one of the characters gets a abortion. its not actually shown, but for a teen show it covers the topic pretty well i think

    • To be fair I got the idea for this list from a documentary (LAKE OF FIRE).

      A TV show does count, considering two of my choices were a miniseries and a documentary.

  2. Is it bad that I laughed when I saw the headline? Not that abortion is any sort of laughing matter; it’s the wonderfully demented nature of the headline.

    Having said that, it’s one of the toughest things to see in a movie. It’s one of those magical things that make you cringe, like fecal consumption and rape.

  3. Wow. What a choice for a list. I have seen the first two (and 4 Months.. is an amazing film) but The Kingdom one sounds fucked up, dude.

  4. It’s a wonderful series, the best I’ve seen by Trier so far. Funny, wicked, creepy. And accessable! Not too strange to pull you in. I don’t know what to compare it to because it’s in a genre of its own. It was such a pity that the leading actor Ernst-Hugo Järegård died after the second season. Otherwise there could definitely have bee more.

  5. I know it’s a dream sequence, but the first thing I thought about was the opening of John Singleton’s Baby Boy with an adult Tyrese being aborted. It’s a pretty crazy image but somehow works for the movie.

  6. Like your list, I will include the abortion sequence (although not consumated) in BLUE VALENTINE (2010).

  7. Ahaha now, I doubt there was a list ever made on this subject so good on you for (potentially) being the first one. The only one I’ve seen is 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. There is also the aborted abortion in Blue Valentine as well as in Juno.

    • I suppose DIRTY DANCING could be replaced fairly by either BLUE VALENTINE or JUNO but it’s too late now. I did not think of those, though, which is annoying because I should’ve.

  8. What a strange list. Abortion is an interesting topic for filmmakers given all the moral and ethical complications that arise. I’ll have to check out some of these films.

    • I do recommend you check them out (except for DIRTY DANCING). FOUR MONTHS, THREE WEEKS AND TWO DAYS is a masterpiece I totally recommend, and LAKE OF FIRE is a riveting documentary.

  9. Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character’s abortion in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982–her first movie role). The film’s roster of young actors at the very beginning of their careers is simply amazing (including future Oscar winners Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage, and Forrest Whitaker), and it certainly still holds up as one of the best high-school films ever made.

  10. justanormalguy

    the best movie on this subject is a made for tv HBO movie “If this walls coul talk”.
    3 diff abortion plots 20 years appart each .
    The one of Demi Moore is impactating, the woman dies of the hemorage after a butcher does his job right on her dining room table. Makes you wonder all the pros and cons of this problem.

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