jenelle evans

Teen Mom 2 premiered its fifth season last night with an intriguing storyline about Jenelle Evans having an abortion. While reports of Evans’ life choices tend towards the train wreck porn we’ve come to expect, I’m just happy to see MTV portraying abortion at all.

Evans clearly has had a rough go of it–in between a drug addiction, multiple criminal charges, a miscarriage, and having a nation of busybodies judge her, it’s been a busy time since she became one of MTV’s moms. I’m not trying to make excuses because obviously strong decision making is not Evans’ strong suit, but the facts are that even though we watch her on TV, we are not her and the sensational reporting on her series of incidents is mean girl gawking.

Evans talked about her medical abortion, which seemed like an excellent step forward. She became pregnant during a period of not using protection or taking care of herself, and demonstrated some excellent decision making by deciding that it would be irresponsible to have another child. However, as Jezebel gleefully points out, Evans is pregnant again. Yes, Evans life is tabloid-worthy and easy fodder for judgement, but I think what’s really important here is MTV’s portrayal of abortion.

This isn’t the first time MTV has filmed one of their teen moms having an abortion– three years ago, they aired a special called “No Easy Decision,” about teen mom Markai and her partner James, who already had a small child and became pregnant again. It was an in-depth look about the decision making process that goes into getting an abortion, and was surprisingly measured and non-judgmental.

Showing more than one Teen Mom choosing to end their subsequent pregnancies is hugely important for a show that has been accused of glamorizing and encouraging teen pregnancy (even though we know otherwise). Given the total lack of comprehensive sex ed and access to birth control, teens are having sex without understanding the consequences and getting pregnant. Young teens need to know that they have options (and the show excellently features a couple that gave up their daughter for adoption) when it comes to pregnancy, and abortion is a good option to have.

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