Degrassi look at teen abortion gives pause in U.S.
A U.S. cable channel has decided to delay a two-part episode of the Canadian-made series Degrassi: The Next Generation because of its plot about teen pregnancy and abortion.
As a result, the MTV-owned N Channel has been the recipient of a 6,000-signature petition and caught the attention of the New York Times.
The petition called the channel “unjust and asinine” and argued that fans deserve to view all episodes of Degrassi unedited.
“This episode does not contain any forceful opinions regarding this subject,” the petition says. By holding up the episodes “you are dismissing a substantial part of this season’s plot.”
In the two-part episode, the character Manny learns she is pregnant. Without guilt, she ultimately opts for an abortion in a story arc that first aired in Canada in January.
Degrassi creator/producer Linda Schuyler said yesterday it’s not the first time N has delayed storylines while considering how to handle them. In season 1, a character used ecstasy and N officials made some cuts. Another three-episode arc on date rape gave N pause for concern.This week, the Times favourably compared Degrassi’s “fearless” stance on the issue compared to its treatment on U.S. teen shows such as Dawson’s Creek, The O.C. and Beverly Hills 90210 where the characters inevitably decided to keep their babies.
The N channel, geared to teens, has been promoting the Canadian series as their flagship show with a contest for a guest shot on the program, preview screenings and a 12-city cross-America tour of shopping malls by cast members.