In the 2007 film “Juno,” it isn’t long after Ellen Page’s character discovers the one doodle that can’t be undid ― her surprise pregnancy ― that she decides to put her baby up for adoption.
But the idea that “Juno” might be perceived as an anti-choice film has been “haunting” screenwriter Diablo Cody “for years,” Vanity Fair reported. Cody appeared at a Planned Parenthood benefit Sunday alongside cast members Page and Jennifer Garner, who participated in a live, all-female “Juno” script reading.
Abortion may have been a logical step for the teenage high school student, as it is for many facing unplanned pregnancies. Yet, although Juno walks into an abortion clinic, having talked over the option with her boyfriend Paulie (Michael Cera), she appears to be swayed by an anti-abortion classmate protesting outside, after learning her fetus might have already developed fingernails. Juno leaves the clinic.
Historically, abortion has been a rare plot point in Hollywood films. When it does appear in a storyline, the decision might provide a moment of melodrama as the pregnant character wrestles with “wrong” and “right,” which is implied to be carrying the baby to term no matter the circumstances of the mother.
But Cody, who banged out the “Juno” script from a Minnesota Target Starbucks in about one month, stressed that the character’s decision wasn’t the result of any “moral conundrum.”
Rather, the writer, with all her own “personal peccadillos,” put herself in Juno’s shoes and pictured how she might react, explaining, “I’m afraid to give blood, so I could see myself freaking out in the waiting room of an abortion clinic,” Vanity Fair reported.
“In a way, I feel like I had a responsibility to maybe be more explicitly pro-choice, and I wasn’t,” Cody told the outlet, adding that although she “never attempted to hide” her views on abortion, “I think I took the right to choose for granted at the time.”
Planned Parenthood provides information about and referrals to adoption agencies in addition to its abortion services. Since President Donald Trump’s election, the women’s health organization been under threat of defunding by his administration, inspiring a surge in donations. While Vice President Mike Pence stated that he would like to send a woman’s right to abortion “to the ash heap of history, where it belongs,” Trump also voiced anti-choice views on the campaign trail. His Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, a 49-year-old conservative judge who was confirmed Friday, may help decide the future of abortion rights in the U.S.
For Cody, who went on to write the female-fronted film “Young Adult” and series “United States of Tara,” the Planned Parenthood benefit helped assuage her fears.
“It was very healing for me tonight to have a representative from Planned Parenthood stand up there and say that she supported the narrative,” she said.