No Easy Decision, MTV’s special spun off from 16 and Pregnant, followed Markai Durham as she came to the agonizing conclusion to have an abortion. With a frankness rarely seen anywhere on television, No Easy Decision presented a vivid, unsparing look at something that’s not just an “issue” but a harrowing decision.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Markai said early on. Host Dr. Drew Pinsky said she and her boyfriend James considered three options: “Parenting, adoption, or abortion.” Markai phoned a women’s clinic counselor and received information about the differences between a medical and a surgical abortion. Markai’s voice broke as she asked her questions; she was in tears before the call was over.
“I never thought [abortion] would be an option for me,” she said.
Both Markai and James talked about struggles with providing a family with money and support. Economic factors played a big part in her decision. “We can’t take care of another baby. Abortion is the best choice for us.” The procedure was performed when Markai was six weeks pregnant.
She said that at the clinic it was suggested that she “think of it as a little ball of cells.” But afterward, she became angry — at James, and at herself — and racked with remorse. “Nothing but a bunch of cells can turn out to be her,” she said to James, pointing to their child Za’karia. No Easy Decision, in the space of a half hour, did a striking job of showing viewers a full range of thoughts and emotions, without a trace of MTV flash or, at the other extreme, timid solemnity.
Dr. Drew led a discussion with Markai and James afterward, as well as a later talk with two other young women who’d had abortions. Markai described the procedure, and said she still has “mixed emotions” about her decision, much of it “pressure” applied on women “by society.”
“No one is pro-abortion … but you have to do what’s right,” she concluded.
“I wouldn’t choose abortion as a first option for anyone, but it was the best decision for me,” she said. “I know I’ll make it through.”
The half hour told you its approach in its title: It is never an easy decision for a woman to have an abortion. No Easy Decision was an admirable production for the way it presented such a sensitive subject with as much thoroughness as it did.