About the Comic:|
With Fetus is an online comic updating daily monday through friday that follows the lives of the employees of an abortion clinic.
Originally conceived as an idea for a tv series, I wrote the pilot and outlined future episodes with my friend, Emily, but as unestablished writers we found it difficult to find producers interested in the material. Furthermore current trends in film and television production seem to indicate that discussion of abortion issues is a taboo area unlike drug trafficking (Breaking Bad), male prostitution (Hung), or ritualistic murder (Dexter)*.
Still wanting to work with this idea, I then decided to try producing the concept as an online comic, with slight changes to the story to better fit this slightly different and thankfully more creator-controlled and cheaper format.
Obviously this comic has sympathetic attitudes regarding pro-choice advocacy, but rather than ignore of villify the pro-life movement, the goal of this comic is to portray the varying opinions and complex elements surrounding the discussion of abortion legislation and encourage further discussion in a respectful and knowledgeable manner. Those in support of a woman's right to choose are not always right, and those that believe life begins at the moment of conception are not always wrong. Despite one of the possible procedures the Dr. Vanessa A. Gregory Planning Center and Women's Clinic provides, patients will not always choose to have an abortion, but this does not mean terminations of pregnancy won't take place fairly regularly.
The emphasis of this comic isn't simply tied to one particularly controversial medical procedure. The idea of legal abortion actually impacts many other social, political, and cultural issues, ranging from health care, economics, religious beliefs, foreign relations, and many others; all of which have the potential to be explored with this comic.
Additionally, most abortion clinics provide beneficial services beyond pregnancy termination, such as preventitive birth control and sexual education. My personal belief is that the amount of sexual education most people in the U.S. receive is frequently inadequate, irresponsible, and in terms of pushing teenagers towards abstinence, unrealistic.
Many subplots will explore the idea of sexual education and experimentation as I feel that many people, unable to find comprehesive information about sexual interaction from educational sources, turn to other sources varying from unsafe experimentation to peer and media influence.
Turn on almost any prime time television show. Contrary to campaigns advocating abstinence, most entertainment portrays sex as fun, desirable, and most importantly largely consequence free. I'm not going to debate the first two points, because if you don't think they're accurate you may want to see a therapist or a hormone and nerve specialist, but the misinformation surrounding the potential consequences of sexual interaction creates several unhealthy sexually related situations, many of which i intend to explore over the course of the comic in an effort to encourage further discussion.
The definition of normal sexual behavior is rapidly shifting, but large institutions like education boards and governments are often slow to change, creating gaps between what one may want or even need to learn. prior to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, oral sex was largely considered atypical sexual behavior, but, and i don't think this a coincidence, by a slim margin studies now show more heterosexual teenagers and adults under 30 report having experimented with oral sex than vaginal sex. (http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2008/05/oral_is_normal.html)
I'm not an expert on medical procedures or sexual behavior. I'm not an educator. For reasons of storytelling or lack of research, many elements of this comic may be inaccurate (just look at the title, generally the contents of the uterus aren't called a fetus until 8-10 weeks since conception have passed, I just like the title). Time, in particular, will pass much more slowly than it would in real life, so don't be surprised if pregnancies last longer than nine months. But regardless of these inaccuracies, I will strive to point people towards more factual resources when I can. As I've said, I feel healthy discussion of many of the topics I may bring up is not happening and my goal with this comic is thus to use my characters to show varying opinions, not necessarily defining things as right or wrong (for example, though I support the legalization of abortion, I personally don't think I would ever make use of such a service, even if an unplanned pregnancy occurred). my goal is to stimulate a discussion of these issue that I feel should be taking place more actively. - D.
*Not to say anything bad about these shows, well other than the sixth season of Dexter which SUCKED. I haven't actually watched Breaking Bad or Hung.
About the Creators of With Fetus:
D. Murphy was born in 1983 to a practicing catholic family in suburban Massachusetts. Not quite agreeing with the churches views on the role of women and acknowldegement of homosexuality, he's gradually distanced himself from the church as he grew older, and eventually moved to California to pursue a degree in screenwriting at the University of Southern California, where he met Emily Ansara Baines. Working together, he and Emily came up with many of the concepts for With Fetus and decided to publish it as an online comic. He currently resides in Massachusetts.
Emily Ansara Baines is the author of The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook and the forthcoming Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook. Her short stories have appeared in Narrative literary magazine and AngeLingo. She graduated with honors from USC, where she studied creative writing under Aimee Bender and T.C. Boyle. One day Emily will live in Paris and speak French while wearing a beret, but these days she makes do with Los Angeles. Her favorite word is murmur.