"I just always had this vision of me being ...well, Donna Reed, you know. (Laughter) Donna Reed, only I never had the pearls." This comment is one of the many recorded in this book, a study of how women's views of television and the media relate to their personal stance on abortion. Over four years, Andrea Press and Elizabeth Cole watched television with women, visiting city houses, suburban subdivisions, modern condominiums, and public housing projects. They found that television depicts abortion as a problem for the poor and the working classes, and that viewers invariably referred to class when discussing abortion. Pro-life women from various classes were unified in their rejection of materialist values. Like the woman who identified with Donna Reed minus the pearls, this group strongly believed that a reduced family income was worth the sacrifice in order to stay home with children. Pro-life women also shared a general suspicion of the media as a source of information, turning to science instead to validate their biblically derived worldview. Pro-choice women's beliefs, however, were divided along class lines.
Working-class women defended choice because they viewed themselves as a group whose interests are continually threatened by legal authorities. In contrast, middle-class women argued for individual rights and thought abortion necessary for those who aren't financially ready. Many middle-class pro-choice women, the authors argue, share the same point of view as displayed on television. This book seeks to clarify the rhetoric surrounding the abortion debate and allows the reader to hear how ordinary women discuss one of America's most volatile issues.