Another day, another controversy for one of the stars of MTV’s 16 & Pregnant/Teen Mom franchise.
Markai Durham, one of the moms featured on the second season of MTV’s popular, albeit controversial docu-soap, 16 and Pregnant was featured in one of the network’s most buzzed-about specials to date as she allowed MTV cameras to shadow her as she tried to decide whether or not to abort her second pregnancy.
The episode, titled No Easy Decision, aired at 11:30 PM Tuesday. The gut-wrenching broadcast showed Markai, whose first pregnancy was chronicled on Season 2, making the excruciating decision to have an abortion after finding out that she was pregnant again, less than a year after giving birth for the first time.
“I thought I was on birth control,” she wrote on Facebook before the show’s airing. “I thought I was protected I thought this would have never been anything I would have to go through. But it just shows you … you will never know.”
The show featured the young mom making calls to the clinic to ask about abortion methods and tearful discussions with her boyfriend about whether or not to keep the child. The choice came down to what was best for her first child, Markai explains. Financially, the teenager says there’s no way she could afford to have another child. Durham said she allowed her abortion decision to be featured on the show to encourage more civil discussion on an issue that has divided Americans for a generation.
“If your [sic] pro-life, I understand. If your [sic] pro-choice, hey Im with you. If your [sic] anti-abortion. I was you. Each and everyone of you I listen to. Even if its only calling me names or disrespecting me because of my decison,” she wrote early Tuesday morning.
The special is already causing buzz on the web. Entertainment Weekly called No Easy Decision a “vivid, unsparing look” at a “harrowing decision.” While FOX News described the special as “controversial.” The debate is sure to ignite discussion for a show that critics have accused of glamorizing teen pregnancy (although 16 & Pregnant host Dr. Drew has credited the show with help to lowering teen pregnancy rates in America).
Markai’s abortion also comes at a time that the pro-choice debate is heating up in the Black community. BET recently threw its support behind BlackDignity.org, a website that argues that “abortion is murder and must be stopped.”
Early Wednesday, a scathing message on Durham’s Facebook fan page spoke out in defense of the young mother following last night’s airing:
“If you DONT like Markai or her decision. UNLIKE the page, its simple. Markai feels enough pain for making her choice, she DOESNT need to be ridiculed for it. Shes been honest with you when she could have hid it. Have some respect or leave! Seriously there are plenty of pages talking shit so go there. Dont waste your time writing Im just going to ban you so she wont even see it!”
Markai’s abortion is the second major controversy to hit an MTV show about pregnant teens this month. Teen Mom star Amber Portwood was arrested and slapped with felony domestic violence charges and litany of misdemenor counts Monday after she was recorded beating ex-fiance/baby daddy Gary Shirley — in front of their young daughter — during an episode that aired in September.
If convicted, Amber faces up to three years behind bars and $10,000 in fines.
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