Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Abortion in Television History On 'Another World' 48 Years Ago This Week

Susan Trustman played Pat Matthews on Anolther 
World in 1964.
With the Democratic National Convention making headlines, talk of abortion and a woman's right to choose has been featured heavily on primetime television this week. But it was on a daytime soap opera where the first abortion story in television history was told.

Another World's 1964 story reached a climax 48 years ago this week when Pat Matthews traveled to New York with her boyfriend, Tom Baxter (Nicholas Pryor), to have an illegal abortion. The NBC soap was written by Irna Phillips and Bill Bell at the time under executive producer Allen Potter.

Pat later developed an infection that left her unable to have children. Reeling from the news, Pat found Tom who told her he never loved her or had any intention of marrying her. She shot him in a fit of rage. She stood trial for murder but was acquitted.   She fell in love with her attorney, John Randolph, who became the love of her life.

The show had Pat's sterility reversed via "corrective surgery" and she had twins, Marianne and Michael, six years later in 1970, also during the first week of September.  Robert Cenedella was head writer then under executive producer Lyle B. Hill.

In 1973, All My Children's Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) had televisions first legal abortion following the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision. Sadly, this piece of television history, and one of Agnes Nixon's proudest accomplishments was rewritten 32 years later by head writer Megan McTavish.


  1. This was quite a groundbreaking soap storyline for 1964--really!

    Brian :-)

  2. Oh my God,I'm old! I remember being really liitle and my grandma watching this!

  3. I would come home from grade school and my mother would be watching this. I did not have to ask any questions. I learned what abortion was from this story.

  4. BTW, that actress Susan Trustman faded out a few years after she left AW. Is she still alive? If so, I wonder what she thinks nearly half a century after her part in TV history?

    Also, I seem to remember that years later in the story, Pat's daughter also had an abortion, by then well after Roe v. Wade.

    1. Susan is married to Gerald Leider and has two children.