All My Children first hit the airwaves in 1970, helped into the spotlight by the presence of Rosemary Prinz
. Set in a fictional Pennsylvanian suburb just outside of Philadelphia, All My Children was the first soap opera to feature an in-depth discussion of war, using liberal Amy and conservative Phoebe to argue each side. The show has also made soap opera history with its depiction of Erica Kane's abortion, publicized enormously because it aired just after Roe vs. Wade. Not only that, but Erica's decision to abort her baby was not due to health issues, but out of fear of losing her modeling job! All My Children continued to make waves in the first decade of its airing with a storyline involving Margo Flax Martin, played by Eileen Letchworth, contemplating plastic surgery and exploring its psychological ramifications. The 80's and 90's saw the show tackle homosexuality, drug use, rape, cancer, incest, anorexia and other controversial subjects. The show received accolades for its social conscience; this, combined with several golden couples that became the darlings of the decades, catapulted All My Children into high ratings and soaring popularity.
Nor has this changed in the recent years. In 2009, All My Children yet again basked in media attention for demonstrating a legal same-sex marriage. But low daytime television ratings and recent cast member deaths have caused ABC to pull this show, which has been running for forty-one years. 2011 will be its last year on the airwaves.