Scandal lived up to its name during its season five winter finale last night after stunning viewers with an abortion. While many applauded the episode’s controversial abortion storyline, and its refreshing take on the issue (Obvious Child did the same last year), others criticized it and petty things like the song played over the polarizing abortion scene. Abortion is a real thing people are choosing to have, despite lack of access and resources—take the 100,000 women in Texas who’ve tried to self-induce an abortion. That number will only grow with current GOP plans to defund Planned Parenthood, which the episode also addressed.
The Huffington Post cited a statistic stating that 3 out of 10 women get abortions by age 45. Olivia Pope became one of those women on last night’s episode. Scandal subtlety handled the subject never mentioning the word, or the fact that Pope was pregnant. The abortion is implied when viewers see Pope feet up, lying on a table, scrubbed up, as the camera lingers on her face. “Silent Night” plays over the scene, appalling some given the hymn’s themes about a mother and a child, which beckons the question, “What makes a good abortion song?” Something earnest about one’s feelings toward the decision like Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” Pharrell’s “Happy?” But we digress.
Supporters praised Scandal for skipping the melodramatic sob story abortion stories tend to get turned into in TV and movies, with characters racked with guilt, shame, and other negative emotions. As the Huffington Post’s Jessica Samakow wrote discussing the episode, “The prevailing narrative about abortion tells us that a women's decision to terminate a pregnant is always a painful, difficult one that will leave her devastated. For some women, that is the case. For other women, not even close.” Here they presented Pope, a woman making a decision about her body and her future, because it’s her right.
As someone who doesn’t watch Scandal I’m infinitely thankful to Shonda Rhimes, Obvious Child director Gillian Robespierre, and everyone else working to end the stigma against abortion while propelling a woman’s right to choose.
[via Huffington Post]