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5 TV Episodes That Actually Treated Abortion With Dignity

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Abortion is a hot topic right now, considering there are bills and proposed legislation currently on the table right now that could severely limit access for women across the country in varying states (like Wisconsin, for instance). As someone who had an abortion, the topic is very near and dear to me— and I often feel like it isn’t portrayed as it should be in the media, creating stigma.

This is why I rounded up a few TV shows that tackled the issue—thanks to an organization called ANSIRH’s brand-new database devoted to the topic (yep, that’s right, they rounded up every abortion-related episode or film ever.)

Here are some that I felt did an amazing job of showcasing the nuanced, complex situation that is abortion:

1. The Magicians, “Cheat Day” episode

abortion

I watched this entire show (because I love anything about magic, witchcraft, ghosts, you name it) and I was really surprised by how this episode tackled rape and abortion so seamlessly (and cleverly, considering magic is involved!)–and boldly. The show is based off the books by Lev Grossman–and it’s definitely worth watching, even if it’s something you binge and never watch again.

2. Jessica Jones, “AKA You’re a Winner!” episode 

abortion

Jessica Jones is one of those rare superhero shows that actually focuses on women–and abuse. Even if you don’t love superhero stories, this one is remarkably different, considering Jessica isn’t your typical goody-two shoes–she’s strikingly real and flawed, like all of us are.

3. Call the Midwife, episode 5.3

abortion

I’m a sucker for period dramas (yes, I was a “Downton Abbey” fanatic) and this show is set in a similar world and time. While the time period feels somewhat far from ours, the decision an unmarried woman has to make now, and back then, isn’t as different as we’d like to think.

4. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, “When Will Josh and His Friend Leave Me Alone?” episode

abortion

What I love most about this episode (unlike with the “Jessica Jones” and “The Magicians” episodes) is the fact that it focuses on a married mom, not a single woman. Abortion is abortion is abortion, of course, but very rarely does popular media focus on moms who get abortions. In this case, Paula, a married mother of a teenage son, decides to get an abortion.

5. “Scandal,” A Few Good Women episode

abortion

The show’s protagonist, Olivia Pope, had an abortion–and the most intense thing about the scene was the fact that no words were used. Olivia was merely shown in a hospital in a gown–but the viewer knows what’s going on.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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