gURLs Who Had Abortions on TV
Whether you're pro-choice or pro-life, one thing is for sure: No one thinks having an abortion is fun or glamorous. Just talking about abortion is a major taboo and it is rarely mentioned on television or in the movies. Characters who do have unplanned pregnancies rarely even say the word "abortion" and almost never have them.
There are, of course, a few exceptions. In the early '70s, a few months before abortion was legalized in the U.S. through Roe v. Wade, the sitcom Maude was the first-ever show to explore the topic. 45-year-old Maude Findlay (the late, great Bea Arthur) finds out she's pregnant and gets an abortion. 65 million people tuned into the episode and over 24,000 protest letters were received by CBS.
Since then, only a few shows have had abortion story lines. Click on and take a look at who dared to confront the topic.
The Real World: Los Angeles, 1993 (Reality)Back in the '90s when Real World got seriously real, cast member Tami Akbar had an abortion. The episode had a parental advisory title card at the beginning of the show. MTV didn't show Tami in the clinic or anything, but they did air a conversation between her and her mother where Tami's mom told her that she didn't have the choice to have an abortion when she was younger because abortion wasn't legal yet. It caused a lot of debate between the roommates.
Sex and the City, 2001
In "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda", Miranda finds out she's pregnant from a night of sex with her ex. She considers getting an abortion and not telling ex about it, but ultimately decides to have the baby. Carrie and Samantha discuss that they both had abortions. Carrie feels uncomfortable telling her boyfriend that she had one, and at first lies to him and says that she was 18 and the condom broke — but quickly reveals she was 22, didn't use protection, and "should've known better."
Six Feet Under, 2003
Claire, a freshman art major in college, learns she's pregnant by her ex-boyfriend in the "Twilight" episode (nothing to do with the book!). In a very calm and matter-of-fact way, she decides to get the abortion and only tells one person because she needs a ride to the Planned Parenthood. In the next episode, Claire dreams that she meets her aborted fetus, who appears to her as a cute baby. When she does tell her ex about the abortion later, he gets really mad and cries.
Planned Parenthood gave the episode's writer Nancy Oliver an award for how well the topic of abortion was covered.
Degrassi: The Next Generation, 2004
"Accidents Will Happen" dealt with Manny's abortion. The gURL had unprotected sex with her bf Craig and talks with her friend's mom, who was a very young mom herself, about her options. Everyone seems supportive and Manny considers not having the procedure until she and Craig fail miserably at babysitting. She realizes she can't be a mother at her age and goes through with the abortion.
The episode (in full) didn't air in the U.S. until the show went into reruns.
The L Word, 2007
Kit gets pregnant from the guy she's dating, a young musician named Angus in the episode "Livin' La Vida Loca." They talk about abortion and he stands by her decision (though he doesn't seem thrilled). Kit goes to a clinic where she is shown pictures of a fetus that was aborted at the same stage that her's was being aborted. Everything else is off-camera.