Abortions in recent TV

  • The Villanueva women in Jane The Virgin

The show opens its very first episode with a 20-something college student and worker who has a very careful life-plan ahead of her being accidentally inseminated. From the pilot and until S01E13, Jane –the protagonist and “pregnant virgin”– graples with how this unwanted pregnancy will affect her life, with her mom and her doctor offering an abortion method as one of her possible choices. 

Other people in Jane’s life –her religious grand-mother, the fetus’ biological father and his wife, and Jane’s fiance– try to weigh in her choice, but the decision of aborting or continuing on with the pregnancy, and of what she’s gonna do once the fetus is born –giving the baby up for adoption, giving it to the biological father, co-parenting with her current partner and/or the biological father, raising the baby herself– is left to her. She chooses to go through with the pregnancy.

During this arc, it’s revealed that Alba –Jane’s grandmother– and Rogelio –her father– wanted Jane’s mother to have an abortion when they found out that she was pregnant at 16 years old. Xiomara chose to go through with the pregnancy despite everyone else in her life insisting she shouldn’t.

Two seasons later Xiomara –Jane’s mother– is fresh out of a relationship with Rogelio, which they broke off due to the fact that he wanted to have a baby and she did not want any more kids now that Jane is an adult After unprotected sex with another man, Xiomara finds out she is pregnant, and decides to have an abortion. This arc deals with the fact that, though she isn’t ashamed or regretful about her choice and she is more than sure that she doesn’t want to have any children in the future, the guilt of knowing her mother would not approve –and the overall stigma around abortion– still hurts her deeply.

  • Paula Proctor in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

In season 2 of the show, Paula Proctor is a mother of three in her forties who’s just decided to start Law School to fulfill her life-long dream of becoming a lawyer. It will require a lot of her time and a lot of money, but Paula is convinced that this is finally the time to follow her passions. This is when she finds out she is pregnant.

The decision of Paula prioritizing her career and aspirations over a fourth child that she never planned for is not questioned or shamed. She takes a couple days off work, her husband brings her soup in bed and she continues studying with a renewed passion.

  • Olivia Pope in Scandal

The fifth season’s finale of Scandal closed not with a bang but with a quiet, stern, determined implosion of feeling. Olivia, feeling suffocated and constrained in a (borderline abusive) relationship with Fitz that she never truly wanted and was about to become permanent –if she officially became his First Lady–, finds out that she is pregnant. We don’t see her when she discovers it: the narrative shows us all the other things stacking up to trap Olivia in the White House, her increasing restlessness, her need to leave… and then it jumps to her, leaving a White House event to enter a clinic.

Scandal doesn’t offer any explanations for the abortion, and neither does Olivia. She makes the choice by herself, for herself, with nobody in-show to judge her for it and no place for the viewers to demand more of her, and that’s it. Then, Olivia walks out of the White House.

Also, @autisticdaisyjohnson suggested Bo Jack Horseman in [this post], and @femmefareeha mentioned that Degrassi: Next Class also has an abortion storyline!

Good read: Timeline Of Abortion Stories In US Media


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