Merry Christmas, everyone! And how better to celebrate the birth of a savior, perhaps history’s greatest unplanned pregnancy, than to air a Very Special Episode of one of ABC’s highest rated shows depicting a main character having an abortion to the tune of one of our most sacred holdiay hymns, “Silent Night?”
Now, I try not to be as hard on ABC as some of our other writers – after all, it’s almost unfair, considering they’re pulling in lower numbers than Lifetime nowadays, and I kind of love Quantico, which is basically the best worst show on television – but last night’s episode of Scandal was a special kind of stupid. In the “winter finale,” the main character, Olivia Pope, who just revealed she’s in a comfortable relationship with the President of the United States, celebrated her holiday season by recognizing what’s most important about family: that when you don’t want more of it, you can have it scraped out of your womb while you listen to Christmas carols.
In the Season 5 winter finale of ABC’s “Scandal,” the main character Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington, gets an abortion — all set to the religious hymn “Silent Night.”
Thursday’s episode entitled “Baby It’s Cold Outside” featured Pope lying on a hospital bed about to get an abortion. The voice of her father Rowan Pope, played by Joe Morton, is heard during the scene saying, “A pressure point, soft tissue, an illness, an antidote to greatness. You think you’re better off with people who rely on you, depend on you, but you’re wrong, because you will inevitably end up needing them, which makes you weak, pliable. Family doesn’t complete you. It destroys you.”
My heart is warmed, isn’t yours? They should have saved that one to air right after the Charlie Brown Christmas special.
Now, of course, I understand Scandal‘s position. Accolades and awards from the Hollywood elite are hard to come by when you’re a second rate drama on a third rate network, competing with shows on premium cable that can show full frontal nudity on a regular basis. If it requires taking a “brave” stance that literally everyone in your inner circle of A-listers, artists and Democratic donors agree with to earn yourself an invitation to the Emmys, then of course, that’s the road you go with. But I feel like the Christmas carol and the speech about how horrifying it is to have to spend time with people you’re related to, with an inevitable follow-up storyline about how Olivia suffers no emotional consequences of losing an unborn child seems, in a word, gratuitous.
At least, more gratuitous than it already was.
The actual procedure was, of course, not the only preachy part of the episode, apparently. The show, authored by people who clearly have no personal experience with Planned Parenthood, was all about how the Magical Vagina Fairy Palace was under attack from horrible, misogynistic male legislators who wanted to deprive poor, helpless women of their routine healthcare by making funding for Planned Parenthood discretionary (legislative geniuses they are, they apparently didn’t realize that most if not all Federal funding is discretionary, but let’s just leave that aside for a second). The main character helps a female legislator lead a successful, Wendy Davis-style filibuster of the bill, thus preserving the right of all women to receive sub-standard care at the Wal-Mart of womens’ health clinics. Obviously, the writers don’t realize that you can already receive the same care from pretty much any doctor in the country for free, thanks to Obamacare, and that Federal funding props up Planned Parenthood, runing market dynamics and preventing women from getting better care from better clinics who simply can’t compete with the abortion powerhouse.
Planned Parenthood made sure to follow up with a Tweet thanking Shonda Rhimes, the show’s producer, for her willingness to accept their talking points as fact. I’m sure that will earn them at least an invite to the Emmy celebration party.