Scandal definitely didn’t hold back last night in its Planned Parenthood-themed episode, but it spoke volumes of truth in the brilliant way it seems only Shonda Rhimes can.
Warning: Major spoilers about last night’s Scandal below. Do not continue reading unless you want to know all the crazy details about what went down.
As The Huffington Post wrote in its poignant article about the reproductive rights story line, the scene, although brief, was a stark departure from the show’s now trademark valiant monologues. In fact, there was very little dialogue.
In the moment, Mellie filibusters for reproductive rights while Olivia gets an abortion, all set to “Silent Night” in the background. But this scene didn’t need words. Just because it was short didn’t mean it wasn’t one of the most riveting moments in the show’s history and in television’s history, for that matter.
Our country is deeply divided on the issue of reproductive rights. But the show didn’t shy away from the controversy, though in Rhimes’ fashion, she clearly let you know that she disagrees with the more conservative arguments.
And people were stunned.
I appreciate #scandal showing how some women walk away from an abortion, knowing they’ve made the right decision, just fine.
— Ally McReal (@KiaJD) November 20, 2015
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) November 20, 2015
— Olivia A. Cole (@RantingOwl) November 20, 2015
— K ❤️ (@Kayla8397) November 20, 2015
— Deontae (@deontaemoore) November 20, 2015
But that shock’s not a bad thing.
Whether those feelings of shock were from a place of deep appreciation or disagreement, it was impossible to turn from this episode and not have a sincere and moving reaction.
Shock gets people talking. Shock helps educate the ignorant. And, hopefully, that shock will lead to some important revelations for some people who might not have previously realized that women’s reproductive rights aren’t just important but vital to have a healthy society.
The way Rhimes presented Olivia’s story in that episode was also brilliant. Not once did Olivia say she was pregnant, and we had no idea what she was doing at the clinic until she laid down on the table. She didn’t even confirm she’d had an abortion or tell Fitz about the experience. And she also didn’t seem to regret the decision at all.
The significance wasn’t that Olivia had this huge decision to make that deserved to be stewed over for episode after episode, but rather that she had the choice. She didn’t want to be a mom. She wasn’t ready to be with Fitz forever in that capacity. So she made the decision that was right for her.
Whether you agree with abortion or not is your own personal prerogative. That’s the whole point! We all get to have a say in it and make the decision for ourselves based on our own moral compass.
And a woman making the decision to get an abortion can be not shocking.
She can make the decision and then go on with her day to the next issue that needs to be tackled.
The point is she gets to make the decision.