After 18 full seasons of the show, loyal viewers of Grey’s Anatomy know what to expect: drama, romance, plenty of medical jargon and a tasteful way tackling real-life issues. In season 19 of the medical drama, this list couldn’t be more accurate. In the face of the overturn of Roe v. Wade, episode 5 of the newest season tackled abortion rights, and the health risks and costs associated with abortion bans around the country.
In the episode, doctors Miranda Bailey and Addison Montgomery (played by Chandra Wilson and Kate Walsh, respectively) take a road trip to volunteer at a family planning center. Among the patients is one who lives in a neighboring state which has a restrictive ban on abortion. In their hope to help the expecting mom, Bailey and Addison take a roadtrip in an attempt to rescue the patient, but it ends up being too late.
“It’s one of the things that I loved even when I first started Grey’s with Shonda [Rhimes] as I feel like she just had that gift of writing within a hospital infrastructure, but writing multifaceted characters, people that are fallible, people that are talented, but also then dealing with social issues,” Walsh says in an interview with SheKnows. “That’s what great art does,” she adds, “it’s just more powerful.”
Walsh also hopes the show goes a long way in opening up viewers to see other perspectives and becoming more empathetic.
“It’s the magic of art and it really unifies people and gets people to look at different things from different perspectives and grow hopefully, and have more empathy, and understanding and compassion,” the actress, who’s also on the new season of Emily in Paris, adds. Walsh is then excited for viewers watching the episode to “examine themselves and ask themselves questions about their own belief systems or their own values, and hopefully be entertained on top of all that.”
At the end of the episode, having just lost her patient due to an ectopic pregnancy, Addison, who’s a longtime OB-GYN, feels hopeless. For Walsh, seeing her character break down was important, too.
“We have so we have access to so much information in our culture and I would argue sometimes too much information and people feel so powerless and overwhelmed by what’s happening in the world,” she says, acknowledging that helplessness is sometimes part of the course. “[The writers] write those falling apart and picking yourself back up moments really incredibly well,” she notes.
After a heart-to-heart with Bailey, they begin to think of solutions, including starting their very own clinic at Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital to provide women with all their health needs.
Though Bailey will be spearheading the project, Addison’s appearances this season aren’t over yet.
“I go back and shoot an episode and then another one after the holiday,” Walsh, who’s only made rare appearances in recent seasons, reveals. “There’s more to come,” she adds, “So it’s really exciting.”
Whether her next appearances will be about abortion rights or not, fans of the show know just how brilliant Walsh is on the show. We look forward to seeing more!
Before you go, click here to see the best TV shows you should be watching right now.