9 TV Shows that Weren’t Afraid to Talk About Abortion

Despite being a safe and legal medical procedure, abortion is still considered taboo to discuss in many ways, which is even more problematic with the barriers to abortion access after the overturn of Roe v. Wade just over a year ago.

That’s why it matters that pop culture addresses these issues head-on, because that visibility can help demystify abortion and normalize that it is something that many people go through during their lifetimes.

“As individuals, we often look to pop culture for ways in which we fit into society,” Melissa Grant, chief operating officer of Carafem Health, tells SheKnows. “When pop culture doesn’t accurately portray abortion for what it is — a commonly shared experience for 1 in 4 women of reproductive age — it perpetuates abortion stigma. While we frequently see sex as a common thread amongst much of popular culture, with hypersexualized messages being shared in multiple forums daily, accurate portrayals of abortion are still rare.”

Often in the past,  when an abortion storyline does appear on a TV show, it’s in the form of a cautionary tale, where something terrible happens to the woman who decided to get one (see: Penny in Dirty Dancing).

Thankfully, some of the more recent examples of abortion on TV (and some not-so-recent examples) do a better job of showing the nuances of the decision and procedure, as well as the autonomy of the character who decides to proceed with having an abortion .

Here are a few examples of some of the TV shows that weren’t afraid to address abortion, whether they take place in the nineteenth century, the 1970’s, or in the present day.

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