Why the Girls Abortion Episode Was an Awesome Conversation Starter

by | February 25, 2015
filed under Pop Culture

Gillian Jacobs as Mimi-Rose

Gillian Jacobs as Mimi-Rose

This week, Girls talked about abortion seriously for the first time since Season 1. Also, someone actually got one this time!

Was it a great portrayal of abortion? While it felt weird at times, I ultimately think this episode was an awesome way to start a dialogue about the fact that we as a society don’t have enough of a dialogue about how to approach the choice to terminate a pregnancy.

The action starts when Adam asks his new girlfriend, Mimi-Rose, to go for a job. She casually replies, “I can’t because I had an abortion yesterday.”  This is the first Adam has heard of either the pregnancy or the fact that Mimi-Rose decided to end it. Understandably, he is a bit taken aback by the news.

Mimi-Rose’s reasons for getting an abortion are very well thought out. Now that it’s come up, she explains they have only been together for seven weeks and Adam doesn’t even know her middle name. In light of these facts, why would they have a baby together at the moment? Where would they even put it? Her reasons are all very rational and persuasive. Mimi-Rose is right, of course. Whether to abort wasn’t Adam’s decision to make, so he didn’t need to know.

Having said all this, the show did make me think about abortion etiquette. Given that it is their body, no one who needs an abortion should have to tell their partner; however, dropping it on an unwitting partner after-the-fact as casually as saying, “Hey, honey, I bought us a new bath mat” is a perhaps a bit cavalier.

I actually think it would have been better for Mimi-Rose not to have told Adam she had an abortion at all. Personally, that seems more logical than telling him in an off-the-cuff, fairly insensitive way.

Adam seems to be open to the idea of having children. Of course, it is no way his right to get a baby from Mimi-Rose’s body just because he wants one. It’s interesting, however, that Mimi-Rose isn’t more sympathetic to the idea that Adam might be mourning the loss of his hypothetical future baby.

Still, I stopped being sympathetic to Adam, when he accused Mimi-Rose of being “evil” for getting the abortion without telling him. Sure, he was angry, but since he wasn’t going to gestate the fetus for nine months, he isn’t really the primary stakeholder here. Telling him might have been a nice courtesy, but it’s not like it would or should have changed Mimi-Rose’s decision.

Ultimately, I think it is very clever that Girls did an episode devoted to talking about abortion where the two characters involved aren’t very good at talking about abortion. Why is that? Because it’s an accurate reflection of society! Because we as a society still treat this topic as taboo.

We don’t have enough open and honest dialogues about abortion and how to discuss it, so it is understandable that many people don’t know how to discuss it with their partners in a respectful way.

No, we probably shouldn’t casually tell our partners we got an abortion the day before only as an excuse to get out of working out. But we definitely shouldn’t tell people who chose abortions without their partner’s consent that they are “evil” for doing so.

Talking about abortion is hard.  But maybe if more television series tackled it so openly and honestly, it wonn’t have to be quite this tricky in the future.

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