Shonda Rhimes winter finale featured Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) getting an abortion, because it is about Olivia's life.

Shonda Rhimes winter finale featured Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) getting an abortion, because it is about Olivia’s life.

NOBODY DOES primetime drama like Shonda Rhimes and she did it again this past week in the fall finale of ABC’s Scandal. Fearlessly saying that a woman’s decisions about her life are her own to make and your opinions about it don’t matter. Sure, you can disagree with a woman’s choice, but you can’t stop her. An artistic statement embedded in a dramatic storyline that was modern, meaningful and masterfully delivered.

From NPR, which discussed the intense episode this week.

After the episode aired, star Kerry Washington, who plays Pope on the show, tweeted two hashtags: #Istandwithmellie and #istandwithplannedparenthood. In the episode, her character is shown helping Senator Grant (played by Bellamy Young) continue the filibuster, which is hailed in the episode as the longest in American history.

But not everybody supports the episode. Writer Alexa Moutevelis Coombs, blogging for the conservative-focused media watchdog website Newsbusters, derided the episode as an hourlong “advertisement for Planned Parenthood,” calling the moments where Pope seemed to be undergoing an abortion a “truly vile…stomach churning scene.” She accused the writers of implying that an unborn child is “an illness” and hinderance in life.

In the episode, as a gospel version of “Silent Night” plays, Pope’s villainous father gives a speech about how family makes people weak, saying “family doesn’t complete you…it destroys you.” While he speaks, viewers are shown images of Pope undergoing a medical procedure which looks like an abortion. The scene ends with a shot of Pope’s face, eyes open.

The episode was stunning. I knew there would be wide disapproval among those who believe that women shouldn’t have the right of self-determination. However, it didn’t make much of a blip on most people’s radar.

That Shonda Rhimes so publicly applauded Planned Parenthood through a Republican female character, Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young), enshrined the episode forever in the category of things we all wish would happen. Especially since throughout the United States Republicans are working against women, whom they believe need extra counseling, waiting periods, ultrasounds, and long drives across rural America before a woman is capable of making a critical decision about her life.

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