Terminations on TV.

Really not wanting to go into GD territory people.

I was wondering if anyone can remember any characters in US TV having an abortion and how they were shown to deal with it.

I can think of several instances where characters talk about abortions they had previously, or of characters going to a clinic but changing their minds at the last minute.

I can’t think of any character who actually has a termination during an episode.

I CAN think of examples in British TV in soaps such as Hollyoaks and Brookside, in Cold Feet and in Irish Soap Fair City.

Any help here with other shows?

Dman, you know, I’m wracking my brain and I can’t think of a single incident of a regular/recurring character on a series going through with an abortion on American television. The must be some examples, but damned if I can think of any.

Maude was the first American TV show in which a lead character had an abortion. It created quite a controversy at the time; there were condemnations of the show by the Catholic Church and various anti-abortion groups.

Google “Maude” and “abortion” for a whole bunch of links regarding this.

Cheers. I knew there had to be at least one!

IIRC the character played by Charlene Tilton on ‘Dallas’ had an abortion. I recall a scene of her in the hospital afterwards saying something like “I feel empty inside!” and weeping.

Revtim, you beat me to it. I didn’t type fast enough.

Yes. Years ago on Dallas Lucy Ewing was a rape victim and got pregnant. She chose to have an abortion because she could not bring herself to have his baby.

Right, so 2 references.
Neither in the last 10 years.

Neve Campbell’s (I think it’s Campbell) character in Party of Five was on her way to the doctors office when she miscarried.
Similar story for Pacey’s sister in Dawson’s Creek, but as a reference to a past event, rather than an occurence in an episode.

Samantha and Carrie in Sex and the City both say they’ve had abortions, but again, in the past.

It seems that it just might be too taboo for a sympathetic character to have a termination in the present.

Anyone else got some examples?

Actually, yeah. I can’t remember the name of the show - it was several years ago, about a middle-aged priest in a rather poor parish. One of the regulars, a high school-aged girl had an abortion. The priests and the nun from the parish had all planned how they were going to help her out when she had the baby, and she aborted it instead.


IIRC, a character on Boston Public went through this last season. Most of the details escape me at the moment, but I seem to recall the girl mentioning that she “took care of it,” and then breaking down later in the episode.

There was an episode of Designing Women with the Redhead (forget the name) wanting a child, having artificial insemination, panicking when the conception “takes” , and ends up terminating the pregnancy.

Buffalo Bill (best known as a vehicle for Dabney Coleman and where Geena Davis, Charlie Robinson, and Meshach Taylor got their starts), had a two-part episode in 1984 titled “Jo Jo’s Problem” where Joanna Cassady was pregnant and contemplated (and eventually got) an abortion. It was very well done and managed to touch on all sides of the issue. The script and direction won Emmys.

One of the main characters on Degrassi High had an abortion. It was a Canadian show, but it did play in the States.

Susan Silverman had an abortion on an episode of Spenser: For Hire. It was very poorly handled and is a perfect example of how bad the writing really was on that show when the writers tried to do anything with the characters, whom they clearly just didn’t understand.

Geena Davis’s first screen role was in Tootsie, released in 1982. Buffalo Bill started in 1983.

As I recall, the reason that Spenser: For Hire ep was muddled was that although Robert B. Parker (the author of the Spenser novels) is pro-choice and the characters of Susan Silverman and Spenser are likewise pro-choice, Robert Urich, who played Spenser was Catholic and very pro-life. He pretty much refused to play the character as someone who would be comfortable with Susan’s decision.


I don’t know if anyone remembers a show called Anything But Love, but it was on from 1989-92, and starred Jamie Lee Curtis and Richard Lewis. Ann Magnuson played their boss, and she was always very autocratic, almost cruel, until one episode in which she took time off without telling anyone why. When she returned, she was very subdued, and finally admitted to JLC’s character that she’d had an abortion.

I don’t know if you want film examples? If so “Things you can tell just by looking at her” is one to check out.

Well, last season, Officer Faith Yokas on “Third Watch” had an abortion and never even told her husband about it (she let him think it was a job-related miscarriage).

Oh, man. With this thread returned from the dead that makes twice I’ve opened it thinking it was a thread about how people on different TV shows got fired.

Nope. Mary Jo (played by Annie Potts) was artificially inseminated. She thought she was pregnant and panicked, but it was a false alarm. IIRC she decided to keep trying but the storyline never went anywhere else (thank god; I hate pregnancies in TV shows almost as much as I hate babies on TV shows).