Never let it be said that Shonda Rhimes steers her shows away from controversy. She started the TV season back in the fall with speculation about a rape on Private Practice. Now that that's behind us, she decided to end Grey's Anatomy with speculation about one of the hottest controversies in women's health there is: abortion.
It's not the first. Cristina Yang considered an abortion several seasons ago before an ectopic pregnancy essentially forced one on her -- it was the baby or her life. But in the most powerful portion of this season's finale, Yang and husband Owen Hunt's battle royale over her uterus was the best attempt Grey's has made at the issue.
I can't help wondering if it wasn't made more powerful by the fact that this time around, Yang is married. This isn't an out-of-wedlock baby. This is something that happened between two adults in love and very much committed to each other.
And yet, Yang doesn't want a baby. That's what it comes down to. As she tells Hunt, "I don't hate children. I think they should have parents who want them."
That. Right there. This isn't about Yang and Hunt. It's not selfishness. It's not even a commitment-phobia. It's full knowledge that she is not ready to be a mother.
This show has had a long history of treating Yang like she's too selfish to think things through, but this moment may be my favorite from her. Not because I think abortion is the answer. I think birth control is. But every time I read a horror story involving kids and think "parenting should require a license," I follow it up with the thought that some people just aren't made to be parents. It's not a knock on them. They're often really good at something else. I'm good at parenting -- relatively anyway.
There are so many facets to the abortion issue. Young kids who didn't have good education about birth control whose lives will be ruined because of a mistake. Adult women who know they just can't afford to care for another baby. The list goes on.
But what Grey's Anatomy did was show that women simply not being prepared for motherhood is an important factor too. You can't force a mother's love.
And Hunt's whining, his moaning, his blackmailing came off not as a man wanting "his" baby but as a man trying to mold his wife into the person he wants her to be, as a man who wasn't thinking through what it really takes to parent. He may have "wanted" a child, but he clearly wasn't going to be in a position to care for one either, at least not as long as he thought all it took was a little compromise.
As Yang said, "This isn't pizza vs. Thai. You don't give a little on a baby."
If the abortion happens -- that's the cliffhanger part of a finale folks -- it will be historical anyway, one of the very few to happen on television. It WILL get viewers. It seems Shonda Rhimes knows exactly what she's doing -- touching off one of the hottest debates there is might just save this show from that musical debacle.
Do you respect Grey's Anatomy more for looking at this issue and giving it legs?
Image via ABC