Grey's Anatomy has gone pro-choice. Oh, don't get your panties in a bunch. There's more to being pro-choice than abortion.
It's about making decisions for your body, and who better than the doctors at Seattle Grace/Mercy West to have to decide sometimes the body wants what the body wants? It's a show about surgeons. And what do surgeons like to do? Take control.
But in an episode that was surprisingly subtle (for Grey's Anatomy anyway), Shonda Rimes and the writers made the case for self-determination one overbearing doctor at a time. A few cases in point:
- Chief Webber has pulled up Ellis Grey's old writings, and he has a great idea. Take her work on diabetes care and put together a clinical trial to keep her legacy alive. And the way he sees it, Meredith Grey will want to proceed with her mother's life's work. Except Meredith is busy with Derek's Alzheimer's trial, a trial that will honor her mother's later years and perhaps protect her from sharing Ellis' fate. Enter the crossroads. Should Meredith pull out of the Alzheimer's trial because her mother left another project open? Should she have to do her mother's work simply because she's her mother's daughter? Score one for choice, Meredith doesn't take the Chief's bait. She's sticking with Alzheimer's; he can have diabetes.
- Callie Torres is pregnant. And she's got not only her partner, Arizona Robbins, on her case, but the baby's daddy, Mark Sloane. The two have ganged up to determine what Callie can and can't do and can and can't eat, right down to making her gross green smoothies in the morning and trying to take away her one cup of caffeine. Score another one for choice: Callie is going to have her one cup of caffeine, thank you very much, and she's going to take this little threesome and make it a fivesome. Mark and Arizona get a vote. But so does she, the baby, and her vagina ... which is about to push out a baby. Since she's got the baby and the vagina votes, she holds the cards.
- Little Grey's got some serious problems. First there's Sloane, who got Callie pregnant just as they were getting their relationship back on track. Now there's her dad, Thatcher Grey, who is suddenly back in the hospital, with a "tatted up skank" who is just about Lexie's age on his arm. And now Little Grey's got to bear the burden of holding up the entire basis of the episode. She's pissed because she isn't being given a choice (Sloane), and she's taking it out on dear old Dad for choosing a girlfriend without her approval. Score another one for choice: Meredith tells her to get over herself. She cries on Avery's shoulder, and she forgives her dad. Thatcher is free to choose who he loves.
- And now for a little actual medicine. A teen (young adult?) has been rushed into the hospital with massive broken bones because he had the genius idea to build a human slingshot and climb in. Oh yeah, and his buddy, who was taping the whole thing (on an absurdly old video camera), has followed him into the hospital to catch the aftermath to post on the Internet. Only Torres breaks the news that he can't follow him into the operating room to see the real action, prompting the bonehead teen to demand she start resetting his bones right then and there, no anesthesia, no OR. As he told Torres and Hunt, "It's for the art." Score another one for personal choice: If a patient wants to be a bonehead, you let them. She starts setting his bones then and there, until he realizes this probably isn't such a good idea. Takeaway: don't mess with a doctor who hasn't had her caffeine today, every choice has consequences.
Sometimes the "your body, your choice" issue gets so tangled up in abortion rhetoric that the rest of the argument gets lost. When it comes to our bodies, we remain in charge, even when we walk into a hospital and become a "patient." Our emotional health depends on remembering we come first.
Did Grey's do a good job of showing that?
Image via ABC