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Why It Matters That ‘A Million Little Things’ Talks About Abortion

When it comes to addressing the thorny subject of abortion, television shows have been making significant progress over the years. There’s still a long way to go before on-screen storylines more accurately represent the wide variety of reasons why people have abortions, better reflect real-world abortion demographics, and properly inform viewers on the types of care and resources available, but it’s crucial when writers, show runners, and actors publicly tackle a topic that’s still so heavily debated in today’s society. A Million Little Things is far from the only show to air an abortion episode, but with abortion rights under siege after the U.S. Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, the ABC drama springs to mind for several reasons.

The show, which follows a close-knit group in the aftermath of their friend Jon’s (Rob Livingston) suicide, doesn’t have perfect abortion episodes. But they do a remarkable job supporting a pregnant person’s right to choose, while reminding viewers of the variety of reasons why even the most capable, happily partnered, financially, emotionally stable human beings might not be ready to welcome a baby into the world — and why that’s okay. In addition to showing the emotional tolls of abortion, the series also works to help open viewers’ minds on the issue and make those who’ve had (or know someone who’s had) an abortion feel seen and less alone.

A Million Little Things first introduces an abortion storyline in the sixth episode of Season 1, “Unexpected.” After Jon’s widow, Delilah Dixon (Stephanie Szostak), learns she got pregnant from an affair with her late husband’s best friend, Eddie (David Giuntoli), she decides it would be too difficult for her and her grieving family to care for a baby. Her friend Gary (James Roday Rodriguez) accompanies her to an abortion clinic, where we see a particularly heavy scene in which she lays on an operating table as a doctor prepares the procedure. After she leaves the clinic, Delilah reveals that she didn’t go couldn’t with the abortion.

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