In the November 7 episode of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, titled “Papa Don’t’ Preach,” 25-year-old Cassidy Gardner (Hayley Chase) is brought to the emergency department of Pacific Northwest General Hospital after a fall on her basement stairs. Tests show that she is bleeding in her spleen and also that she is 8 – 10 weeks pregnant. Cassidy is disappointed to learn that the baby survived her fall.
It turns out that the single mom to a young boy is working two jobs and without medical insurance. She admits she decided to take herbs to induce an abortion since she couldn’t get to a clinic.
Dr. Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone) volunteers to talk to Cassidy, though Amelia doesn’t practice at the hospital. Upon finding out that Cassidy wanted an abortion, Amelia said that Dr. Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) can ask an OB-GYN to do abortion during her spleen surgery. Owen contradicts Amelia’s offer, though, and tells Cassidy he just wants to take care of the bleeding spleen and then the pregnancy can be dealt with later. Outside of the room, Amelia questions Owen about his behavior and he tells her that he doesn’t order abortions.
Amelia: What are you doing?
Owen: You really overstepped in there. I’m a trauma surgeon. I don’t order abortions.
Amelia: You would have if the fetus hadn’t survived.
Owen: But it did.
Amelia: Owen, she’s eight weeks. She doesn’t need a full d&c.
Owen: Exactly. It’s not emergent, but her internal injuries are. So I’m gonna deal with those, and then she can go see an ob.
Amelia: She seems pretty clear in her thinking and committed to her plan. Why not just give her the help she’s asking for?
Owen: Thank you, Amelia, for your consult.
Amelia was willing to brush off Cassidy’s pregnancy because “she’s eight weeks” as though the earliness of the pregnancy makes it any less important. The baby has a heartbeat which Owen confirms is strong after the surgery.
After the surgery, Amelia takes matters into her own hands and instructs a nurse to give Cassidy two pills that will terminate the pregnancy. She gives her instructions on when to take the pills and tells her to see her OB-GYN in a week. After, Owen confronts Amelia in the hallway.
Owen: Amelia. You crossed a line.
Amelia: She needed help that you wouldn’t give her.
Owen: You don’t work here.
Amelia: Well, from what I’ve heard, most of the people who do lack the skill and sensitivity that I have, so you could just say thank you. Owen, did you really want to force that poor mom to bring another human being onto the planet against her will, or did you refuse her an abortion because I wanted to help her have one?
Owen: You don’t get to come to my place of work and order me around, ok?
Amelia holds herself up as more skillful and sensitive than the medical staff at the hospital. This is the arrogance of many on the pro-abortion side. No medical professional should be forced to do or refer abortions against their will. Owen was allowing Cassidy some time to make sure she truly wanted to end the pregnancy, as the head injury she suffered during her fall, though it didn’t cause a concussion, could have caused her to think unclearly about such an important decision.
Amelia’s own pregnancy is a sensitive subject for Owen and their past relationship plays a part in the doctors’ reactions to the desire of the patient to get an abortion. Amelia didn’t want children with Owen but now that she’s pregnant she wants this baby with her current boyfriend. “I exercised my freedom of choice not to have an abortion,” she tells Owen, as if that is what’s meant by “right to choose,” and each choice is equally valid. We know that most often when liberal women talk about freedom of choice about abortions, it means to carry out an abortion, not to have the baby.
It is interesting that Owen refers to the baby as a baby while Amelia refers to it as a fetus, the common term used by abortion supporters. This is no accident, abortion storylines are increasing on television because of the efforts of Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights. Grey’s is at least the sixth show of the fall season to feature an abortion story.