Abortion on Television By the Numbers

The Roar Meter is a weekly story in numbers.

  • First abortion plotline on television: Another World, 1964
  • First primetime abortion plotline: Maude, 1972
  • First post-Roe abortion plotline: All My Children, 1973
  • Often called the first legal abortion on TV, but Maude’s took place in NYC, which legalized abortion pre-Roe.
  • Notable instances of women seeking abortions and choosing to sustain the pregnancy: Melrose Place, 1992; Beverly Hills, 90210, 1994; Felicity, 1999; Dawson’s Creek, 2000; Sex and the City, 2001; The O.C., 2004; Sons of Anarchy, 2010
  • Notable instances of women seeking abortions and miscarrying: Party of Five, 1996; Dawson’s Creek, 2000; Grey’s Anatomy, 2006
  • In a 2012 episode of Girls, a character schedules an abortion only to learn that she is not pregnant.
  • Notable instances of abortion being treated as a normal part of life: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, 2017
  • Arguably, Erica Kane’s decision on All My Children, 1973, falls under this category as well

Annika Barranti Klein is a writer, knitter, women’s banked track roller derby referee, and radical homeschooling mother. Her work has appeared at The Toast, The Establishment, and on Book Riot. She is a cis, white, bi-furious intersectional feminist.


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