5 Times ‘Gilmore Girls’ Was Poignantly Pro-Life


Beloved mother-daughter dramedy “Gilmore Girls” came to Netflix streaming last fall, so chances are you’ve had time to make it through the series again by now. (If not, you should probably rewatch just to research for the upcoming revival.) 

The show passes muster through a feminist lens—“Gilmore Girls” portrays women as strong, interesting and complex, with dynamic relationships and fascinating inner lives. So it would be assumed that the show’s ideology is pro-choice because feminism and a pro-abortion stance go hand-in-hand, right?

As touted here on Planned Parenthood’s Tumblr, Rory’s dorm in season five has a “Stop the war on choice” poster proudly displayed on the wall. Of course, the word “abortion” is never used on the show. People can’t face the word “abortion” because it’s too honest–that’s exactly what euphemisms like “choice” are for. One of liberalism’s dirtiest and most ill-kept secrets is that the word itself has never been embraced by society or media.

Abortion consistently divides the population in polls; it’s depicted as a tragedy in film; and it hasn’t become standard sitcom fare even decades after a certain “Maude” episode horrified viewers in 1972. Feminist darling and comedy pioneer Mindy Kaling won’t touch it, while Scarlett Johansson recently vaguely alluded to “a woman’s right to choose” when she urged voters to show up for midterm elections in fall 2014. The latest “Scandal” episode sprang a shock abortion on audiences juxtaposed with “Silent Night,” a scene mostly remarkable for its incredible distance and coldness. Viewers had no idea beforehand that Olivia Pope was expecting a child. 

So where does “Gilmore Girls” stand on this divisive issue? Despite that bit of subliminal messaging on Rory’s dorm wall, the storylines over the show’s seven seasons belie everything Planned Parenthood promotes.

The show never directly touts an anti-abortion stance; instead, “Gilmore Girls” is subtly pro-life in that it depicts story after story of a woman who chooses life even when it gets in the way of the future she would have decided for herself.

“Gilmore Girls” values human life by showing not a sanitized, Planned Parenthood-esque view of childbearing but something closer to the reality—the process of having a child can be inconvenient, frustrating, scary, difficult and the opposite of carefully planned. But as we can see through the entire series in Lorelai and Rory’s relationship, even the new life that completely derails our own is ultimately and incalculably precious.

Here are five times “Gilmore Girls” reaffirmed that life has value (spoilers galore, obviously).

1. The fact that Rory exists because her mom got pregnant at 16—and kept her

2. When Emily stands up for a young, pregnant Lorelai, and Lorelai counts her pregnancy as a “life” that is part of the equation (Season 3, Episode 13)

Straub Hayden: “Why doesn’t she get rid of it? … It’s an option.”

Emily: “It certainly is not an option. Because I say so.”

3. When Sherry talks about how she kept her baby with Christopher’s encouragement (Season 3, Episode 6)

Sherry: “When I first found out I was pregnant, I wasn’t quite sure how Christopher would handle it, but I just never expected it would be like this. He’s been unbelievable … I wasn’t even sure if I was going to tell him about the baby. I thought I was going to either go it alone or not go through with it at all … but he was so willing to make it work. He said he’d missed out before and he didn’t want to miss it again.”

4. When Lane continues her pregnancy through moment after moment of not being ready (Season 7)

5. When mother of two Sookie is frustrated and unhappy about her unplanned pregnancy—but never suggests terminating it (Season 7, Episode 12)

Sookie: “There was a light at the end of the tunnel, and now that’s no more.”

Lorelai: “Babies are more than diapers … the good stuff … they’re pretty cute. They smell great; that newborn smell … you’ll get another first smile.”

Sookie: “I’m hormonal, and you are playing dirty.”

Jordan Ecarma is a former journalist now living the millennial dream: getting paid for writing Facebook statuses (that is, digital PR). She watches her use of the f-word (“feminism”) around conservatives and the c-word (“conservatism”) around feminists. Find her under @JordanEcarma.

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4 Responses

  1. Constance says:

    Just because they personally chose not to abort, doesn’t mean they were anti-abortion. That’s why it’s called pro-choice, not pro-abortion. Rory’s dorm room poster says enough about the show’s stance on the topic.. you’re just picking and choosing what you want to see.

  2. Jen says:

    This is ridiculous. The show is absolutely pro-choice. These women mentioned about CHOSE to continue with their pregnancies.

  3. GGLover says:

    Absolutely! There are tons of subtely implied inclinations toward prolife but Rory’s very obviously poster and Emily’s "It certainly is not an option" clinches the stance. I love that the entire show displays what happens when a mother chooses life for the human being growing inside her. It shows not only that a) Life does go on. You can be both happy and successful, even when it seems impossible when first met with the potential scenario upon pregnancy and b) That the sacrifice made is absolutely rewarded by bringing into the world that human being by displaying the wonderful things Rory became and accomplished. But in the opposing stance, I guess Rory should just consider herself "lucky" that her mother decided it have her and that she was able to live her life at all.

    Love this show!

  4. Janet says:

    Although Rory has the pro choice poster in her room, the show sways pro life every time. Another commenter said that the show is not pro life, and that the characters just happen to make that choice. But these are characters, whose choices are dictated by a room of real people. The fact that there are more than a few instances of unplanned pregnancies, and in each circumstance the characters choose to continue the pregnancy, is very telling. Sookie could have understandably chosen otherwise.

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