While You Watched the Oscars, Girls Did a Super Chill Abortion Episode


Here it is, because we have to talk about it: a character on Girls had an abortion, and it was very chill. Adam’s new girlfriend Mimi-Rose politely declined his request to go for a jog, telling him, “I can’t go for a run because I had an abortion yesterday.” The scene that followed was both laudable in its matter-of-fact depiction of abortion and bizarre in just about every other way. Does no one on this show ever think about money? Ever?

Mimi-Rose is taking shape as a sharp, almost too direct contrast to Hannah: she’s self-assured, confident, pulled together, she gives TED talks, and she doesn’t need saving, mothering, or to be carried by a shirtless Adam through the streets while suffering a mental health emergency. She’s so self-sufficient, she tells Adam, it didn’t occur to her to let him know about the abortion until after the fact.

Adam responds like the petulant shaggy-haired man-baby he so frequently is, overloading with feelings until they pour out of his ears and he lashes out in every direction.

“How many abortions have you had?” he demands.

“I’m not going to share that with you because that is private,” Mimi-Rose responds. And then Adam knocks some stuff off a desk and storms away, later returning to demand “who fucking took you?” (Her friend Sue-Ellen Garth did, Mimi-Rose replies, airily. “She’s a somnambulist!”)

“Who— who aborted you?” Adam replies. The news that it was a doctor named Gunita who delivered her cousin’s baby does not mollify him. He does some question-yelling about whether “our baby” was “a boy or a girl,” and Mimi-Rose is pretty clear there too: “It was a ball of cells. It was smaller than a seed pearl. It didn’t have a penis or vagina.”

Adam finally, finally gets to his point: “Isn’t this a decision people typically make together?” He adds that he “maybe” wanted a baby. Mimi-Rose replies, “That’s kind of absurd. We’ve only been together for seven weeks.”

“I don’t understand how you could do something like that without talking to me first,” Adam sputters. “That’s — that’s evil.

It’s not, of course — it’s a practical decision made by an adult woman who hasn’t been seeing someone very long and isn’t ready to be a parent. Mimi-Rose could have probably told Adam with a tiny bit more tact than she did, but the show deserves credit for a straightforward and a fairly realistic discussion about the decision she made and how she came to it. And unlike Jessa’s spontaneous makeout-induced miscarriage in a previous season, the scene doesn’t do a last-minute feint away from abortion, or present it as an anguished choice a wan woman makes only after a sleepless night balling up tear-soaked Kleenex and staring moodily into a bathroom mirror.

And then, because this is Girls, that’s where things start to veer away from reality as you and I understand it. For a show that seems to pride itself on being a wacky yet gritty, slice-of-life portrait of young Brooklyn women trying to figure it all out, there’s no discussion whatsoever here about money, not for any of the characters. In the last episode, Mimi-Rose and Adam were together in Hannah’s apartment. As the current episode begins, they’ve vaulted into her comically enormous loft, where she evidently lives alone. (After seven weeks, Mimi, really? Not ready to parent with the man but you’re combining leases with him in New York’s Hunger Games-esque real estate market?)

And somehow, in the seven weeks since they’ve been dating, Mimi-Rose has also managed to discover her pregnancy, see a doctor, schedule an abortion, and marshal the funds to pay for it (a first trimester medical abortion in New York runs about $350 to $500). Mimi-Rose isn’t meant to be a struggling 20-something in quite the same way that Hannah is, but she’s still a young artist. Do we really believe she wouldn’t need to ask Adam to go dutch on a pregnancy termination? Is the weird casualness of the scene meant to be the first harbinger that something is Not Right with Mimi-Rose?

For actual young women living in New York—er, like me, I guess—Girls continues to be fascinating and bizarre. The stuff that makes up the most basic fabric of our lives—money, roommates, living situations, lugging our shit through the subway—melt away hazily in Girls-land. And unlike most of America, where new abortion restrictions are cropping up by the hour, there’s no issue here, no problem. Abortion care is arranged in the breeziest of ways, and then Mimi-Rose is home to lounge around in her sky-blue pajamas and deal with the sputtering selfish feelings volcano she’s dating. Easy.

There are times when I get genuinely angry at Girls for its painful obliviousness where money is concerned, the show’s almost willful inability to talk about it in a way that’s not ridiculous. (And while it might not be fair, it’s hard for me not to project that back onto Lena Dunham, the privileged child of artist parents, installed at birth in a swanky loft that sold in 2013 for $6.25 million.)

But watching Mimi-Rose swan around in those silky PJs, it’s hard to get mad. Everyone’s abortion experience should be so easy, so carefree, so quickly dispatched. (Dunham, a vocal supporter of Planned Parenthood, must surely agree.) It’s a footnote to the real story of whether you’re dating a garbage man-baby who you moved in with at lightning speed (or, alternately, a weirdly opaque woman who wears pajamas in the daytime and lives in a suspiciously fancy apartment). Must be nice. It demonstrates no familiarity with how most women’s lives look, but it must be nice.

Image via HBO

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin