This Season of Shameless Might Be The Most Important Yet
If you’re a Shameless fanatic like myself then you know about this past Sunday’s dramatic episode. I have been watching this show religiously since it aired and it is easily my favorite show on television. I keep up with some of the cast on their social media accounts and I love every single character even when they act truly despicable. But those facts about me are beside the point; this past episode of Shameless truly struck a nerve with me as Fiona Gallagher (Emmy Rossum) and Debbie Gallagher (Emma Kenney) continued their feud about abortion. On Shameless, we get to see both sides of the argument about abortion; Debbie, a young high school girl, wants to have her baby and even planned to conceive it. Fiona on the other hand, Debbie’s older, mother-like sister, accidentally got pregnant and even has her abortion on the most recent episode.
Whatever your feelings about abortion are, you can’t deny that this episode is iconic. As a woman, Shameless has made me proud. It’s not everyday you see an episode of a program where a woman is adamant about her choice on pregnancy and abortion, especially one so raw, real, and gritty as Fiona’s and Debbie’s experiences have been. Throughout the past few episodes, Fiona has been hounding Debbie to get an abortion. Her arguments include common ones that come to mind like, a child can’t raise another child, you will be financially burdened for the rest of your life, your child is likely to end up in this exact same situation down to road, and so on. On the flip side, Debbie hounds Fiona on her choices to get an abortion as well; you’re killing a person, you don’t even know for sure who the father is.
We’ve come to a point in the season where Debbie is most likely going to give birth to a child and Fiona has already terminated hers. Debbie has even attempted to throw herself a gender-reveal party, but as teenage pregnancy goes, that didn’t go as planned. What has really found a place in my mind though is Fiona’s abortion. While the camera focuses on Fiona’s face and top-half of her body, there is still audible conversation between the doctor and Fiona. Fiona is clearly feeling discomfort with the procedure because, you know, abortion isn’t a walk in the park either. When it’s over, she discusses with her boss, who is also her boyfriend, how uncomfortable she feels. She’s bleeding. She’s wearing a maxi pad. She’s craving a milkshake. And even though this moment of the season is only a few minutes long, it really shines a light on women’s health. Why? Because both Fiona and Debbie have chosen what is personally right for them and what is right for their bodies. Why else? Because Shameless has included an open dialogue between characters about abortion that aren’t cute and neatly wrapped up in a bow, but are graphic, unapologetic, and honest.
Fiona has shown the audience that it is OK if you choose to have an abortion. Yes, it might hurt. Yes, you may be emotional and hormonal. Yes, you may have second, third, and fourth thoughts. Yes, it is OK to tell your boyfriend that you are pregnant but don’t plan on having the baby. All of these things are subjective because not everyone will agree on what is good or bad for their own body. Women must be able to choose what is right for their own bodies and their own lives without stigma and without others telling them their opinion like they even have a right to.
Debbie has shown the audience that it is OK if you become pregnant and choose to keep the baby. Yes, it is going to be very hard. Yes, you might find that it is hard to find a partner who can handle your situation. Yes, you might not receive all of the support you were expecting to. Again, women are autonomous and have every right to be. Women should not live in fear every time they need to visit Planned Parenthood because who knows, maybe they are about to get an abortion. Maybe they are not. Maybe they are getting their annual exam or maybe they want to discuss their birth control options with someone. Regardless of the reason, women have the right to their own bodies and I thank Shameless for what they have shown us on their most recent episode. They have shown us the nitty-gritty of both situations and they’ve done it in an educational way. Not one that is purely for shock value or one that we only see during our high school sex-ed classes. Thanks, Shameless. I will always be a fan.