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'Scandal' Abortion Episode Sparks Controversy

ABC's 'Scandal' episode sparks controversy over Planned Parenthood and abortions.

ABC's hit drama Scandal dropped a major bombshell on Thursday, seeming to show the lead character Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington, ending a pregnancy she may have had with her lover, President Fitzgerald Grant. Earlier in the episode another character, former First Lady Mellie Grant, now divorced and the junior Senator from Virginia, filibustered a spending bill which might have helped Congress end funding to Planned Parenthood. The result was a major focus at the heart of issues affecting women's reproductive health and the politics surrounding them. Presented as part of Scandal's winter finale, Thursday's episode drew a ton of reaction online. Planned Parenthood tweeted "Thanks to (Scandal executive producer) @shondarhimes for standing with Planned Parenthood & for being groundbreaking creator." E! Online declared the finale "left us speechless." After the episode aired, star Kerry washington, tweeted two hashtags: #Istandwithmellie and #istandwithplannedparenthood. In the episode, her character is shown helping Senator Grant continue the filibuster, which is hailed in the episode as the longest in American history. But not everyone supported the episode. Writer for the conservative news website Newsbusters, called the episode an hourlong "advertisement for Planned Parenthood," calling the scenes where Pope is undergoing an abortion a "Truly vile...stomach churning scene." She accused the writers of implying that an unborn child is "an illness" and hinderance in life. In the episode, a gospel version of "Silent Night" plays in teh background, as Pope's father gives a speech about how family makes you weak, saying "family doesn't complete you...it destroys you." While he is giving his monologue, images of Pope undergoing a medical procedure which looks like an abortion. The scene ends with a close up on Pope's face. The scenes were a rare moment for network television, which does not regularly show characters ending their pregnancies through abortion much less depicting the abortion on camera. Shows such as Sex and the City, Mad Men and Desperate Housewives have shown women thinking about abortion, but ultimately deciding not to have the abortion. Recent Scandal news: What did you think of the episode? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below!