Overall, I was fairly pleased with the way they handled it on this show.
Ryan may or may not have knocked up an old girlfriend named Theresa, in that she is definitely pregnant but it may or may not be his. The alternative is that it may be her abusive fiancé’s. Obviously neither is an ideal situation.
She tells him that he’s clearly not ready to handle this and she’s not ready to handle it either, so she’s not going to have the baby. She’s going to planned parenthood in the morning.
I though man, there is no way she is going to actually go through with this abortion.
Kirsten, Ryan’s legal guardian, offers to drive Theresa to her appointment and be there for her. It’s just an initial consultation apparently, because afterwards they are having lunch and talking about going back the next day.
During their lunch, it seems for a moment like Kirsten is trying to talk her out of it and I was not on board. But I think Kirsten was just picking up on cues that Theresa wasn’t feeling very sure about her decision. Theresa says something about how it just “makes the most sense” and Kirsten tells her she doesn’t have to make the decision that makes the most sense. Theresa says that’s not fair for her to say with her perfect life, and after a back-and-forth says something like “this would never happen to you.”
Then there’s an awkward silence, which heavily implies that this *did* in fact happen to her.
Kirsten says that she doesn’t regret her decision at all, but she just wished that she had had someone to talk to about it at the time. And she wants Theresa to know that she’s there for her to talk to no matter what decision she makes.
And of course, she makes the decision not to go through with the abortion, instead she’s going to move back in with her mom and raise the baby there.
I would not expect any TV show in 2004 (or probably even in 2016) on a basic cable network to actually have someone go through with an abortion.
But to have one of the main characters (the adults are just as heavily featured on this show as the teenagers—I think she’s actually the first name listed in the opening credits), and one whose life is so great (great house, wonderful relationship with her husband, consistently shown to be a great parent) to say that she had an abortion and she didn’t regret it is pretty big.
The one thing that I thought was a bit of a bummer was that in a discussion she had with her husband later it was clear he had no idea. She says something about understanding what Theresa is going through and when he says “what does that mean” she brushes it off. She of course should not feel obligated to share this personal decision with anyone, but like I said their relationship is often portrayed as incredibly good. They have some dramatic bumps of course but they’re generally pretty open with each other. So I wish it were portrayed as something she could talk about with him.
Overall though, a mildly enthusiastic two thumbs up for the way they handled this.