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Law & Order takes on late-term abortion in “Dignity”

October 28, 2009

Law & Order took a lot of us by surprise last week.  A late-term abortionist is murdered in Church (Tiller redux) and the killer must stand trial. There were a few quasi-lame depictions of pro-lifers (but they did try).  Of course, anyone familiar with late-term abortion knows that these are the procedures typically reserved for the babies with birth defects and genetic syndromes. Truly,  what was placed on the stand in this episode is the very dignity of the lives of these  babies. The killer dramatically interrupts one woman’s appointment to terminate at 28 weeks after her baby was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos – a condition that is manageable and survivable, though with many challenges.  Another mom refuses to share testimony about  her baby, aborted in the 7th month after it was discovered he had anencephaly, though an attending nurse is called to describe the procedure. And yet another mom featured carried her baby to term with Meckel-Gruber syndrome (just like Will, one of the sweet babies on BNA). Kudos to the script team – they were able to make a woman’s choice not to abort not only reasonable, but even laudable. (Pinch me)


Assistant D.A. Connie Rubirosa experiences an awakening regarding the moral complexity of abortion – but not in the direction you might expect on prime time TV. D.A. Jack McCoy concludes, “It’s a big messy world. Work it out,” instead of, “Who’s to say what’s right or wrong?” This show was a pleasant surprise – the kind of boost that compels former labor and delivery nurse Jill Stanek to ask, “Is pro-life the new gay?” Whatever the case, this one is worth your time . . . 42 mins or so without commercials.

Law & Order: “Dignity”

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