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‘The Good Wife’ Tackles Abortion, Surrogacy

“The Good Wife” offered little comic relief this week (Unfortunate, since we get a cameo from none other than Donna Moss!) But we got something arguably better: a thoughtful and fair look at abortion through the lens of a surrogacy contract.

An amnio test revealed the baby would have a 15% survival rate outside the womb. If the surrogate, Tara, does not abort the baby, she will be in breach of contract. But Tara has changed her mind- she knows this baby is healthy; she’s felt him kicking.

I’m impressed with “The Good Wife.” It hardly came out and said abortion is wrong, but it did let Alicia defend the pro-life character. It also brought up common, complicated questions about the process of surrogacy. Who has control over the baby—the biological mother or the surrogate who carries the child? One claims it’s her genetic material, the other claims it’s her body. The biological mother strongly believes Tara doesn’t “get to use the word ‘choice.’”

It’s an interesting, but unsurprising, moment of truth when Kathy (the biological mother) turned against her surrogate after realizing Tara may keep the baby. Just hours earlier she was embracing the young girl, telling her she was part of their family as she told Tara she would set up the appointment at the abortion clinic.

During the trial (and in the clip below), Kathy used the ruse that she doesn’t want to bring a child into the world just for it to suffer. Instead she wants to kill it before it has a chance to be one of the 15% of survivors. Ironic.

After the judge decided that “control of one's body is an absolute,” and “to compel an abortion is an affront to public policy,” they discovered the timetable was wrong. Tara is actually already in her third trimester and the arguments were all moot anyway.

The surrogate/biological parent relationship ended on a sad note:

Kathy: “You're selfish, Tara. It'd be one thing if you said ‘I'm adopting him,’ but you're walking away.”

Tara: “Remember what you said, Kathy, after the first sonogram? ‘Do everything you can to protect my baby.’ 

Kathy: (scoffs) “This isn't protecting. It's owning.”

Tara: “I'm keeping him alive. That's the only way I know how to protect him. Feel him kicking, Kathy. Just feel him.”

Kathy: “No”