Leave it to showrunner Shonda Rhimes to ignite political debate.

On Thursday night’s episode of ABC’s Scandal — the mid-season finale — protagonist Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) ended a surprise pregnancy with an abortion. Meanwhile, former First Lady and current Republican Senator Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) led a filibuster on the Senate floor to avoid the passage of a bill that would have put Planned Parenthood under “discretionary spending.”

Shondaland shows (including How To Get Away With Murder and Grey’s Anatomy) never shy away from controversy. But this particular Scandal plotline hit close to home for many people amid a presidential election season where women’s reproductive rights often become a debate topic. Read more…

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‘Scandal’ episode’s abortion, Planned Parenthood plot sparks debate