I guess I have some issues with the way that the abortion is being discussed right now. Deciding to not have a kid because you don’t have the support of a partner is still a choice, and it’s in fact a big part of why many people decide to have an abortion. That’s real, and it doesn’t equal manipulation. Amy looked at the reality of what she was facing and Dan’s behavior and decided. (And she doesn’t need insight from Sophie—she’s made enough cracks about Sophie being a single mom. She gets it.)
Anon, I think it’s useful here to clarify that my complaint really isn’t with Amy having an abortion in and of itself. There are many, many reasons women make that choice and it’s not for me – or anyone else – to pass judgment on their decisions. Choosing not to have a child if you can’t do it without the support of a partner seems pretty damn reasonable to me.
But it’s important that I’m clear on this – my questioning the choices Veep’s writers made in structuring Amy’s arc is not the same thing, at all, as questioning whether Amy’s reasoning is “good enough.”
And one of the biggest problems is that Amy’s moment of decision happens over about forty-five seconds, from beginning to end, and even with a fine actress in the part, it just isn’t enough to convey that Amy has come to the decision entirely independently of Dan and Selina’s ongoing emotional abuse.
The writers had choices here – they didn’t have to make every single character Amy spoke to about her pregnancy relentlessly awful to her. I think it would sit a lot better if the show hadn’t gone out of its way to confirm that absolutely no one in Amy’s life was going to give her any support. Take away Selina and Gary being so horrible to her – with Selina docking Amy’s pay and threatening her future emoployment – take away Sophie using the opportunity of the abortion to sleep with Dan again, and have her be at least mildly supportive – have Dan say “do what you want and I’ll pay my due, but just that and no more” – have someone, anyone, behave like a reasonable human being (a woman of Amy’s age considering having a child should come as a surprise to precisely no one) and suddenly it’s much, much easier to believe that Amy’s choice was her own.
How the writers choose to frame things matters. They can say whatever they choose about what they intended, but… when you have all the other characters back Amy into a corner (metaphorically speaking) and the only way she gets out it is by doing what they want, I think it’s fair to question how free the choice was. Because believe you me, I wouldn’t be half or even a quarter so pissed off if I thought it was something she really wanted (except about the Meaghan thing, because come on).
If Veep had written an abortion storyline that really demonstrated how and why access to abortion gives women greater control over their own lives and thus more safety and security (by, for instance, giving them the tools to escape shitheads like Dan), I would throw them a parade. Those are stories people need to hear, over and over again.
Now, I don’t think they did – but opinions may very well differ on that point.