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Kerry Washington Explains The Importance Of Showing Abortion On TV

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Photo: David Buchan/Variety/REX Shutterstock.
Scandal was praised for its depiction of Olivia Pope's abortion in the show's midseason finale, and in a new interview, Kerry Washington explained why the plotline was so important.

Washington told Women's Wear Daily that abortion is "a reality, and more often than not, it’s a really difficult choice to make. The same was true for Olivia." The actress went on to describe how depicting stories like Olivia's negates the idea that there is anything "shameful" about the topic of abortion. "But by not having those moments represented in media, we add to the idea that there’s something shameful to be talked about," she said. "It’s always important that our storytelling reflects the real experiences of human beings, because it allows us to not feel as alone.”

Following the episode's airing, The Atlantic's Lenika Cruz wrote that "Scandal should prove a meaningful example to other shows moving forward for the straightforward, unflinching, but sensitive way it handled the big moment." Television pioneer Norman Lear said he "love[d] the way it was handled" in an interview with Time.

In the WWD interview, Washington also discussed supporting Hillary Clinton's presidential bid ("Why is the ability of a woman to be president even a question?") and her role as Anita Hill, who famously accused then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, in HBO's Confirmation. "We all need to remember this story," she said. "The hearings put sexual harassment on the table and changed our cultural conversation around gender and sexuality at work and around victims’ rights — and about racism — on a national stage. We deal with a lot of these issues in a much more evolved way as a society."

Washington is also an executive producer on the film, which will air in April.
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