I don’t watch TV, unless a bad cold or flu leaves me brain-dead and with no other abilities besides staring at a screen. That’s how I first came across the HBO series GIRLS. But unlike many other shows, GIRLS got me hooked. I liked how it offered an often painfully accurate depiction of my generation – the millennials – but it did so with a sarcastic social commentary that made it entertaining.
Eventually, I learned more about Lena Dunham, the creator of the show, and then my Sunday night half-an-hour distraction turned into a fascinating study.
You see, Lena Dunham is almost as famous as a far-left liberal extremist as she is as a filmmaker, and GIRLS is often criticized for its frequent portrayals of drug-taking, nudity, and sex in positions that you may not even known were possible.
But as the series developed, it has become clear that if you cast aside the sex, the drugs, and the nudity – although it is doubtful if you can ever truly forget the image of Lena Dunham nude – then GIRLS is one of the most conservative and pro-life TV series in years.
The show’s conservative messages are plenty. All the girls featured in GIRLS learn at the end of the series that in order to be truly happy, you need to give up your promiscuous, drug-taking lifestyle and get a job. Or you need to drop your drug-taking spouse and get a job. Or you need to marry a nice boy. Or you need to move out of the city where people crap on the street and into the countryside. The happy endings for all the GIRLS are all variations on a fairly conservative theme.
But since I spent the last few years working on a movie about abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, I’ll focus on the amazingly pro-life storyline of the show’s final season.
Lena Dunham, in her public persona, couldn’t be more pro-abortion. She is a committed supporter, financial contributor and promoter of Planned Parenthood. She famously dressed up as a Planned Parenthood doctor for Halloween. She even said on her podcast “Women of the Hour” that while she’s never had an abortion personally, she wishes she had so she could do her part to reduce the stigma around the issue.
One would think there is no better place to show her commitment to the pro-abortion message than her art – and her TV series is watched by and inspires a lot of young women. Dunham forgoes that opportunity once early on in the show, when one of the “Girls” Jessa believes she’s pregnant and plans to have an abortion, but ends up getting her period at the last minute. Rather convenient way of avoiding featuring abortion on your show, isn’t it?
There is one person who ends up having an off-screen abortion in the series – Adam’s temporary girlfriend Mimi-Rose – but she turns out to be a jerk who is too infatuated with herself to love anyone else. Adam, who is very upset by her abortion, ends up in a morally superior position at the end of this relationship.
But the final season has one of the strongest pro-life storylines of any TV series in years.
Hannah Horvath, played by Dunham, displays a strong pro-life attitude from the very second she discovers she’s having an unplanned pregnancy. When the doctor informs her about it and immediately offers help with termination, Hannah fires back, without any hesitation:
“What makes you think I want an abortion?”
Well, perhaps because you are such big Planned Parenthood booster and your audience would expect you’d give your beloved “women’s choice” at least the 5 minutes of fame on your show. But nope, not even 5 seconds.
In the following episodes, you never even get an impression that there is “a choice” to be made. Hannah searches to find out what her baby looks like at 8 weeks and holds up a lentil to get an idea. She does make a list of reasons why having a baby at her stage in life would be irresponsible, but her behavior confirms the obvious conclusion that such reasons are irrelevant once life takes hold.
She endures a number of difficult moments – including her best friend Elijah denouncing her decision as terrible and telling her she’d be a terrible mother – but she never waivers.
In the post-show commentary, Dunham seems to feel she has to defend her decision for the main character to keep the baby.
She says, “That felt like a cool alternative way of depicting of what an unplanned pregnancy could look like.”
Actually, that’s not an alternative way; it’s the conservative way.
Perhaps the most moving and oh-so-pro-life moment comes when Hannah explains her decision to her mother:
“I’ve been doing all the big thinking about the ways that my life is gonna change and the little thinking like about how I’m gonna have to start drinking water, and any way that I think about it I just get this feeling that…”
Hannah hesitates. Her mother finishes the sentence about her eight week pregnancy. This is no fetus, this is no clump of cells.
“This is your baby,” her mother says.
“This is my baby,” Hannah tearfully agrees.
And the choice to kill your baby just doesn’t seem like a choice at all, does it, Lena?
Because if you truly believe what you say to your followers, that abortion is a fundamental women’s right – that it is cool and easy and should be available on demand – why wouldn’t you use your power on a national show to give it the spotlight you think it deserves?
Dunham is a pro-life conservative. She was born this way.
Magdalena Segieda is a film producer and director. Together with filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney she produced a true crime drama “Gosnell” (starring “young Superman” Dean Cain) about the Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell who was sentenced to life in prison for killing live babies and women. The movie is planned to be released theatrically in the fall of 2017.