Skip to comments.Downton Abbey's Pro-Life Message
Posted on 02/16/2014 1:59:31 PM PST by Kaslin
Longtime fans of Downton Abbey probably think the writers dont want their characters to live happily ever after. Understandably so, considering all the tragedies that tainted season three. But, one recent storyline is so reassuringly pro-life, it seems viewers are allowed to smile for once.
For anyone who hasnt seen the popular British program, heres a brief introduction to the family at its core: The Crawleys are an aristocratic family in the early 20th century. Lord Grantham and his wife Cora share a huge castle with their three daughters Mary, Edith and Sybil. Its the middle Crawley sister, Edith, who is at the center of the shows recent pro-life plot.
Known as the sister who always seems to be unlucky in love, Ediths relationship troubles continue with her new lover Michael. After spending the night with him, especially controversial since Michael is still technically married (it's a long story), the latter mysteriously goes missing and Edith learns shes pregnant. Her initial reaction to both his disappearance and her condition is panic. After painful deliberation, she decides to take a trip to London - to abort her unborn child.
Almost as soon as she arrives in London, however, she starts to regret her decision. Through tears, Edith has the following conversation with her Aunt Rosamund:
Im not even sure what frightens me most what may have happened to Michael, or the baby.
What do you propose to do?
Its hard to say the words, but Ive decided to get rid of it.
How terrible it is to hear that.
Later, Aunt Rosamund asks Edith if shes thought about how her decision will affect Michael.
I am killing the wanted child of a man Im in love with and you ask me if Ive thought about it!
I assume youll be away for the night because youve booked into some place that will do this?
A few things here are worth noting. First, both characters acknowledged Ediths unborn child was a baby. Not a fetus or mass of cells - a baby. Even more significant, Edith understood she was killing a child by going through with the procedure. Finally, the disgust with which Aunt Rosamund showed talking about the abortion clinic Edith is planning to visit, reveals what she thinks of such a place that performs these unspeakable deeds.
The dialogue between these two characters proved to be profound enough. But, what followed was a scene Ill never forget.
The clinic looked ominous even before they walked through the door. As ill-omened music plays in the background, Edith and her aunt finally step inside to find a dark lobby, the only light coming through a small window. In a chilling moment, Edith hears a young woman crying. She peeks inside the room from where the noise is coming and sees the abortionist trying to console the patient who just ended her pregnancy. It doesnt take Edith long to act. As soon as the nurse opens the door, Edith proclaims, Im terribly sorry to waste your time, but this is a mistake. So, she packs up her things and walks out.
Im sure I wasnt the only pro-lifer who was mentally applauding at that moment. I commend head writer Julian Fellowes and the whole Downton team for this weighty episode. What could have been a tragedy turned into one of the most beautiful moments of the show. Instead of succumbing to her fears and assuming she would be scorned for giving birth to a bastard child, Edith chooses to give her unborn baby the greatest gift a mother can give. As for the sinister aura of the clinic, it represents the tragedies that occur in similar clinics every day, no more so than the horrid conditions discovered at Kermit Gosnell's 'House of Horrors.'
The trailer for this Sundays episode reveals Edith considering another, better option for her new son or daughter: adoption.
So, even if youve never seen the Emmy-award winning show, tune into Downton Abbey tonight to see one of its main characters make a beautiful, life saving decision.
I’m a Downton Abbey fan, and even more so after watching last week’s touching episode. I agree with the article’s author...an excellent description of the situation and the scenes.
Not totally pro-life
I am killing the wanted child ...”
“wanted child” is a modern pro-abortion term..
no 1910-20 woman would have said that..
Since I was not living in the 1920’s, I would hardly know if ‘wanted” or “unwanted” would have the political connotations that it does today.
Of course, since you lived in the 1920’s and were old enough to know what terms would be used and always in the context they would use them, I guess we disagree (DUCKING because of my reference to your, ahem, ‘age’)
Nothing says conservative like a woman having one-night stands with married men.
Perhaps her dead sisters husband will marry her so as to protect the family’s honor. They can then keep the baby.
We all sin. It is what you do after the sin that matters.
For all the things wrong with it, the tv show “Glee” also has a strong pro-life stand.
When the head cheerleader, Quinn gets pregnant, she flat-out says, “Abortion is not even an option”, and gives her baby up to be adopted. Rachel is adopted (yes she was adopted by 2 gay men, like I said it’s far from perfect). And When Sue Sylvester finds out that the baby she’s pregnant with will have Down’s Syndrome, her reaction is “I’ll love my baby no matter what”.
Actually, I was totally impressed as well.
I was sure after the preceding episode that she was going to go for an abortion and I almost didn’t watch this episode because I didn’t want to dislike the character. But I was really impressed by the scene, really impressed with the honesty with which it was handled, and completely amazed to see it dealt with this way by a mass market program.
Congratulations to them, and I hope they stay true to this. It’s a very positive message for all young women who find themselves in that situation.
Does the anachronism matter? It’s actually even braver for using a modern term.
Also, I’m not sure it’s an anachronism. The concept of “wanted” children (that is, wished for by a married couple) and “unwanted” children has been around for a long time, and IIRC the eugenicists of the turn of the century mentioned it. Since, naturally, a “wanted” child would only be one born to an upper or academic class white couple...
I’m a Downton fan too, and I was amazed and grateful for the dialogue!!!!
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Well, even adopted by 2 gay men is alive...so that’s a positive! I haven’t watched that particular show, but I wonder if there’s a sort of reaction going on among younger people and perhaps most of the women the Wendy Davis-type message supposedly appeals to are older women who think they’re being trendy.
Actually, time and again surveys have shown that the people most in favor of abortion are young and middle-aged men, which should tell us something.
I thought I was up to speed on my pro-abort terms.......and it never crossed my mind that she was using modern lingo.
I took it as she wanted this baby because she realized it is a child and she is in love with the father.
Yep....but that falls under the category of "he needed killing".
I didn’t say anything about “wanted”.
It is good that she did not carry out her desire to kill the baby, although probably just from being scared of that place.
That doesn’t give her a reprieve.
It will be interesting to see how the affair between Lady Rose and the black Rag Time singer turns out. If a pregnancy results, that could be more difficult to resolve. I suppose that Rose could go on a grand tour of Europe, or travel to America, then put the baby up for adoption.
A reprieve from what?
BTW, I think I mistakenly clicked on your post with my reply...somebody above you said something about “wanted.” My apologies!
Sorry, but the evil Margaret Sanger (whom I have studied for years), was in her hay day in the 1920’s. One of her most famous speeches began with the line, “It is the right of every child to be wanted.”
It falls under the category of......justice!
I felt uplifted that for whatever reasons, selfish or otherwise, the baby was saved.
Many unplanned pregnancies are "hard cases," especially for the mother but God rejoices when the life that He began, is spared.
then if that was a current phrase of that period I stand corrected...
It is the right of every child to be wanted.
In a better world, a safe assumption would be that every child would be matched with an adult that wanted them.
Ping for after I see the final episode tonight.
Not a one night stand.
As the article says, it is complicated.
Her lover’s wife is committed to a mental hospital, and will never be released. He can not divorce under the laws at that time.
He has gone to Germany to live in the hopes of obtaining a divorce there.
Not that Edith is without dishonor here, but it is complicated.
Tonight’s episode is not the final one of the season.
Bates did it.....
Of course, abortion was considered to be murder back then.
Tonights episode is not the final one of the season.
My cable system appears not to carry PBS.
My impression is that the childless Rosamund had a similar experience, perhaps rendering herself infertile by an abortion she went through with. This is because of her surprising support for Edith, and the harsh comment from Edith to her: “I don’t mean to pull rank, but you’ve never had children.”
Interesting observation........could be true
Also, ‘Granny’ never ceases to surprise me
Oh, gotcha. Good to know. I like happy endings.
We (Husband and I) are big fans and look forward to watching it on Amazon once this season is over.
I don’t know if anyone else feels this way but I have to watch it in marathon sessions, one episode after another, because one episode at a time each week feels a bit like watching paint dry sometimes.
I love the castle, clothes and history of life in the 20’s England. I wish for the old days when gross immorality wasn’t something we strived for.
Don’t take my “satisfying” as a spoiler. A satisfying ending isn’t necessarily satisfying, but I’m won’t say either way.
Silly me, I searched for “Downton” on the cable and never found it. Turned out I should have searched for “Masterpiece” (duh!)