Shonda Rhimes on Fitz Learning About ‘Scandal’ Abortion: ‘Does He Have To? A Woman Made a Choice About Her Body’

Scadal Paleyfest
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Earlier this season, Kerry Washington’s “Scandal” character made the decision to get an abortion on the ABC series. Since that November episode, that storyline has not been touched on — and the likely father of the unborn baby, Tony Goldwyn’s President Fitz, never knew about the pregnancy or the abortion.

On Tuesday night during “Scandal’s” panel at PaleyFest at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, during the Q&A portion of the event, a fan asked show creator Shonda Rhimes when Fitz will find out about the abortion.

“My question is, does he have to?” Rhimes responded. “A woman made a choice about her body that she legally has the right to make. I haven’t actually decided, but I wonder sometimes. We talk about it a lot.”

Back when the episode aired, conservative groups were quick to judge the show, calling the storyline “Hollywood’s moral depravity on full display.” However, Planned Parenthood praised the episodes. Viewers were divided.


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Rhimes was asked another question revolving around Fitz and Olivia’s relationship, specifically a crowd member inquiring if and when the fan-favorite couple will ever get back together.

“Olivia is on a journey and Olivia has been on a journey since we started. It’s interesting to me that her primary story is a romance — that’s what you’ve seen — because to me, her primary story has been discovering herself,” Rhimes responded to the fan who asked the question. “I’m happy that you have fallen in love with Fitz because that is the journey that Olivia went on … she went on the fantasy and she realized that the fantasy was not real. That does not mean that she does not love Fitz, that does not mean Fitz does not deserve love. It just means that Olivia does not know who she is yet.”

The on-screen couple did briefly get back together this season in a story arc that had Washington’s character living in the White House with the TV president, basically taking on the role of a First Lady. Tonight, Rhimes called that a “farce.” She explained “to basically be an appendage of him was never going to work … For Olivia, the breaking free of that, while painful, was the first step of realizing that she was not who she was supposed to be.”

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  1. Oliviacarolynpope says:

    Sorry Ms. Rhimes, but you’re writing a show that the fans don’t want to see. You may not see the Olitz storyline as Olivia’s front running story, but the majority of the fans don’t see a show called Scandal being about one woman’s journey to self-discovery. It’s about a fixer who’s sleeping with the President. Your fans are p!ssed. Fix it next season, please!

  2. singsongsoy says:

    Shonda is trying to make a 180 turn with Scandal. It won’t work just like the abortion for shock and awe purposes did not work. The Shondaland brand is now TOXIC. The fans did not buy into this turn. Did not buy into elevating minor characters as leads. And will not support future Shondaland productions as before. Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall never to whole again.

  3. hiwi says:

    It is not about her body, it is abt a life in her and the decent thing to do was at least to let the father know…..anyways the way i see it, shonda is an angry woman and she is taking her ‘shows’ to a very cold unpleasant place….it’s a shame she doesn’t want us to enjoy her brilliance!

  4. Ann says:

    While I don’t disagree with Shonda’s sentiment that Olivia doesn’t need permission to do something to her own body, does she forget that it takes two people to make a baby? Why doesn’t Fitz deserve the courtesy of being informed?olivia doesn’t need to ask permission or look for validation, it could be simple. “This happened, I’m just letting you know.”

  5. Lisa says:

    I don’t normally comment on specific plots of shows, but the fact that a woman should let the father know about an abortion is giving it the air that she requires permission to do something about her life, or she needs accountability for her actions from a man. Like she did something wrong….still. This is the 21 century, a woman can do what she wants without the ‘okay’ of a man. Men do it all the time! It’s not okay for them to leave their kids and not pay child support, but many do this kind of thing without the ‘okay’ of the mother.

    • Rue says:

      If people thought she needed permission they wouldn’t be suggesting she tell him after the fact.
      IMO, Olivia doesn’t need to tell Fitz IF she doesn’t ever intend to be with him again, (in which case she should stay away from the Oval office and stop offering unsolicited advice)
      If, however, she does intend to have any honest involvement with him going forward, he should know, because that honesty is integral to a functioning relationship, even if it’s a platonic one.

      The reason people were really upset is that Olivia’s spent seven years saying she loved Fitz and at least two saying she wanted children with him, came on TV and said she couldn’t stop loving him.
      Fast forward weeks later and this middle aged, financially solvent woman is aborting the pregnancy she SAID she wanted without warning or explanation to anyone, even the audience.
      It’s illogical and thus jarring and thus upset to a lot of people.
      Even if Olivia had a healthy TOOTH extracted without any explanation and then came home, verbally attacked Fitz and dumped him people would have complained because they would be confused. it’s too much to do without context.

      I’m as pro-choice as they come and even I found the way it was done troubling, as the way it was filmed, with her popping in for a quickie abortion lived down to every anti choice stereotype about women who have abortions and particularly about black women having abortions. With the big dog talk, it played into the stereotype of the selfish women who has an abortion because a baby might get in her way, while also departing from everything we previously thought we knew about what Olivia wanted.

      This show has handled abortion before and much better. This time it seemed like an abortion with little or no forethought and a portrayal like that HARMS the cause of female reproductive rights by making women look whimsical.

      It did women no favours at all.

  6. Artiewhitfox says:

    It is not her body. It is a potential person to be in God’s kingdom loving others even as they want to be loved not being a hypocrite refusing to destroy their neighbour with their mouth.

    • GKN says:

      Artie, before we even try to decipher that, please learn a little punctuation for starts. (things like commas and periods). It probably won’t solve the problem entirely, but it will help.

  7. Nina says:

    Sounds a lot like someone who can’t write her characters out of the hole she dropped them into. Regardless of where this journey takes her story it doesn’t seem to be one viewers want to watch since scandal has lost 5 million viewers since the midseason finale.

    • Kat Aston says:

      That’s just it Olivia’s journey doesn’t change. Yes she broke up with Fitz as usual, but now she’s best buddies with his ex-wife. So Fitz is still part of Olivia’s life, therefore her journey. That part doesn’t make sense, but oh well we have to believe it. I just want to see where this type storytelling is going to take Scandal. Everything we’ve see and heard is not longer true.

    • Lisa says:

      Okay ‘Nina’, how is this not being able to write a character out of a hole? Forgive me if I’m taking this too literally but are you inferring that telling the male character that she had an abortion would be writing her out of the hole?

      • Nina says:

        It’s just not taking responsibility for the storyline she created. She fast forwarded the show with a time jump for the abortion never to be brought up again. That’s the hole I’m talking about.

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