The ABC comedy sitcom “The Conners” has never strayed away from taboo topics, and this time, the newly-announced pregnancy of one of its characters ignited a debate over abortion.
Actress Emma Kenney, who plays “Harris” in the show, announced her pregnancy during Wednesday night’s episode, and her family, who has generations of young parents, had mixed reactions to the news.
Harris’s grandfather, Dan, played by John Goodman, urged her to “seriously consider having this baby” after she broke the news.
“Look, I know this is a shock, and you’re probably feeling there is no way I am ready to have this baby, but we’ve all felt like that,” he said. “There is never enough time, there is never enough money or enough anything you just make it happen, and somehow it all works out.”
But Laurie Metcalf, who plays “Jackie” in the series, insinuated Harris should reconsider proceeding with the pregnancy.
“Harris, my opinion is that you need to go with your gut on this and I think that I know what your decision is going to be,” Jackie told her.
“How do you know?” Dan quickly shot back.
“Because if Harris wasn’t pregnant, there is no way she would be thinking about having a kid,” Jackie said. “Harris, I love you, I don’t think you’re prepared for this. I had to make this choice when I was your age and I knew that I wasn’t ready, and it was a decision that I’ve never regretted so if you decide that that’s what’s right for you, I support that.”
Harris’s mother “Darlene” in the sitcom, played by Sara Gilbert, had a very dogmatic opinion right out of the gate, citing her own experience as a young mother and the struggles she faced throughout her journey.
“I am thrown that you feel this is something to even think about,” she told Harris.
“If I could go back and really think it through and choose to have you later and on way more solid ground I would do that,” she continued. “People who don’t have money and who have kids at your age just continue the cycle of poverty.”
“The Conners” is a sitcom that depicts an ultra-relatable working-class family in Illinois struggling to tackle life’s challenges. The show has addressed topics such as religion, mass shootings and gender identity.
The ABC series airs every Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. ET.
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