Days of Our Lives has long shied away from abortion storylines.
Salem women who don't want to be pregnant often go to the abortion clinic, only to change their minds before their names are called. Mimi had an abortion in 2002, but that same year, Shawn talked Jan out of having one, and the soap hasn't tackled an abortion story since.
That all changed on Days of Our Lives during the week of 11-28-22 when Jada told Eric she had terminated her pregnancy.
It's high time for Days of Our Lives to explore this storyline. This soap has always confronted real-world social issues; it was the first to suggest marital rape is real in the late 1980s, and in the early 2000s, it hosted daytime's first male-male wedding.
If ever there was a time for soap operas to take a stand regarding abortion, it's now, when some states are banning the practice, and the Republican party is threatening to enact a national abortion ban if it gets the power to do so.
Days of Our Lives should be applauded for going there when it may upset a portion of the show's fan base. They've done a great job of reinforcing the idea that it's the woman's choice whether or not to carry a baby to term.
Jada: I'm not pregnant anymore.
Eric: You had a miscarriage? I'm so sorry. Why didn't you call me?
Jada: I didn't have a miscarriage. I terminated my pregnancy.
Eric: Without telling me?
Jada: It's my body, my choice. You told me you understood that.
Even ex-priest Eric supports the idea of a woman's right to choose, at least in the abstract. He didn't do so well with learning that Jada decided to terminate the pregnancy when he was the father.
That said, the rushed nature of this story makes it feel like Jada's choice to have an abortion is nothing more than a plot point.
Jada spoke with Nicole, told Rafe she didn't want to have the baby anymore, and told Eric she'd terminated her pregnancy within a couple of episodes.
Having it happen that quickly and having the abortion be entirely off-screen is problematic for several reasons.
Storywise, it confused viewers. Even after Jada cried in Kate's arms, fans wondered whether Jada really had an abortion.
Days of Our Lives is known for twists like this, but if they were to undo the fact of this abortion, it would also undermine whatever support the show is trying to show for reproductive rights.
In addition, it skipped an important beat. The corollary to "my body, my choice" is that abortion should be between the pregnant person and their doctor.
While DAYS didn't have to show the abortion in graphic detail, it would have added to the impact if Jada had gone to Kayla and discussed her options before deciding on the abortion rather than doing it all off-screen.
The worst aspect of this is that Jada is only a minor player in the aftermath of this story.
She told Eric she wanted nothing further to do with him now that they weren't having a baby, only for him to knock on her door the next day as if she'd said nothing. She ignored that knock, thankfully, but it was one of the catalysts for Eric to decide to drink.
Meanwhile, while Jada had one conversation with Kate in which she admitted she was conflicted after the fact, she's mostly been off-screen while Eric and Nicole deal with what this means for their relationship.
That's right. Jada chose to terminate her pregnancy, and the story is about the impact on Eric's ability to move on with Nicole. What message does that send?
Some fans argue that anyone pro-choice should castigate Nicole for telling Jada how hard single motherhood can be. That seems contradictory; either abortion is the mother's choice, or it isn't.
Castigating Nicole means conceding that Jada shouldn't have had an abortion and only did it because Nicole painted an unfairly bleak picture of her future.
This, too, is a strong anti-abortion message that doesn't need to be part of this storyline. Eric is essentially accusing Nicole of murdering his baby.
First of all, nobody can make someone else decide to have an abortion. The negative stereotype that women choose abortion on a whim is, for the most part, untrue, and this belief is one of the reasons people take an anti-abortion stand.
Secondly, abortion isn't murder, period, and Eric can't both be pro-choice and act like Nicole killed his baby.
It's possible to show that it's hard for a prospective father to face not having a baby while still supporting the mother's right to terminate the pregnancy if she so chooses, but this story hasn't done a great job of that.
Instead, 99% of the focus is on Eric and his difficulty accepting any of this.
The saddest thing is that DAYS could have had a strongly pro-choice story instead of this. Chanel's story would have been far more compelling and realistic if she'd had an abortion in college, and the father had now hired Sloan to sue her (or even arrest her for murder if abortion was illegal in Salem.)
Instead, the Sloan story has taken a hard turn into the absurd, while the Jada abortion story is about Eric's return to alcoholism over what he thinks both these women (but mostly Nicole) have done to him.
Days of Our Lives often depicts alcohol abuse in this ridiculous manner.
While it's realistic that Eric would be tempted to drink, people who have learned tools to help them avoid a relapse don't suddenly forget everything they've learned the second something happens.
Eric has a support system -- where are they? And has nobody suggested that it might be a bad idea for a recovering alcoholic to work in a bar, especially one frequented by everyone he knows?
Eric's drinking is terrible news; the last time he went on a bender, he killed Daniel in a drunk driving accident, and we don't need a repeat of that.
That also makes his castigation of Nicole that much worse. She forgave Eric for killing her finacé while drunk even though it wouldn't have happened if Eric had listened to her about taking a cab instead of driving.
Yet somehow, Nicole suggesting that single motherhood is challenging is an unforgivable sin. Gross.
Anyway, this time around, he ran into Nicole and EJ looking like they were getting intimate with each other. Eric's already had a little to drink, and the others are drunk, so this will not go anywhere good.
If only Eric watched Yellowstone, he might realize that nothing positive comes from getting into a bar fight over drunken people coming on to your partner. Sadly, all the alcohol in this scenario makes it likely that he will end up learning that the hard way.
Nicole should know better, too. Didn't her last breakup with Eric happen because she got drunk in a bar and ended up in Xander's bed? This encounter with EJ doesn't look much different.
EJ/Nicole shippers might be thrilled with these scenes, but it's also an annoying redux of the same mistake a different set of writers made with Aiden/Hope/Bo.
In 2015, the writers turned Aiden evil and broke up Aiden and Hope, only for Bo to "die" immediately after he and Hope got back together. That seemed pointless; if Bo wasn't going to be around long-term, why break her and Aiden up?
Hope was quickly shuffled into a relationship with Rafe when it would have made more sense to keep her with Aiden in the first place and let them mourn Bo's supposed death together.
Similarly, Nicole left Rafe for Eric, only for that to implode within two days. Now, it seems she's headed for a reconciliation with EJ.
What? Why not keep Nicole with Rafe if her relationship with Eric wouldn't last? Having Nicole jump from one guy to another at lightning speed makes her seem fickle and is disrespectful to Rafe/Nicole shippers.
There's no reason for Nicole's stories to only revolve around the man of the moment, either. Nicole is an intelligent, intuitive character who is at her best when uncovering secrets everyone wants to stay buried.
With Rafe working as the police commissioner, Nicole running a parallel investigation into some case he's trying to close would have given this couple adequate drama.
Instead, they were rarely on-screen together after they became a couple. Even their wedding -- which was nothing more than a bump in the road for Ericole -- was off-screen.
Then, Nicole magically fell in love with Eric after the 95th time Rafe told her that's how she felt, and he and Nicole imploded.
Am I the only one who feels cheated out of an actual story here?
Similarly, the stage has been set for Xander and Sarah's latest implosion. Sarah allowed Xander to come clean, and he didn't. Thanks to Gwen and the fake website she built in her spare time, Xander got away with the lies for now.
Xander and Sarah's marriage will limp along until the truth comes out, at which point Xander and Gwen will likely drown their sorrows together.
Yawn. Can we have something new for Xander, please? Or, at least, something less predictable?
There's one person who knows what Xander did: Susan. She's dead...for now. But how long will that last?
Kristen dressed up as Susan and almost fooled dimwit Brady, who had the sense to point out that EJ wouldn't be so easily duped. It was part of a convoluted plan to convince Brady that Kristen is a better person now by pretending to care about EJ's suffering. But could it also be foreshadowing that the real Susan is alive?
Let's hope so. I'd rather she return from the dead than Ava.
Ava is at her best when trying to be a decent human being. Plus, it's unclear whether she's real, a ghost, or a hallucination, and we had more than enough of that nonsense with Charlie's ghost pushing Ava to do bad things.
No one but EJ has seen Ava yet, but when she thought she saw Jake, he tried to use it to prove she was severely mentally ill. So would it surprise anyone if Ava attempted to do the same thing to EJ by only popping up when no one else was around?
EJ is lost in grief over Susan, which makes it likely that Ava is holding Susan captive somewhere. If so, let's get on with the reveal. These endless scenes of grief over Susan are tedious!
It also seems like Days of Our Lives is determined to drag out the Stefan brainwashing story.
Wendy: You remember when we were kids, and you took Father's Bentley for a joyride? The next day, he asked who put that scratch in it and you looked him right in the eye and said it wasn't you. But I could tell you were lying and I got the truth out of you.
Li: You threatened to poke me with a sharp stick until I told.
Wendy: I can always tell when you're lying. You were then and you are now. Do I need to get out my sharp stick?
Wendy and Johnny agreed to keep quiet for now. Who will crack first?
Stefan's also a wild card; he's choosing to go away with Chloe instead of attending Gabi and Li's wedding, but if he gets his memories back before or during the trip, that could spell disaster for Li.
Finally, Trask retaliated for Belle getting Chanel free on bail by having Paulina arrested.
If the good people of Salem are worried about corruption, they should look closely at their district attorney. While Abe was right that the optics of firing Trask now were terrible, he should have done so long ago.
Trask takes perverse pleasure in violating people's rights. She doesn't care whether Chanel is guilty or innocent; she wants another conviction regardless of the truth.
She is always pressing charges against the wrong people, only for her case to fall apart when the truth comes out. Why does she still have a job?
Trask has met her match in the equally despicable Sloan. Sloan also doesn't care what the truth is and will use any underhanded tactics she can dream up to get revenge.
The two are weaponizing the judicial system to hurt people they dislike, which needs to be stopped.
Sloan's rant against Chanel was an awful lot of refusal to accept that Sloan's parents were scum.
It happens that Chanel was defending herself after being lured to a rooftop by the wife of the man who was grooming her. But even if she had killed Sloan's mother on purpose, the fact is that the only person responsible for Sloan's father's choice to drink is the man who did all the drinking.
Sloan needs to grow up. She's gotten so used to making excuses for her guilty clients that she's forgotten that people are responsible for their own choices in life.
A couple of odds and ends:
- All the dialogue about Victor being an old curmudgeon is painful now that we know John Aniston has passed away. It's only a matter of time before we lose Victor, too, and that will be one of the saddest days in Salem history.
- Sonny's decision to forgive Leo is admirable and stupid at the same time. Also, since when do people in need of illustrations for a children's book advertise in the help wanted section of the newspaper?
- This Chad/Stephanie/Alex triangle has already worn out its welcome. Why does every woman in Salem have to have two men after her at the same time?
What do you think of the latest Salem goings-on, Days of Our Lives fanatics? Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know!
Don't forget to check back on Sunday for the latest Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
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