HOLLYWOOD (Christian Examiner) – ABC's popular program "Scandal" has never shied away from controversy, but a recent episode that showed the lead character having an abortion to the tune of "Silent Night" has led to an outcry from the pro-life community.
The episode in question aired the week prior to Thanksgiving and showed lead character Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) on an operating table, staring up at the lights, as a female doctor performs the procedure.
In the background a choir can be heard, singing, "glories streams from Heaven afar; heavenly hosts sing, 'Alleluia'" – part of the lyrics to "Silent Night."
The episode would have been controversial even without the song, but the choice of music was particularly offensive to Christians, pro-lifers and conservatives.
The same show also featured a Planned Parenthood angle, whereby a Republican senator filibustered a bill that could have impacted the group's government funding.
"Hollywood's liberal values permeate movies and television," the Media Research Center said in a statement. "Last night's episode of ABC's Scandal was pretty much an hour-long advertisement for Planned Parenthood. In the most disturbing scene, the main character has an abortion to 'Silent Night' (a hymn celebrating the birth of Jesus) playing in the background. This is Hollywood's moral depravity on full display."
The pro-life group Live Action, led by Lila Rose, launched a petition that, thus far, has gotten more than 31,000 signatures.
"We demand that ABC, and its parent company, Disney, publicly commit to never promote abortion as a positive alternative on your networks," the petition reads. "Airing abortion propaganda only desensitizes people to the destruction of innocent life and denies abortion's psychological and physical harm to women".
The petition continues, "Abortion is not real 'choice' or "women's health care.' It is a violence against the helpless preborn child, disempowering to its mother, and a grave human rights abuse that divides our families and our nation.
Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood applauded the show.
"Millions of people who tune into Scandal every Thursday night learned that our rights to reproductive health care are under attack," Planned Parenthood said. "We applaud [show creator] Shonda Rhimes ... for proving that when women are telling our stories, the world will pause and watch."