Scandal! Showrunner Shonda Rhimes Joins Planned Parenthood Board

April 6th, 2017 3:11 PM

Showrunner Shonda Rhimes has promised to help America’s largest abortion provider “in any way.” According to Planned Parenthood, that means more “creative energy" and “storytelling” – a specialty of Rhimes’ when it comes to abortion.

On Thursday, Elle magazine broke the news with the headline, “Shonda Rhimes Has Never Been Afraid to Tell Abortion Stories. Now She's Joining the Board of Planned Parenthood.” In celebration, writer Mattie Kahn gave a very friendly interview to both Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and Shonda Rhimes, creator of TV series like Grey's Anatomy, How to Get Away With Murder and Scandal

Rhimes will represent “one of the most trusted health care providers in America,” announced writer Mattie Kahn. “This morning, Planned Parenthood will announce she's joined its national board.”

With her new position at the abortion giant, Kahn added, Rhimes “formalizes and expands on” her past Planned Parenthood work, including volunteering for her local affiliate and serving on the Los Angeles board.

During the interview, Richards welcomed Rhimes as a “great supporter” and applauded her “power of storytelling” particularly in regards to “LGBT issues or women's reproductive health care or [the way she] centers people of color on television.” 

While Rhimes admitted that she “never personally” used Planned Parenthood, she still insisted “it's important that that access be there for everyone.”

“I think the point of our country, our planet, the reason we're all here, one of the best things that we can do is be concerned about something even when it doesn't concern us,” she said later on. “The fact that I've never had to use a Planned Parenthood… doesn't mean I shouldn't be concerned about the fact that other women don't have that access.”

According to Rhimes, Planned Parenthood concerns both men and women because, “when you help make people healthier, it makes the nation healthier, it makes the world healthier, it makes the economy healthier.”

Not including the 7.5 million Americans missing because of the abortion giant.

In 2015, Rhimes’ political drama series, Scandal, featured not one but two “groundbreaking” abortion scenes – both widely applauded by the liberal media.  

Referencing one of those abortion scenes shown to the tune of Silent Night, Kahn recalled that Rhimes was “surprised that the ‘backlash’ wasn't as severe” in her plot of choice.

“I think that the studio and the network were surprised that there wasn't a backlash,” Rhimes responded. “Yes, as we've all become more educated and aware, I think people have developed very different opinions over what is ‘controversial’ and what's not.”

(Except for that there was a backlash – from both conservative and pro-life news outlets.)

Besides Scandal, Rhimes also reminded Kahn of the 2011 abortion scene she included her medical drama Grey’s Anatomy.

“I tried to explain that just like all the scenes I did on Grey's Anatomy, in this scene we were portraying a medical procedure that is legal in the United States of America,” she said of the abortion plot. “Most people, I think, have accepted that it's not up to them to control other people's choices, except, it seems, when it comes to Washington, D.C. where everyone has an opinion about people's uteruses.”

Richards praised the Scandal abortion scene as a “real” story that “people related to.”

“I do think the disconnect between a lot of women who've lived their lives and are deeply familiar with these issues and studio executives or members of Congress who may have never really thought about it or only thought about it in political terms,” she agreed with Rhimes. Abortion is “deeply personal, and it touches all women's lives.”

And not just touches, but ends women’s lives – at least the lives of unborn women.

According to Rhimes, her abortion scenes “were just moments in character's lives that needed to be portrayed because that's how they happen in people's lives.”

“The same way someone decides to have a baby, the same way someone decides to never have children, the same way that someone decides to go on fertility drugs,” she continued.

In her new role at Planned Parenthood, Rhimes declared “mostly I want to be of service一in any way that I can.”

“And if that is helping to convey messages, that is what I'm going to do,” she said, “If it's rolling up my sleeves and getting to work, that is what I'm going to do.”

“The idea that we're even thinking about cutting [Planned Parenthood funding] off because somebody else isn't enjoying it themselves or somebody has extreme opinions about it is worrisome to me,” she said.

Richards made clear that she wanted more of what Rhimes was already doing.

“The best thing we can do is just channel the enormous creative energy and storytelling ability that Shonda Rhimes already has to do our work even better,” she said.

“At Planned Parenthood, we've spent the past few months making sure that our patients, from every background, have ways to tell their stories on television, in the media,” she said. “It's so critical that they're out there talking about… how Planned Parenthood has literally saved their lives.”

Shonda has always been unapologetic about speaking truth to power,” Richards concluded. “She does it every Thursday night” with Scandal, she said, and “we're just incredibly grateful that of all the ways she could be spending her time, she's committed some of it to Planned Parenthood.”

The feeling is mutual between Richards and Rhimes – the two have frequently patted each other on the back on Twitter.




Rhimes isn’t the only Scandal star to support Planned Parenthood. In March, Tony Goldwyn, who plays the fictional president in Rhimes’ series, heralded Planned Parenthood as “lifesaving” and abortion as “moral.”  Co-star Kerry Washington, who plays crisis manager Olivia Pope in the show, is also a big defender of Parenthood and is currently co-producing an abortion-centered film of her own.

Leading up to the 2016 presidential campaign, Rhimes appeared in an ad supporting candidate Hillary Clinton – who boasted the first primary endorsement from Planned Parenthood ever. Clinton even visited the set of Scandal and took pictures with the cast.