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'Girls' on HBO: 'Vagina Panic' takes a look at abortion

Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham, Zosia Mamet in a

Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham, Zosia Mamet in a scene from HBO's “Girls." (Credit: HBO)

The series' second episode opens with two very different yet equally cringe-worthy sex scenes. One involves Hannah (Lena Dunham) and her inconsiderate non-boyfriend Adam (Adam Sackler), the other with Marnie (Allison Williams) and her too-nice boyfriend Charlie (Christopher Abbott).

There's a lot to be said about these dynamics. But it was Jessa's abortion (and then her lack of abortion) that drove this episode. It couldn't be less political for the girls and there is never a discussion over whether or not she'll get it.  Marnie makes an appointment for 1 p.m. and the girls clear their schedules.

Nevertheless, it leaves them all questioning themselves. They're pro-choice and open-minded,  but that doesn't mean they're unaffected.

Hannah defends her nonchalance to Adam, insisting she didn't mean to sound flippant. "I just have very little sympathy for people who do not use condoms...because that is how you get pregnant and that is how you get diseases."

Why would she worry so much about what Adam (Mr. "I don't know what it is about me, but girls never ask me to use condoms") thinks about her views on abortion? Instead, she seems to be reassuring herself that it isn't a big deal. 

She asks Marnie to schedule her an STD test, worrying that condoms are not enough.

Shoshanna says she has something to contribute, pulling out the book "Listen Ladies: A Tough Love Approach to the Tough Game of Love." The girls argue about whether they're the "ladies" the author is lecturing. 

"I'm offended...I don't like women telling other women what to do or how to do it or when to do it. Every time I have sex, it's my choice," Jessa reacts. 

Jessa admits she wants to have children some day, and thinks she'll be amazing at it. At the clinic, Marnie talks about being put on this earth to be a mother, but worries she's barren. Hannah is obsessing about her "Forrest Gump"-based fear of AIDS. This abortion, while not political or questionable to the girls, has shaken them up. They're judging themselves and each other.

In the end, Jessa doesn't show up at the clinic and suddenly gets her period -- and this is a huge cop out on the show's part. The girls didn't have to deal with the reality of this actually happening. But overall, it's good to see realistic reactions to something that is often so polarizing. Despite how much of a free spirit she may be, Jessa isn't immune to this -- and that's reassuring.

I'm glad to see the show acknowledging that while it may not be taboo or political for them, abortion is still very real and difficult for these girls to handle. Plus, the episode manages to stay funny without, in my opinion, being crude about something so delicate. I'd consider that a feat.

Tags: HBO , Girls , Lena Dunham , Judd Apatow , Allison Williams , Jemima Kirke , Zosia Mamet , Adam Driver

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