The Second Lady’s Abortion: What ‘House of Cards’ Got Right… and Didn’t

April 1, 2014

“No, it will look like I am ashamed. I’m not and I won’t,” Claire exclaims in her kitchen. If you’re a House of Cards fan, by now you’ve watched those scenes—the ones where Claire Underwood shares with the world that she’s had an abortion. But unlike other televised representations of abortion experiences, House of Cards pulls back the curtain on the complex internal processes and external actions taken by many who have had abortions.

House of Cards is a Netflix political drama that follows Democratic politician Frank Underwood and his wife, Claire, as they navigate the seedy underworld of Washington, D.C. They are a power couple who are as loving as they are conniving, and will step on anyone who gets in their way. At the end of the first season, Claire (played by Robin Wright) revealed to her doctor, and audiences, that she has had three abortions. Cut to the second season: After being asked a series of questions in a live interview about her marriage and decision not to become a parent, the reporter brings up allegations made by a past political opponent that Claire had an abortion.


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