Case #3.05: "Whose Choice Is It Anyway?"

This episode is about two things that are still hot issues today: teen pregnancy and abortion. It opens at a clinic, where a woman in a lab coat is doing paperwork at a counter. "Linda, go home," a blond woman chides. Linda offers to walk the other woman out, but she declines, saying she has one more thing to do. 

The blond picks up a chart and consults it. "Judy, you're a new patient?" she asks. Judy Hoffs of Jump Street is there for information about pregnancy, claiming she's had 3 positive home tests. The blond introduces herself as Margaret and hands Judy a brochure: "When you feel ready, we'll give you the facts and talk about your choices." The clinic staff will support Judy, no matter what she decides. Judy sighs, "That sounds like a start, I guess." Judy can see the doctor in the morning if she likes.

Another girl comes in and takes a birth control brochure. We see some clinic workers painting over graffiti on the walls. She offers to walk Judy out for "safety in numbers." We soon see why. The outside of the clinic is mobbed by angry protesters waving homemade signs with anti-abortion slogans on them. Three women wearing CLINIC ESCORT vests walk up to Judy and the other girl, instructing them to stay between the escorts until they're past the protest. A balding man screams, "MURDERERS! MURDERERS!" at the teens. Theme song.

Cap'n Rufus looks over a file on Daley, the leader of a local pro-life group. This group has shut down other clinics, vandalized them, harassed patients and attacked them. Judy thinks the protesters she saw are the ones who spray-painted the clinic. They can't arrest Daley for protesting, which falls under freedom of assembly. However, he might be using staff members or local kids to carry out the vandalism and physical attacks. Judy says girls have a right to use the clinic without being afraid and I'm inclined to agree. "If someone's gonna be harassed, better it be a cop who's not pregnant than a teenager who is," says Rufus. Nice. He warns her to be careful.

At what looks like a church, Daley is giving a speech to a packed house of pro-lifers. Harry is sitting among them and joins Daley on stage when he asks for another volunteer. "The police are gonna set up barricades to keep us from blocking the clinic entrance," says Daley, "but our job is to get beyond those barricades." He tells them not answer violence with violence. Harry offers to teach the group simple self-defense (of course). "We have a defense technique we should show you first," says Daley.

The technique turns out to be crawling on the ground in an effort to slip past the police officers acting as a human barricade at the clinic. Daley gets to the metal barricade and confronts Margaret, saying her clinic has no place on a high school campus. Margaret gives him a statistic about how many girls get pregnant; Daley argues strangers shouldn't be making life-altering decisions for them. 

"This is not an abortion clinic," says Margaret, "Now if you and your friends don't believe in abortion, then my advice is you never have one." Daley protests teens should get sex education from their parents "who can teach them right from wrong." Margaret says some parents don't teach their kids about the facts of life and come to her for answers. 

In the school hallway, the teen girl from the clinic introduces herself to Judy as Rebecca, asking how Judy is after their "little adventure" with the protesters. Rebecca overheard about Judy's "situation" and thinks it must be hard. Rebecca's boyfriend Mark gives her grief about not meeting him after class and says they'll barely have time to go eat. Rebecca tells Mark that she and Judy are planning on doing their homework together instead.

Mark sighs and asks what's going on. Rebecca isn't returning his phone calls and Mark thought they'd decided not to take a break from each other. "You decided that," Rebecca says quietly, "I thought we should see other people." Mark wants to settle this now. Rebecca tells him it's not a good time and she'll call later.

At Rebecca's house, Rebecca's mom asks Judy how she likes her new school. Rebecca's older sister Alice graduated from there. Alice is in the kitchen with them, feeding a baby in a highchair. "If Sammy starts crying tonight, take him downstairs," Rebecca's mom instructs Alice, "Your father has to be up at the crack of dawn." What a sweet grandma!

Alice asks where her work uniform is; Mom didn't have time to get it cleaned. "But I need it tonight," Alice says. Mom ignores her and tells Rebecca that she got acceptance letters from Brown and Amherst. Alice reminds her sister about babysitting Saturday, but Rebecca has plans. "This is important, I have a double shift," Alice says. Rebecca is dismissive: "I'll pay for a babysitter or have Mom and Dad do it." 

The sisters argue a bit more. Alice picks up the highchair and carries it closer to the kitchen table. She leaves for the cleaner's. Judy breaks up the awkwardness by saying Rebecca must be excited about getting accepted. Rebecca doesn't seem to hear her, focused on her nephew. Judy asks which school Rebecca will pick. Rebecca's answer is surprising: "Probably neither." 

Judy suddenly realizes why Rebecca was at the clinic. "I haven't told anybody," Rebecca admits. She thinks that if Mark knew, he'd want them to get married. I think that's preferable to him abandoning his responsibilities and telling people it's not his baby, but that's just me.
"I'm really scared," says Rebecca.

Doug, Harry, Tom, Booker, and Blowfish have a boys' night out, eating pizza and drinking beer. Booker thinks they should all pick up girls; Tom points out that Blowfish is married. Booker thinks the waitress was eyeing up Blowfish. "Women don't look at short, ugly janitors, even if we are thin," Blowfish disagrees and leaves. "That man does not have a rock-solid image of himself," Doug notes. To be fair, Doug himself doesn't either. 

Booker still wants to fix Blowfish up with somebody: "A little lunch with a beautiful woman to make him feel better about himself." Oh, is that what they're calling it these days? They dismiss Judy as a potential because Blowfish sees her every day at work (not to mention she'd never go for it). "We can't use Dorothy; he'd know it was a set-up," Doug says. Also, Dorothy would kill him. 

Harry suggests Jackie the ADA; Tom glares. "This is pathetic," says Harry, "Four guys and we can't think of a woman to be nice to Blowfish." Cheer up, Harry, it was a stupid plan anyway. Unfortunately, Booker thinks he knows someone.

The next day, Mark sees Rebecca and Judy coming out of the clinic. He asks about the brochures Rebecca has. She doesn't want to talk about it and tries to walk past. Mark stops her. He takes her books and sees a brochure titled "Are you pregnant and worried?" on top of the stack. Mark asks the obvious question. Rebecca tells him: "This problem is something I have to deal with myself." 

Mark protests that it isn't a problem, "not really." They can move in with Mark's parents and get their own place when Mark finishes school. "I wish it could be like that, but it can't," says Rebecca before dropping the emotional bombshell, "I'm not in love with you, Mark." Understandably, he looks shocked. "I never meant to hurt you like this," Rebecca goes on, "I'm sorry." It's more than a little late for that. 

Rebecca walks away. Judy tries to follow and Mark catches her by the sleeve. He demands to know what ideas Judy put in Rebecca's head. Judy says all she did was listen: "Maybe she needed to talk to someone who understands."
Mark misinterprets this and says he's not surprised Judy is pregnant too. "And your boyfriend split when he found out about it, right?" he guesses. Judy says it's not Mark's business.

Mark tells Judy, "Don't drag Rebecca into your mess just because you want company." He wants Judy to stay away; he loves Rebecca and their baby. Judy thinks Rebecca needs time to sort things out. Mark tells Judy that he doesn't care if Judy becomes a single mom, gives her baby up, or kills it: "Stay the hell out of our business."

In the squadroom, Booker calls Blowfish, asking if there's an attractive girl there who looks bored. Yes, there is. Booker explains the girl is his cousin; something came up and he can't take her to lunch like they planned. They argue for a bit, but Blowfish eventually agrees to take Monica out. Blowfish says Booker better be in the office when they get back. Booker, Doug, and Tom are hiding in the loft. They watch as Blowfish shakes hands with the woman. 

Harry and Judy walk to school. Harry lets her know that he got a list of members of the pro-life group. Harry thinks Daley has good points; parents should be the ones who have a say in their kids' lives. Harry himself hasn't had that luxury since he left Vietnam. He doesn't think Margaret should talk girls into having abortions. Judy gets upset: "That's easy for you to say. You've never been 17, terrified, and pregnant." Potential backstory?

Harry thinks it's wrong for girls to use abortion as a form of birth control. "That's because they didn't get any sex education until it was too late," says Judy. This statement has been pretty true in the USA in the past; just Google "teenage maternity homes." They debate about how nobody knows when a fetus becomes a baby. Judy stops the argument, saying they should split up before someone sees them together. I think it'd be reasonable for the pro-life kids to think Harry is trying to talk Judy out of an abortion.

Margaret runs a pregnancy support group meeting at the clinic; Judy and Rebecca are both there. Instead of running the meeting, Margaret gives the girls an hour to talk amongst themselves about their feelings. Rebecca's boyfriend Mark enters the clinic and a nurse stops him from going into the meeting. Mark begs to see his girlfriend.

In the meeting, one girl says she's staying with a friend because her mother kicked her out. The others are afraid of disappointing their moms by telling them. The girl who was kicked out says, "My mom was exactly my age when she had me. She says she doesn't know why she even bothered." That's just wrong to say to your kid.

Mark is still trying to persuade the nurse: "It's like a secret club. A girl gets pregnant and no one cares about the guy." The nurse counters, "We love it when couples make an appointment." Mark leaves.

A redhead plans to finish school part-time once she has her baby. Rebecca announces, "I'm going to Amherst...or I was." A third girl can't finish school if she has her baby; another asks Judy if she's going through with an abortion. Judy doesn't know.

Mark walks past the protesters outside. Harry asks the teen if he's okay. Mark is upset that they won't let him talk to Rebecca. Daley offers to help. He makes a speech over a megaphone that Mark went there for help and the staff ignored his needs: "We must shut this clinic down and we must shut it down now!" The crowds cheers in agreement.

Blowfish goes to confession. He tells the priest that he stole cupcakes from his son's lunch, used the Lord's name in vain, committed adultery, and stole change from a payphone. "Almost," Blowfish amends in reference to the adultery. He took Monica to a nice Italian restaurant and ordered expensive wine. He kissed her after lunch. "Kissing is not a sin," the priest says. Blowfish asks about French kissing. The priest explains that the only sin committed was lust; he tells Blowfish to pray, make an act of contrition, and "end this relationship before it goes much farther."

Judy and Rebecca are escorted out of the clinic. Mark yells at Rebecca that the clinic workers don't care about her and want to kill their baby. The police arrive and announce they're arresting all protesters who aren't enrolled at the school for trespassing. Margaret has gotten a restraining order to keep them 75 feet away.

Blowfish goes to Monica's apartment building and rehearses what he plans to say to her. She answers the door in a bathrobe and lacy nightgown. When Blowfish says they need to talk, she pulls him inside.

Rebecca and Judy talk on the clinic's back steps. Rebecca is worried about Mark: "I've never seen him like that before. He was like a crazy man." Judy advises her to stay away from him. Margaret comes out the back door and says urgently, "We need to evacuate, girls." Someone has called in a bomb threat. Three guesses who...

Tom comes to Blowfish's house and says, "This better be good, Sal." Blowfish says he just committed a mortal sin with Monica. He went over to break up with her, but "I didn't mean for it to happen." Tom asks what Blowfish means. "I mean it!" shouts Blowfish. He also told Monica that he loves her. 

In the Jump Street locker room, Tom has learned that Monica is a hooker. Booker argues, "She's a stripper. There's a big difference." "Not if you paid her," Doug hisses. Booker goes further into semantics; it's only prostitution if she and Blowfish had sex. "She did sleep with him," says Doug.

Booker didn't mean for it to go this far; all he paid for was a lunch date and her to laugh at Blowfish's jokes. Doug points out an obvious flaw: "What stripper gets paid to laugh?" Tom can't believe they trusted Booker and I can't either. Doug asks if Booker paid for the girl's last encounter with Blowfish. Booker swears he didn't, on his mother's honor. I'm glad I'm not her. Tom thinks maybe she just likes Blowfish. "There's always that possibility," Doug says skeptically.

Tom informs Booker that his scheme ruined Blowfish's life. "Not to mention Rosa's," Doug adds. Booker apologizes, but still wants Tom and Doug to pay their portion of Monica's fee because "I coulda bought ringside seats in Vegas for that." Doug loses control and tackles Booker.

Judy and Rebecca go to an adoption agency to interview prospective parents. The adoption agent gives Judy attitude and the girls leave. Walking home, Rebecca says all he cared about was how much money he could make. Judy tells her there are good people out there who'd really care about her baby. Rebecca doesn't think she could live knowing someone else is raising her child.

Rebecca reconsiders Mark's offer; the baby would have both parents around, Mark could get a job, and she could put off college. Judy says nobody can make Rebecca's choice for her, but warns, "Marrying a man you don't love is not an answer." I have to agree. Rebecca says her sister Alice is an old woman at 19 because she had a baby. She doesn't feel ready to be a mother and wonders if Margaret would meet with her after the clinic closes.

At the church, Mark meets with Daley, Harry, and other pro-lifers. He's desperate to shut down the clinic because "the next baby that could be killed is mine." "Then take action and stop this insanity," Daley says firmly. He declares the cause is a war and they have to find the courage to fight it.

Harry finds Judy crying in the Chapel locker room and asks what's wrong. She tells him she's always been a prepared perfectionist who rarely makes mistakes. "But you made one?" guesses Harry. Judy admits that she did in high school and sobs, "When I found out, I was so scared. I didn't have anyone to turn to. I didn't even tell my mother." Harry comforts her.

Blowfish leaves another fancy restaurant with Monica. "If we catch a cab back to my place, dessert is on me," she flirts. Blowfish hails a cab and says she should go home by herself. He tells her he's sorry, but things won't work between them. He assures her that she'll find a better guy. Monica kisses his cheek and leaves.

Rebecca goes into the deserted clinic. She and Margaret talk in her office. Someone sneaks around the back of the clinic, takes out what looks like a stick of dynamite, lights it, and throws it in a window. There's a small but loud explosion.

In a hospital waiting room, Judy brings a cup of coffee to Margaret. The older woman's arm is burned and wrapped in bandages. Rebecca's mother comes in. Rebecca is stable, but the extent of her injuries is unknown. "Maybe you should see her later," Judy advises Margaret. Rebecca's mother says, "You're not gonna see her at all" and I'm not sure which one of them she's talking to.

Rebecca's mom blames Margaret for what happened and tells her that Rebecca's pregnancy is not Margaret's business. Margaret explains Rebecca made a choice not to tell her mother. Rebecca's mother says what kids need is parental support. Judy points out that some girls don't have it and need someone to trust. 

"She should've been home with me," says Rebecca's mom. Margaret wishes that for all the girls she sees. Rebecca's mom wants Judy to find out who did this. "They're bringing him in right now," Judy reassures her.

Cap'n Rufus asks Daley where he got the explosives. Daley says he isn't responsible for the clinic bombing, even though he has a violent past. Doug comes in with a report from the crime lab. The dynamite used was part of a batch sold to a local construction company, owned by Mark's dad.

Mark is defiant as Cap'n Rufus tells the teen that he's in lots of trouble. Daley is still in the room and they squabble over the finer points of what he told Mark to do. The minister adds that Mark had to know it was wrong to hurt Rebecca. "Becca wasn't in there," says Mark. Harry has bad news for Mark; Rebecca miscarried. Mark turns to Daley: "This is all your fault. You said this was a war."

Daley pulls out more semantics; it was supposed to be a nonviolent war, as if there is such a thing. Mark stands up and tries to go after Daley, but Harry holds him back. "You made me kill my kid!" Mark shouts, on the verge of tears. Daley apologizes and leaves. 

Cap'n Rufus follows him to the squadroom. He tells Daley he needs to take responsibility for his part in this: "Your words are very powerful and Mark is just an impressionable kid." Daley tells him that he doesn't tell anyone to hurt people and wishes he could've stopped Mark. "That mean you're on to the next clinic?" Rufus guesses. Daley confirms that he's leaving the next day. 

Judy visits Rebecca in the hospital. The teen is upset that Judy lied to her. Judy wasn't lying about knowing what it's like to be pregnant in high school. Rebecca says trying to decide what to do was horrible and it's not fair that Mark took her choice away. "None of this is fair," says Judy. Rebecca asks if it was this hard for Judy to choose and if she regrets the abortion. Judy regrets getting pregnant in the first place and not telling her mom.

Rebecca makes a statement that I've heard from my mom and a few girlfriends: "Once you get pregnant, you're never the same, no matter what you decide." Judy agrees.

At Blowfish's house, his two older boys have a watergun fight in the house. Rosa calls out from the other room, "Did anything happen while I was gone?" "No, it's been pretty quiet," Blowfish says brightly. He kisses one of his sons. Uh, Blowfish, lying is a sin too, you know.

Judy sits at her desk in the dark Chapel. She sighs, picks up her phone, and dials after a moment's hesitation: "Hi, Mom. Mom, I-I wanted to tell you about something...something that happened a long time ago." End of episode.