Monday night’s season premier of “Jane the Virgin” made it clear the critically acclaimed show is at a crossroads — will it continue its pro-life plot line or take a turn for the dark?
As fans of the show already know, the premise of the show is to embrace life — and babies — as they come, regardless of the circumstances in which a child was conceived. Our heroine, Jane Villanueva, is a young Catholic woman who was artificially inseminated by mistake in the first season. What makes her predicament all the more ironic is that she has never had sex — she’s a pregnant virgin. Viewers watch her decide against an abortion and later juggle graduate school and her job as a cocktail waitress while pregnant and eventually with baby Mateo in tow.
In season two, bad-girl Petra steals her ex-husband Rafael’s sperm and inseminates herself with a turkey baster in a desperate attempt to get pregnant and win him back. She does become pregnant — with twins! — and briefly contemplates an abortion when it becomes apparent her ex no longer has feelings for her. Jane and Rafael ultimately persuade Petra to keep the babies by reminding her that the babies she’s carrying are miracles. We watch Petra as she bravely undergoes a difficult childbirth and later battles postpartum depression. Despite her unsure footing, it becomes apparent that her daughters give her a renewed sense of purpose, and she realizes there’s more to life than just being bad.
In the final moments of Monday night’s episode, Jane’s more sexually adventurous mom, Xiomara, reveals that not only is she pregnant with the baby of her true love’s archrival, but that she doesn’t plan to keep the child. Her revelation is glossed over by a quick line of approval from Rogelio, her true love, whom she confides in. He hastily responds that he intends to support her regardless of her decision.
Soon after this exchange, the audience’s attention is pulled in the direction of other plot twists — Jane’s husband Micheal survives being shot in the chest by the criminal mastermind Sin Rostro!
Although the moment was treated as inconsequential, Xiomara’s pregnancy could be a turning point for a show that has largely lauded Catholic virtues and echoed a pro-life message. “Jane the Virgin” has never once treated a baby in utero as a sterile, non-human object, but rather embraces that life begins at conception. Even though Jane and Petra’s pregnancies don’t begin the old-fashioned way, it’s clear that there’s life growing inside of them at the start and that to terminate a pregnancy means to end the life of a child.
If Xiomara does go through with the abortion, it would fly in the face of the show’s repeated assertions that all lives are precious. Her hasty decision to cut her baby’s life short would seem off-putting to the other mothers on the show who overcame huge adversities to keep their babies and raise their children. The rest of the season will likely flesh out Xiomara’s dilemma. Here’s hoping that she (and the show’s writers) choose life.