By James Hibberd
Updated November 23, 2011 at 08:48 PM EST
Walking Dead Sarah Pills
Credit: AMC

The Walking Dead survivors lie, betray and even kill each other to remain sane and alive during the zombie apocalypse. But use prescription medication incorrectly and all hell breaks loose.

To catch up: Sarah Wayne Callies’ character Lori has slept with two men since the start of the series (she thought her husband was dead) and nearly lost her son to a hunting accident. In last Sunday’s episode, she learned she’s pregnant and decides she doesn’t want to bring a child into such a cruel zombie-filled world. She gobbles up morning-after pills from a local pharmacy… and then decides to throw them back up.

Some viewers were outraged — but not for the reason the producers probably expected: Morning after pills are not for use several weeks into a pregnancy, but only for the first five days following unprotected sex.

“There is considerable confusion about the difference between medication abortion and emergency contraception, and it was distressing to see this misunderstanding further spread by a show like The Walking Dead,” wrote the ACLU on its blog. “Aren’t they supposed to have fact checkers to catch this kind of thing? Emergency contraception prevents pregnancy and is especially useful in cases of unanticipated sexual activity, contraceptive failure, or sexual assault. The Walking Dead, is not doing its fans or themselves any favors by promoting false information.”

Now Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara has responded to the outcry, telling The Daily Beast and confirmed by “The producers and writers of The Walking Dead are fully aware that the morning-after pill would not induce an abortion or miscarriage. We exercised our artistic creative license to explore a storyline with one of our characters, not to make any pro-life or pro-choice political statement. We sincerely hope that people are not turning to the fictional world of The Walking Dead for accurate medical information.”

Another potential out that Mazzara could have taken, but did not: From a character perspective, it doesn’t matter what the writers know about contraception, what matters is what Lori knows — and maybe she’s just terribly misinformed.

In our weekly interview with Walking Dead producer Robert Kirkman, the writer touched on the abortion issue in a more general way. “If there’s ever been an argument for abortion I think the thought of bringing a child into a world infested with zombies is definitely something that at least warrants a discussion,” he said. “Because it is a horrific world that they’ve been living in and they have been watching people die left and right. After everything that Carl has been going through and losing Sophia — I mean this has been very definitively been proven to be a world that is not fit for children. So that is an issue that’s going to come up.”

What do you think: Does an entertainment program have any responsibility to portray such details accurately?

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The Walking Dead

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.

  • TV Show
  • 10
  • TV-14
  • Frank Darabont
  • AMC
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