Here’s some good news. Law & Order is the junk food of many a law student. While it plays fast and loose with the law itself, it uses the discussion of the law to raise really important questions.
So, for example, there was one episode involving a rape allegation a few years ago: during the course of the case, the dispute between the alleged rapist and the alleged victim turns increasingly ugly. People start turning against both, treating her like a liar and him like a monster. At the end of the episode, the jury rises, and says, “We find the defendant…” and then the episode’s over. The point is that both the man and woman had their lives torn apart by this rape case, whether or not a rape actually occurred. The legal verdict is an afterthought, since the court of public opinion found them both guilty.
This time, Law & Order took on abortion in an episode called “Dignity,” which explores the dignity of an unborn disabled child’s life. And it did it in a way that treated pro-lifers are sane individuals with arguments worth consideration: presented the argument as we would present it, not how our opponents might parody it. Of course, the response is that pro-choice groups were shock – shocked, I tell you! – that anyone would dignify the Other with a respectable public voice, and jaded pro-lifers swooned a bit.