Mrs. Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
It becomes abundantly clear after the birth of Mary that things are not going to get better; Mr and Mrs Bennet at last have an overdue conversation about the state of their finances and reluctantly agree that trying again and hoping for a boy is a terrible plan of action. With only one overtly ridiculous relative (Mary’s much less dour when she’s not trying to distinguish herself from four beautiful sisters), Jane has no problem marrying Mr Bingley the first time he proposes. Mr. Wickham barely comes near the Bennets, who consider him a pleasant, if vague, acquaintance. There is no scandal attached to the family. Mrs. Bennet does not worry herself into an early grave trying to marry off five daughters, and actually finds herself enjoying her old age.
Lane Kim, Gilmore Girls
Lane Kim deserves to have a lot of good baby-free sex before she decides she’s ready to be a mother. One awkward encounter on the beach isn’t going to cut it. She takes some time to think it over, mostly as a nod to appearances (she wants to at least pay lip service to her pro-life, conservative Christian heritage), then calls Lorelai and asks her for a ride to the clinic. They go out for burgers afterward, and Lorelai keeps up a high level of patter every minute they’re in the waiting room, which for once Lane appreciates.
She never tells Zack about the abortion. More surprisingly, she never tells Rory. She loves Rory, but the idea of telling her and then watching Rory not-listen before launching in to a story about yachts and finding herself is just too much.
Ten years later, after extended tours of Europe, Australia, and South America, (and plenty of good sex, in beds, with no sand in them) Lane lets herself think about having kids again.
She’s not against it.
Allison Scott, Knocked Up
Once Allison had a one-night stand with a guy who was completely wrong for her at a low point in her life. A month later she had a non-surgical abortion, made a list of goals, and moved out of her sister’s pool house. She never saw him again.
Scarlett O’Hara, Gone With The Wind
It was for the best, every time.
Lily Potter, Harry Potter
There wasn’t really much to say about it. They were barely into their twenties and on the run from a powerful, genocidal maniac. Years later, after Neville Longbottom fulfilled the prophecy and destroyed Voldemort, James was the one to bring it up.
“I know we said we wouldn’t,” he began. “And it isn’t that I’m not happy now, just the two of us.”
“I would,” she said. “I would if you would.”
He smiled. “You don’t mind I’ll be a little bit old?”
“You’re not old,” she said, and she meant it.
Katniss, The Hunger Games
Peeta had really wanted children, but that was just too fucking bad.
Shelby, Steel Magnolias
It was a difficult decision — she’d wanted a baby, and she’d particularly wanted a baby that grew from her own body — but after the doctor had explained that it would probably kill her, she made her peace with it. She got the abortion. She cried. She mourned that baby. She called her mother late at night and said angry, lonely words to her. And she got better, and she lived.
She lived to raise four children, all of whom grew up with a mother who loved them, and a grandmother who never had to watch her daughter die.
“Did you know that–” the girl had started to say before Juno hip-checked her aside. Something about fingernails, it sounded like.
“Sorry,” Juno said, before chucking her ironic Capri Sun into the wastebasket. “No time to talk. I’m late for my abortion.”
Hetty, Adam Bede
Hetty lives a long and quiet life with her Adam, and almost never thinks about Arthur.
Padmé, Star Wars Episode III
It was a terrible time to get pregnant. Hers was no situation to bring up children in. She got the abortion, didn’t die in childbirth, and lived for another 40 years in relative seclusion on a minor planet where nothing important happened. She got remarried, eventually, to a successful farmer who didn’t ask too many questions but always made her coffee in the morning. Someone else brought down the Empire. She doesn’t know who; doesn’t really follow politics.
Every female character in every single Thomas Hardy novel
Tess runs a small but successful sewing business out of her home. The work is difficult, but she’s her own boss and she can hold her head up in the market.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.