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"Maude`s Dilemma" is a two-part episode in season one of the television show Maude, airing in 1972. It is considered a groundbreaking show due to bringing the controversial issue of abortion into people's living rooms and forcing families to confront this open secret.

"Maude's Dilemma"
Maude episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 9/10
Directed byBill Hobin
Story byAustin Kalish
Irma Kalish
Teleplay bySusan Harris
Original air dateNovember 14, 1972 (1972-11-14) (Part 1)
November 21, 1972 (1972-11-21) (Part 2)
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Maude discovers that she is pregnant at the age of 47, and must decide whether to have an abortion. She encourages her husband Walter to have a vasectomy.[clarification needed]


Producer Rod Parker explained: "The funny thing is that initially we weren`t even thinking abortion ... The group Zero Population Growth announced they were giving a $10,000 prize for comedies that had something to do with controlling population, so everyone came in with ideas for vasectomies".[1]

Producer Norman Lear decided against a false pregnancy due to it being a copout, as well as a miscarriage as that plot had already been done on his other show ``All in the Family`` to character Gloria Bunker. He decided that given her age, Maude would have realistically had an abortion despite her moral turmoil regarding the subject.[1]

The network was okay with the subject matter due to the success of the show, though asked for the show to present an opposing view; the writers obliged by adding a character who had lots of children and who was content with their choice.[1]

Critical receptionEdit

The Chicago tribune described this episode as a watershed moment that "brought the battle over choice into the prime-time arena".[1]


According to a 1992 Chicago Tribune article

The first showing of "Maude's Dilemma" was carried by all but two of CBS' nearly 200 affiliates, and attracted nearly 7,000 letters of protest. By the time the shows were repeated, in August 1973, a campaign against them had been organized by the United States Catholic Conference. The reruns were broadcast, but nearly 40 affiliates chose not to air them, not one corporate sponsor bought commercial time, and CBS received more than 17,000 letters of protest.

— The Chicago Tribune[2]

A 1972 New York Times article noted that two Illinois CBS affiliates, WCIA in Champaign and WMBD-TV in Peoria, refused to air the two-part episode marking the first time any CBS station had refused to run an episode of a continuing series.[3] However, an August 14, 1973 New York Times article published the same day the episode's first summer rerun premiered stated that only 25 CBS affiliates had refused to air the repeat showing.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d "Maude`s Abortion Fades Into History". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  2. ^ "Maude's Abortion Fades Into History".
  3. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (10 December 1972). "Maude Didn't Leave 'em All Laughing" – via
  4. ^ Krebs, Albin (14 August 1973). "25 C.B.S. Affiliates Won't Show 'Maude' Episodes on Abortion" – via

External linksEdit