Pretty Little Liars may have ended in 2017, but there are still plenty of questions worth answering years later. On Thursday, May 16, Troian Bellisario revealed that Spencer almost had an abortion on Pretty Little Liars — though the show eventually decided not to air the moment in question. The actor discussed her character while speaking out against Alabama's new abortion law on Instagram.
On May 14, the Alabama Senate passed the nation's strictest abortion ban to date, with Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signing it into law the following day. Under the new law (which will go into effect in six months unless it gets voted down by a court before then) abortion would be effectively outlawed in the state, with no exceptions in the case of rape or incest, and women who left the state to get an abortion would be charged with a felony. In the wake of the Senate's decision to pass the incredibly strict law, social media users, activists, and celebrities have spoken out about the law and the terrifying effects it could have on women.
While Bellisario was posting about the Alabama abortion law on her Instagram Story, the actress reflected on filming a scene for PLL in which her character, Spencer, got an abortion after becoming pregnant with Toby's (Keegan Allen)'s baby. In Season 6 of the show, Spencer was shown taking a pregnancy test with her then-boyfriend, before the drama jumped forward five years into the future. The results of the test were never shown onscreen, leaving many fans to speculate that Spencer got an abortion during the time jump.
"Guess what?" the actor wrote on her Instagram story. "When we originally shot the episode we shot TWO versions of the storyline: One where Spencer said she WAS pregnant (and therefore had the abortion) and one where she said ‘I wasn’t pregnant but I would never judge someone for making the choice,'" Bellisario explained, before noting that she was proud of taking part in a storyline centered around Spencer's right to choose.
"I will be honest I have no idea ultimately who made the decision to choose the [latter] storyline for the final edit of the episode but I agree with and was proud to portray both," she wrote.
Bellisario — who recently welcomed a baby girl with husband Patrick J. Adams — continued by explaining that the decision about what to do with an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy should belong solely to the woman who became pregnant. "The choice should belong to the woman," Bellisario wrote, "She should not be judged or punished for it. And it should not be made for her by another human being. Especially not one who is physically unable to be pregnant or give birth because they never have to have their body potentially harmed by all of the LOADS OF COMPLICATIONS OF PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH."
Bellisario has often used her Pretty Little Liars fame to advocate for causes that mean a lot to her, and to help her followers feel less alone in dealing with things like disordered eating, self-esteem, and struggles with mental illness. In a 2017 Lenny Letter, Bellisario wrote about writing and starring in the movie Feed, which was based on her battle with anorexia, in order to help connect with other people who were struggling themselves.
"Sometimes I still find myself being pushed by an invisible taskmaster, working to the point of exhaustion, swimming with numb toes. The voice of my disease is with me every day. I am practiced at ignoring it, for the most part, but it's still there, finding new ways to undermine me," the actor wrote. "That's partially why I wrote Feed. I wanted to channel that voice into a story and out of myself. I wanted to create a character who also wondered how she could be enough."
She continued, "It is my greatest hope that someone watching it, struggling with the same challenges I do, might think, What if I were enough too? So with all the courage I can muster, I give it to you, I give it to that one person, in hopes that it could make them feel enough."
For Bellisario, it's clear that the biggest perk to playing a character like Spencer Hastings for so many years is that the show has given her a platform to speak out for the things that matter most to her — and if she can tie those causes back to PLL, even better.