"Life Choice"
L&O, Episode 1.12
Production number: 66213
First aired: 8 January 1991
  th of 456 produced in L&O  
th of 456 released in L&O
  th of 1229 released in all  
Logan Life Choice
Teleplay By
David Black & Robert Stuart Nathan

Story By
Dick Wolf

Directed By
Aaron Lipstadt


A young woman dies in a bombing at an abortion clinic. Greevey and Logan find themselves disagreeing over the issue of abortion. Schiff questions whether the views of Stone will interfere with his work.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast



Logan: So a seventeen-year-old should just louse up her whole life by having a kid?
Greevey: Seventeen-year-olds shouldn't be doing what makes babies.
Logan: And crooks shouldn't have guns. Get real. C'mon, what they should be is more careful.
Greevey: Kids aren't careful, that's why they're kids!
Logan: Mrs. Schwimmer didn't mention that she had tea with Ms. Toaster Oven.
Greevey: I get it. Now every pro-life protester is a bomber?
Logan: Well, you agree with them, don't you.
Greevey: Okay, Don Juan. Any of your girlfriends ever have an abortion?
Logan: One ex-girlfriend, who's now married with two kids. Neither of them mine.

Logan: The mother seems to be taking it pretty hard.
Greevey: It's gonna take awhile.
Logan: What, to realize that her daughter is dead?
Greevey: To realize she didn't die with her.
Logan: The father doesn't seem to be having that problem.
Greevey: That's because he didn't lose a daughter...he gained a martyr.

Logan: Come on, spare the rhetoric, all right, man? I don't consider abortion murder. If a woman wants one, that's her right to choose. Not yours, not mine and certainly not Miss Rose Schwimmer. Now I don't care what you believe. Trying to prevent abortions by bombing goes way too far. I don't know how you can even sit here and defend it!
Greevey: You and I both know they didn't mean to hurt anybody.
Logan: No, I don't know that, okay?! Only an idiot thinks bombs don't hurt people!

If you're gonna stick your finger in my eye, Mr. Ballard, clean your own nails first.

–Benjamin Stone to defense attorney Ballard

Ballard: These people aren't criminals.
Stone: What are they, Mary Poppins? Mother Teresa?
Ballard: They're exercising their right of free speech.
Stone: Throwing a bomb is a little non-verbal to qualify as speech, sir.

Amazing. I'm getting angry. The most emotional issue that the law has dealt with since suffrage. Look at us, three men talking about what rights women should have over their own bodies. Now doesn't that strike you as a little one-sided?

–Adam Schiff

Geoffrey Donovan: Our daughter did what she did out of her own conscience. We can live with that.
Barbara Donovan: You can live with that, Geoffrey. A martyr will never be able to tell me what a wonderful day she had at school yesterday. A martyr will never have a wedding. A martyr will never have children.

Objection, this case is being judged on the temporal plane, Your Honor.

–Benjamin Stone

If abortion is murder, no matter how you feel about Mary Donovan, aren't you guilty of the murder of her unborn child?

–Benjamin Stone

Background information and notes

  • Dick Wolf stated in an interview on The Creation of Law & Order, an extra on the first year DVD collection of the series, that "Life Choice" is his favorite episode.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3

University Registrar's
Tuesday, March 17

Chelsea Women's
Choices Center

Nature First
Garden Supply
302 West 41st Street
Thursday, March 19

4 5 6 7

The Home of
Mr and Mrs Donovan
422 Henderson Place
Monday, April 13

Supreme Court
Criminal Term
Trial Part 45
Thursday, June 4

Supreme Court
Tuesday, June 9

Supreme Court
Wednesday, June 10

Previous episode:
"Out of the Half-Light"
"Life Choice"
Law & Order
Season 1
Next episode:
"A Death in the Family"
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