In the early 1970s, Arthur appeared on the groundbreaking television comedy "All in the Family" as Edith Bunker's fiercely liberal cousin Maude. Producers who saw gold in the role quickly devised a spinoff for the character.
"Maude" debuted on CBS in 1972 and became one of the top-rated sitcoms on U.S. television during its six-year run.
In a two-part episode that aired in November 1972, the show stirred protest and controversy when Maude decided to have an abortion because of her age. The procedure was legal in New York state, where the show was set, but not nationwide.
Two months later, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in its landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
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"Golden Girls" star Bea Arthur dies at 86
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