Lena Dunham: “I Wish I Had An Abortion”
Lena Dunham is raising eyebrows for confirming she’s never had an abortion, but saying she “wishes” she had. Listen to the audio below.
Dunham, a staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood and a woman’s right to choose, made the comment on her podcast, “Women of the Hour.” In the second season’s fifth episode, which actually came out a few days ago, she extensively discussed the topic of abortion. The “Girls” creator was addressing her own inability to fully understand what it’s like to go through such a thing when she made the controversial remark.
“Something I’ve thought about a lot is that there is stigma around abortion. We all know that,” she said, noting, “I always thought that I myself didn’t stigmatize abortion. I am a abortion rights activist. It’s a huge part of who I am.”
She went on to share, however, “But one day, when I was visiting a Planned Parenthood in Texas a few years ago, a young girl walked up to me and asked me if I’d like to be a part of her project, in which women share their stories of abortions. I sort of jumped. ‘I haven’t had an abortion,’ I told her. I wanted to make it really clear to her that as much as I was going out and fighting for other women’s options, I myself had never had an abortion.”
“And I realized then that even I was carrying within myself stigma around this issue. Even I, the woman who cares as much as anybody about a woman’s right to choose, felt it was important that people know I was unblemished in this department,” continued Dunham.
The star named her mom and best friend as people in her life who have, in fact, had abortions, and confessed that it all made her realize she had “internalized some of what society was throwing at us and I had to put it in the garbage.” Dunham then admitted, “Now I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.”
Unsurprisingly, Dunham is now getting trashed by a number of conservative outlets, as well as pro-life Twitter users, who find her statement inappropriate. Others who are objecting are also pointing out that abortions are often painful, tragic experiences, and not something one typically “wishes” to go through. The full segment can be heard below, beginning at the 13:30 mark.
UPDATE: On Tuesday night, Dunham posted an apology statement on Instagram. See below.
My latest podcast episode was meant to tell a multifaceted story about reproductive choice in America, to explain the many reasons women do or don't choose to have children and what bodily autonomy really means. I'm so proud of the medley of voices in the episode. I truly hope a distasteful joke on my part won't diminish the amazing work of all the women who participated. My words were spoken from a sort of "delusional girl" persona I often inhabit, a girl who careens between wisdom and ignorance (that's what my TV show is too) and it didn't translate. That's my fault. I would never, ever intentionally trivialize the emotional and physical challenges of terminating a pregnancy. My only goal is to increase awareness and decrease stigma. I take reproductive choice in America more seriously than I take literally anything else, and therefore own full responsibility for any words I speak that don't convey this truth clearly. I know plenty of people will never like a thing that leaves my lips, mea culpas or no, but this apology is for the women who have placed their trust in me. You mean everything to me. My life is and always will be devoted to reproductive justice and freedom. You know how in some households you curse and have to put money in a jar? Well in mine, if you mess up your pro-choice messaging you have to give a sizable donation to abortion funds (https://abortionfunds.org/need-abortion) in New York, Texas and Ohio I look forward to fighting with you all for the next four years and beyond.