Jemima Kirke is sharing an extremely personal story in hopes of helping other women dealing with the same important issue.
The Girls star partnered with the Center for Reproductive Rights’ Draw the Line campaign to support women and their families while making their own medical decisions to terminate a pregnancy, and ending legislation aimed at blocking access to basic women’s healthcare.
In a poignant video for the group, Kirke shared the story of her own abortion, and it’s one many women can relate to: She was in college when she unexpectedly discovered she was pregnant and chose to have an abortion, but could barely afford it — so the procedure became much more physically taxing than it needed to be.
Watch Jemima Kirke share the story of her 2007 abortion.
“Because I couldn’t tell my mother that I was pregnant, I had to pay for it out of pocket. I had to empty my checking account and get some from my boyfriend,” she said. “I realized that if I didn’t take the anesthesia, I would be able to afford to do this. The anesthesia wasn’t that much more, but when you’re scrounging for however many hundreds of dollars, it’s a lot.”
The actress now has three children, and does not regret her decision. “My life was just not conducive to raising a happy, healthy child,” she said.
Kirke’s story begs the question: If a woman can barely afford to terminate her pregnancy, how on earth would she ever be able to afford the expense of raising a child without public assistance?
“Jemima Kirke’s deeply moving and personal story highlights the role that shame and stigma play in preventing women from seeking the health care that is best for themselves and their families,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a press release. “Many women like Jemima will also forgo the health care that is best for them simply because they are unable to afford it.”
“Instead of passing sham restrictions that only hurt women’s health and chip away at access to critical health care, it is time to focus on stories like Jemima’s and advocate for policies which truly support women and their families. Whether they live in New York, Texas or Mississippi, all women are entitled to make the best decisions for their lives, their health and their futures.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, three out of 10 women will have an abortion in their lifetimes and the majority — approximately 58 percent as of 2008 — are in their 20s, 85 percent are unmarried and 33 percent had no health insurance.
Visit DrawTheLine.org to join Kirke, along with Padma Lakshmi and over 300,000 other women who have shared their abortion stories and help support the fight for reproductive rights.