In her latest podcast, Lena Dunham tells a story about abortion activism and her “wish” that she’d had an abortion. She was at Planned Parenthood in Texas, and something happened that opened her eyes about her feelings on the subject of abortion. Here, we’ll let her tell the story in her words: “I always thought that I myself didn’t stigmatize abortion,” Dunham said about 14 minutes into her Women of the Hour podcast, titled “Choice.”
“I’m an abortion rights activist; it’s a huge part of who I am,” she continued. “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.”
From there, Dunham reevaluated her stance on abortion. Though she was out there standing up for abortion and a woman’s right to choose, the experience made her confront her ingrained knee-jerk response to distance herself from women who had actually had an abortion. “I realized then that even I was carrying within myself stigma around this issue,” she said. “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.”
Dunham went on to say that abortion has been an important part of many of the lives of the women closest to her. “So many people I love — my mother, my best friends — have had to have abortions for all kinds of reasons,” Dunham said. “I feel so proud of them for their bravery, for their self-knowledge, and it was a really important moment for me then to realize I had internalized some of what society was throwing at us and I had to put it in the garbage.”
I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had,” Dunham concluded.
OK, Lena. We understand that Dunham’s “wish” was likely meant as a means to perform more compassionate and empathetic activism, but — her choice of words was unfortunate. That sound you hear is the sound of side-eye flung Dunham’s way from around the world right now.