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.
Lena Dunham has always been candid about the details of her personal life through books, television shows, personal essays, and any other medium she can access. The latest episode of her podcast, "Women Of The Hour," is no different. In "Choice," Dunham talks about her lifelong support of women's reproductive rights, visiting Planned Parenthood clinics, and how stigmas around abortion even affect her. She also, in typical Lena fashion, made a shocking statement that has the Internet in a tizzy. She starts the episode by saying, "My name is Lena Dunham, and I have a confession to make," but her real confession won't come until about 14 minutes into the episode. "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," she says. "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 realised 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." She concludes the segment by stating: "Now I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had." The podcast continues on, featuring the stories of other women who have had abortions, and how their personal lives were impacted by that choice. Dunham's quote has now been picked up by various sites, and the Internet has shared a myriad of reactions to the statement. Regardless of what your stance on abortion is, this is a good reminder to be sensitive when speaking on the topic. You can listen to the episode below.