Lena Dunham: ‘I Still Haven’t Had an Abortion, but I Wish I Had’

Taryn Ryder
·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Actress Lena Dunham arrives at Glamour Women Of The Year 2016 at NeueHouse Hollywood on November 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Actress Lena Dunham is getting heat for her controversial abortion comment. (Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

Anytime Lena Dunham is trending online these days, it’s typically for some headline-making political comment. However, the Girls creator seems to have taken it too far for some people this time around.

On her podcast, Women of the Hour, the 30-year-old actress tackled the topic of abortion, saying that although she hasn’t had one, she wished she had. Dunham began by talking about how she was raised by her mother to be pro-choice.

“From an early age, she taught my younger sibling and me to say ‘anti-choice’ instead of ‘pro-life’ because she wanted to make sure that we knew that everyone is pro-life,” Dunham said. “Some people are anti-choice.”

Despite her pro-choice view, Dunham realized that even she unknowingly carried with her a stigma around the topic.

“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 recalled. “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.”

She added, “Now I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.”

That remark did not sit well with many listeners.

Dunham later apologized for her controversial comment.

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.

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on Dec 20, 2016 at 6:39pm PST