On a December 14 installment of her podcast Women of the Hour, controversial feminist comedian and actress Lena Dunham said something about abortion that many, pro-life and pro-choice, have since called out as “offensive” and “distasteful.” According to Lena, despite being an outspoken abortion rights advocate, she has never had an abortion herself.
While many women would be happy or even proud of that they had never had to exercise their Constitutionally-protected right to choose, Lena Dunham apparently is not. Rather, Dunham said that she wishes she had had an abortion.
“Now I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.”
As Opposing Viewpoints reports, Lena Dunham started her controversial abortion comment by talking about the conversation that led to her remarks. According to Dunham, she was at a Texas Planned Parenthood, speaking to a “young girl” who had asked her to participate in an abortion story project. The question apparently led Lena to do some soul searching.
“A young girl walked up to me, and asked if me if I would 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.”
Not surprisingly, the shocking comment made by Lena Dunham has incited a lot of feelings, both on and off the internet. Not everyone is happy that Dunham would covet an abortion. Some even say that the “wishes she would have murdered her baby.” Most of those people would call themselves “pro-life.” However, even the pro-choice community has come out swinging against what Lena Dunham had to say.
As The Daily Beast reports, Dunham’s comment has stirred so much outrage and attention that some feminists and women’s rights advocates think that they may have been detrimental to the abortion rights cause rather than helped it. The reason for this thought is two-fold. First and foremost, abortion is a big deal for a lot of women. It’s a real medical procedure, not just a life experience or social experiment. In making her comment, Lena Dunham seemed to ignore the fact that abortion involves a lot of complex emotions for most.
“It’s not compassionate; it’s bizarre, a more obnoxious version of telling a person who has had their appendix removed that you, too, wish you could have your appendix taken out.”
Second, Lena Dunham has become the public face of radical feminism in America. When she publicly states she that she “wishes” that she would have an abortion, pro-life advocates sincerely believe that she wishes that she would have committed murder. They use the words of Lena Dunham as a platform to de-legitimize the real-world need for access to safe, legal abortion-on-demand.
For those who believe women shouldn’t have the right to choose, Lena Dunham’s words are largely tantamount to an admission that unintended pregnancies are chosen by women seeking abortion, that having an abortion is something that women want and aspire to do.
“Treating abortion like a leisurely activity that Lena Dunham can personally help normalize represents a cartoonish version of clueless urban liberalism we’d be well-served to rid ourselves of. Dunham’s comments are free red meat for the sort of troll who believes pro-choice feminists spend their days praying to their lord and savior Margaret Sanger that they’ll get accidentally impregnated so they can have one of those abortions the gals at the nail salon can’t stop gabbing about.”
For her part, Lena Dunham has apparently recognized that her words were offensive. Or at least that they weren’t helpful to her feminist, pro-choice cause.
As ABC News reports, following the immense public backlash related to her shocking “wish,” Lena Dunham has come forward to apologize for what she said during her podcast. In the midst of the “I wish I had [had an abortion” fallout, Dunham is now calling what she said during her podcast “a joke.”
“I truly hope a distasteful joke on my part won’t diminish the amazing work of all the women who participated [in my podcast].”
According to Lena, her controversial words came from the place of a “delusional girl.”
“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.”
Lena Dunham added that she takes reproductive rights very seriously, “more seriously than I take literally anything else,” and she plans to make considerable donations to pro-choice organizations in an attempt to make ammends for the problems her words may have caused.
“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 in New York, Texas, and Ohio. I look forward to fighting with you all for the next four years and beyond.”
For many, Dunham’s explanation of a joke gone wrong (as well as her apology) falls a little short of the reality of her podcast wish. Others say her post-controversy apology is much too little, too late.
What do you think? Do you believe that Lena just made an unintentionally distasteful joke? Do you think that it’s appropriate for any women, pro-choice or pro-life, to wish for an abortion? Did Lena Dunham cross a line or were her words appropriate dialogue in the discussion of women’s rights?
[Featured Image by Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP Photo]