One month after facing criticism for celebrating “the extinction of white men,” Lena Dunham has found herself in hot water again — this time for apparently expressing regret about not having had an abortion.
In a segment titled “Choice” during Dunham’s “Women of the Hour” podcast on Tuesday, the Girls star related a story about visiting a Texas Planned Parenthood clinic and expressed her support for those who had chosen to terminate their pregnancies. It was a comment that came just after that, however, that critics say Dunham overstepped.
“Now I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had,” said Dunham.
Writing for The Daily Beast, Erin Gloria Ryan took Dunham to task for suggesting that an abortion was an experience to wish upon oneself.
“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,” Ryan wrote. “Dunham’s comments are free red meat for the sort of troll who believes pro-choice feminists spend their days praying … they’ll get accidentally impregnated so they can have one of those abortions the gals at the nail salon can’t stop gabbing about. 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.”
Following the backlash, Dunham apologized for her remarks over social media, referring to her comments as a “distasteful joke … spoken from a sort of ‘delusional girl’ persona I often inhabit, a girl who careens between wisdom and ignorance.” Dunham added that she would “never, ever intentionally trivialize the emotional and physical challenges of terminating a pregnancy.” Read her full apology below.
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.