Lena Dunham enjoys the taste of her own foot in her mouth. Most recently, the 30-year-old writer, actor, and self-proclaimed feminist had to apologize for a joke that she made about abortion of all things.
During the December 14 episode of her Women of the Hour podcast, Dunham shared her experience visiting a Planned Parenthood in Texas. While there, Dunham felt compelled to make it clear that while she supported people’s right to choose, she had never had an abortion herself. A closer examination of this position revealed to Lena, that she, too, had internalized stigma about abortion. Recalling this event Dunham changed her approach to the topic ended the podcast with, “Now I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.”
Because abortion is one of the hardest decisions that people have to make, many found Dunham’s conclusion to be insensitive. She issued a full apology on her Instagram account saying that her comment was “distasteful” and the result of a “delusional girl” persona that she uses. We kind of picked up on that.
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.