Lena Dunham of the sexually explicit HBO television series “Girls” said on a recent podcast that she wishes she had an abortion, a remark that even abortion supporters found to be outrageous.
“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 on her program “Women of the Hour” last week. “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.”
Dunham said that she then realized she had “stigma” about abortion being a negative procedure as she wanted others to know that she hasn’t personally had one and was innocent.
“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 stated.
Dunham remarked that she has come to believe that she needs to throw her stigma “in the garbage.”
“Now I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had,” she said.
But Dunham’s remarks stirred controversy nationwide, including among abortion advocates.
“Saying that you haven’t had an abortion but you wish you had so you can somehow ’empathize?’ Way to make pro-choicers look bad,” one Twitter comment read.
“FYI an abortion is not something you ‘get to have.’ It’s an awful experience one SHOULDN’T wish for like a gift from Santa,” another said.
On Tuesday, Dunham apologized for her remarks while still standing by her abortion advocacy.
“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 show is too) and it didn’t translate. That’s my fault,” she posted to Instagram. “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, and therefore own full responsibility for any words I speak that don’t convey this clearly,” she said.
As previously reported, in an introductory lecture to his course on obstetrics in 1854, Philadelphia Dr. Hugh Lennox Hodge explained that if a woman were to come to a medical doctor in pursuit of an abortion, “he must, as it were, grasp the conscience of his weak and erring patient and let her know in language not to be misunderstood that she is responsible to her Creator for the life of the being within her.”
“So low, gentleman, is the moral sense of community on this subject. So ignorant are even the greater number of individuals, that even mothers in many instances shrink not at the commission of this crime, but will voluntarily destroy their own progeny, in violation of every natural sentiment, and in opposition to the laws of God and man,” he said.
“The procuring abortion is ‘a base and unmanly act,’” Hodge also said, quoting in part text from a court ruling of his day. “It is a crime against the natural feelings of man, against the welfare and safety of females, against the peace and prosperity of society, against the divine command ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ It is murder.”
An estimated 60 million children have lost their lives from abortion since the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.