She apologized for the “distasteful joke,” but not before pissing plenty of people off.
The right to a safe, legal abortion might be important to most women who aren’t afraid to call themselves feminists, but that doesn’t mean anyone actually wants to have an abortion.
Except maybe for Lena Dunham, who said in the latest episode of her Women of the Hour podcast that she wishes she’d had one. Talking about her recent visit to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas, Dunham said she was taken aback when someone asked her if she herself had ever had an abortion.
“Even I, the woman who cares as much as anybody about a woman’s right to choose, felt that it was important that people know that I was unblemished in this department,” Dunham said. Wrapping the story up by explaining that she’s now come to terms with her conflicted feelings, she quipped, “now I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.”
Needless to say, this didn’t go over very well with lots of folks. Outrage came not just from the anti-abortion camp, but also from pro-choice listeners who felt it was inappropriate to be so flip about a serious subject.
— JulietJeske (@JulietJeske) December 20, 2016
Finally something both liberals and conservatives can agree on.
We’re all sick of Lena Dunham.
— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) December 20, 2016
As a feminist figure, Dunham has long been problematic. This is hardly the first time she’s put her foot in her mouth, as this world-weary (Dunham-weary?) tweet acknowledges:
it is with a heavy heart that i must announce Lena Dunham is at it again
— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) December 20, 2016
Before this latest incident, Dunham has taken heat for not portraying enough racial diversity in her HBO show, Girls, for writing about some questionable sexual conduct she engaged in, involving her baby sister, in her memoir, Not That Kind Of Girl, and for saying that New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr ignored her at a gala because he didn’t think she was hot enough to bother talking to.
This time, as with the Odell Beckham Jr debacle, Dunham issued a public apology for her thoughtless words. She posted the mea culpa on Instagram, saying, ““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.”
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
Image via DFree / Shutterstock.com.