Lena Dunham Managed To Upset Advocates On Both Sides Of The Abortion Debate

December 21, 2016

Lena Dunham is no stranger to controversy, and this week isn't much different.

In a recent episode of Dunham's "Women of the Hour" podcast, the actress told a story about when she'd visited a Planned Parenthood. While there, Dunham said she was asked to share her own experience with abortion.

Dunham explained that although she is pro-choice, she never had an abortion herself.

"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.

Dunham then uses the moment to acknowledge the stigma surrounding 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.

Dunham then managed to talk herself into another controversy with this line: "Now I can say that I still haven't had an abortion, but I wish I had."

The comment not only upset anti-abortion advocates but also angered pro-abortion rights advocates, with many saying Dunham was trivializing abortion.

Dunham later apologized and said the comment was a "distasteful joke." You can 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.

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on