Actress Lena Dunham announced last week that she wished she had snuffed out a baby growing inside her, so that she could escape the “stigma around abortion.” She said that having an abortion made her mother and her friends better people, and she introduced a guest on her show who wanted to have “just a light, cute talk about abortion.”
“We all know that there’s cultural stigma, it’s hard to put an abortion on network TV,” Dunham, a writer and producer of HBO’s show “Girls,” said on last week’s installment of her show “Women of the Hour.” She described being surprised — not by the cultural stigma, but by her own stigma against the procedure.
“I always thought that I myself didn’t stigmatize abortion — I’m an abortion rights activist, it’s a huge part of who I am,” Dunham said. But when a young girl asked her, as part of a project, to share the story of her abortion, Dunham “sort of jumped.”
“I haven’t had an abortion, I told her,” the actress narrated. “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. … Even I felt it was important that people know that I was unblemished in this department.”
Then Dunham said she was actually jealous of people who had had abortions. “So many people I love, my mother, my best friends, have had to have abortions for all kinds of reasons,” she said. “I feel so proud of them for their bravery, for their self-knowledge, and it was a really important moment for me to realize that I had internalized some of what society was throwing at us.”
“Now, I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had,” Dunham concluded.
The show was jam-packed with pro-abortion talking points. Dunham described how “from an early age,” her mother taught her “to say ‘anti-choice’ instead of ‘pro-life’ because she wanted to make sure that we knew that everyone is pro-life, some people are anti-choice.”
Right before Dunham’s discussion of how she wished she had had an abortion, a guest named Alex warned about the dangers of volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center. “These mimic clinics masquerade as health centers, but instead of providing women with options, they try to force them to carry a pregnancy to term,” the woman said.
So a preference against abortion makes crisis pregnancy centers not “health centers”? Is “health” really that synonymous with abortion for these people?
Then again, Dunham did reject the term “pro-life.” If, as she argued, “everyone is pro-life,” why do so many people argue for the “choice” of killing an unborn baby? Genetically, fetuses are human — they have their own DNA, and they develop into human beings, not anything else.
While there is disagreement on the issue of when a fetus can be considered a person, and therefore be entitled to the right to life, abortion by definition involves killing a genetic individual human being.
There is a good reason behind the “stigma” around abortion. The social media response to Dunham’s comments underscored that.
.@lenadunham 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 😑🙄
— s a s h a (@kisslow) December 20, 2016
— tn halfbreed ❤🤍💜✝ (@tnhalfbreed) December 19, 2016
I can't even imagine how offensive Lena Dunham's comments are to women who actually had to go through abortions
— KFC (@KFCBarstool) December 20, 2016
Nevertheless, Dunham is right that going through a traumatic experience like an abortion can yield “self-knowledge” and personal growth. But this growth is not limited to abortion, and can be gained through experiences that do not involve killing a human being.
This is why “cute talk about abortion” often falls on deaf ears. It isn’t because there’s something wrong with the culture — it’s because there’s something wrong with what abortion actually is.
Listen to the audio below.