Faith

Lena Dunham and the Abortion of Han Solo

A certain dark poetry has emerged from Lena Dunham’s loose connection to Star Wars. Her “Girls” co-star, Adam Driver, portrayed the tri-saber wielding Kylo Ren in last year’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” As it turns out, Dunham shares Ren’s struggle against the light.

Last week, Dunham provoked widespread outrage with comments about abortion. Speaking on her “Women of the Hour” podcast, Dunham expressed regret at having never had an abortion. As noted by our own Tyler O’Neil:

…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.

As noted by Ben Shapiro on his podcast this week, Dunham thus expressed a frustration with her own conscience. She feels defensive about abortion because some kernel of her God-given soul remains intact. She hates that. She hates the fact that even she, a devout advocate of killing unborn children, occasionally feels prompted to acknowledge the “stigma” around the practice.

It’s not unlike Kylo Ren’s struggle in “The Force Awakens.” In a scene where he communes with the imagined spirit of his grandfather, Darth Vader, Ren pleads to be shown “the power of the darkness” so that he might resist “the call of the light.” That struggle persists throughout the film, culminating in his final purge of all decency through an act of patricide—killing Han Solo. You might call it an inverted abortion.

Of course, Dunham’s struggle proves far more serious, occurring as it does in the real world. It nonetheless adheres to the same pattern. Dunham covets an abortion in defiance of her own conscience, to purge her shame with the same contempt as that shown to the child, to cast off the light and fully embrace the darkness.

Abortion is the killing of unborn children. Everyone knows that. Pro-abortion advocates have to maintain a mental effort to deny it. If they relax, even for a moment, the truth of what abortion is comes rushing into their consciousness. This is why the pro-life tactic of confronting people with images of aborted fetuses proves so provocative. You cannot deny what a fetus is when you see it mutilated before your eyes.

Dunham offered a pseudo-apology in response to the outrage which her comments provoked. She said, in part:

I would never, ever intentionally trivialize the emotional and physical challenges of terminating a pregnancy.

Which challenges would those be? Why would a woman be emotionally or physically affected by an act which, according to Dunham, validates her womanhood and affirms her personal agency?

We all know what those challenges are: the guilt and trauma of having conscientiously killed your child, periodic reminders of how old she would be, awareness of the void which she should occupy. It’s natural and healthy for such guilt to persist. It emerges from a soul crafted by God and imbued with basic moral sense. That is what Dunham trivializes, as much by advocating for the killing of the unborn as by flippantly wishing she had engaged it.

Mothers of aborted children need healing. Their guilt should be purged, but not through hateful dismissal. They should not imagine that something other than their child was killed. Instead, the mothers of aborted children need to be reconciled to God. They can be assured by the availability of his infinite grace and forgiveness.

Dunham needs that too. Let us pray she obtains it.