The Schmooze

Lena Dunham Apologizes for Her ‘Distasteful Joke’ on Abortion

Lena Dunham has apologized for saying she wished she had gotten an abortion.

The 30-year-old actress faced backlash over a comment she made on her podcast “Women of the Hour” last week, while discussing the stigma that surrounds abortion.

Dunham, a vocal pro-choice advocate, was recounting a time when she was asked to tell her own abortion story.

“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. I sort of jumped. ‘I haven’t had an abortion,’ I told her,” Dunham said. “And I realized then that even I was carrying within myself stigma around this issue.”

This led Dunham to say: “Now I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.”

After receiving a swift onslaught of criticism from the internet community, the “Girls” creator took to Instagram to apologize for what she deemed “a distasteful joke.”

“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,” Dunham wrote. “That’s my fault.”

Read her apology in full 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


Thea Glassman is an Associate Editor at the Forward. Reach her at glassman@forward.com or on Twitter at @theakglassman.

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Lena Dunham Apologizes for Her ‘Distasteful Joke’ on Abortion

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