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So Much Outrage as Lena Dunham Confuses Pro-Choice Empathy With a Wishlist

Photograph by Rex / Rex USA

Lena Dunham, the creator, writer and star of the HBO series "Girls" apologized to her followers on Instagram this week for comments she made on her "Women of the Hour" podcast. During the conversation, she said she has never had an abortion but wishes that she had.

The actress later declared that her comment was a distasteful joke, coming from a “delusional girl” persona that “careens between wisdom and ignorance.”

Dunham described a visit she had made to Planned Parenthood in Texas years ago where she was asked to share her feelings on abortion. "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."

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At that moment, the 30-year-old actress realized that she had been carrying a stigma within herself around this issue. "Even I," she began, "the woman who cares as much as anybody about a woman's right to choose, felt it was important that people know that I was unblemished in this department. Now I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.”

When news of her comment reached media outlets, Dunham took to Instagram, insisting that she “would never, ever intentionally trivialize the emotional and physical challenges of terminating a pregnancy. My only goal is to increase awareness and decrease stigma.”

However, there is little empathy for the feminist when it comes to abortion jokes, and some of the comments on social media have not been kind. Below are just a few of the comments from outraged individuals online.

Dunham responded with an explanation and apology on Instagram, but she settled the matter for few. Dunham wrote, “My life is and always will be devoted to reproductive justice and freedom. I look forward to fighting with you all for the next four years and beyond.”

lenadunham

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.

Common responses mocked and criticized her:

@kelseyjennifer: You are disgusting. Your words and ideology are absolutely repulsive, and your jaded views are an embarrassment to the entertainment industry, and women in general. Not that I've ever watched the low rated, absurd show you got lucky enough to be cast for, or ever plan to watch it...I just get tired of seeing your face in some perpetuated, dumbfounded story about some dumb sh*t you've said (once again) then apologized for. Please disappear forever from the media, thanks.

@marissaexplainsitalll: How dare you make a joke of the hardest decision a woman has to make. Then make light of it by essentially saying "I'm just a silly girl." Ignorance is not cute and you made yourself look like an idiot.

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@sneemomo: Just stop speaking publicly...every time you open your mouth it's followed by an excuse ridden apology statement

The loudest support for Dunham's statement came in the piece, "I Support Lena Dunham's Right to Choose to Be Horrible," published in Reductress, which, unfortunately for Dunham, is a satire site so.

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