Now I can say that I still haven't had an abortion, but I wish I had.
Dunham's comments were meant to suggest that she wished she had an abortion, which is an incredibly hard choice, but one that women deserve the right to make, so she could truly empathize with women who have had one.
Dunham posted on Instagram addressing the extreme backlash she received over the comment.
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.
It's obvious that Dunham wanted to do good here. There are so many reasons women choose to have an abortion and why women should have the right to choose, and she provided an outlet for those stories.
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.
Unfortunately, this "delusional girl" persona shouldn't appear outside of fiction.
It is one thing to play this character on screen and a totally different thing to play this character in a conversation in which people are speaking openly about the right to choose.
Thankfully, Dunham handled the backlash with grace, adding,
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.
She continued by acknowledging the many people who throw hate at her, but ensuring that her apology was for women who trusted her,
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.
She's also willing to put her money where her mouth is, comparing her offensive comments to a swear jar. She added,
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 in New York, Texas and Ohio. I look forward to fighting with you all for the next four years and beyond.
Hopefully, Dunham learns from this experience and realizes that there is a way to spread a message, be funny and not offend people you're trying to help.