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delusional girl persona

Lena Dunham apologises after saying she 'wished she had an abortion'

The actor and writer blamed the comments on her “delusional girl persona”.

THIS WEEK, LENA Dunham released an episode of her podcast, Women Of The Hour, entitled Choice.

The episode is devoted entirely to the matter of reproductive choice and features stories about everything from having an abortion to choosing to have 10 children.

The episode has caused controversy thanks to an ill-advised remark by Dunham about how she wishes she had had an abortion.

During the podcast, Dunham was discussing the stigma that still surrounds abortion and recounted an incident a few years ago in which she was realised that she was guilty of stigmatising abortion.

Here are her remarks in full:

I always thought that I myself didn’t stigmatise abortion. I’m an abortion rights activist, it’s a huge part of who I am. But 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 part of her project in which women shared their stories of having abortions.
I sort of jumped. ‘I haven’t had an abortion,’ I told her. 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.
And I realised then that even I was carrying within myself a stigma around this issue. Even I, 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.

“So many people I love – my mother, my best friends – have had to have abortions for all kinds of reasons,” she explained. “I feel so proud of them for their bravery, for their self-knowledge, and it was a really important moment for me then to realise that I had internalised some of what society was throwing at us and I had to put it in the garbage.

Now I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.

The comments were quickly picked up by media outlets.

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Many accused Dunham of trivialising a very sensitive, politicised issue for women, and ultimately doing more harm than good with her comments.


Dunham’s comments come in the wake of efforts by Republicans to roll back abortion access in the United States.

Roe versus Wade, a Supreme Court decision that recognises a woman’s right to access safe, legal abortion, is widely viewed as being in jeopardy under President-elect Donald Trump and a right-leaning Supreme Court.

Already, efforts are underway to pass anti-abortion legislation. Just last week, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Earlier this month, Oklahoma Republicans tried to pass a measure that would have required anti-abortion signage in all public bathrooms, although this was later abandoned.

Given the climate, Dunham’s flippant comment about wishing she had an abortion — a medical procedure that women choose to have out of necessity — aren’t exactly helpful.

‘Delusional girl persona’

Last night, Dunham apologised for her comments and claimed that she was merely inhabiting a persona.

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.

She said it was never her intent to “trivialise the emotional and physical challenges of terminating a pregnancy” but simply wanted to “increase awareness and decrease stigma”.

My life is and always will be devoted to reproductive justice and freedom.

She pledged to donate money to abortion funds in New York, Texas and Ohio by way of apology.

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Written by Amy O’Connor and posted on

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