In the fourth PSA in its Draw the Line campaign, the Center for Reproductive Rights is trotting out actress Jemima Kirke to discuss her 2007 abortion.
Kirke, best known for her role on the HBO series “Girls,” became pregnant with her boyfriend’s child and decided she “didn’t want to be attached to this person.” (Apparently she was referring to her boyfriend, not the child.)
“My life just was not conducive to raising a happy, healthy child. I just didn’t feel it was fair. So I decided to get an abortion.”
Seconds into the video, Kirke begins to lament the fact that she was expected to pay for her abortion:
Because I couldn’t tell my mother… I had to pay for it out of pocket. I did have to, you know, empty my checking account… and get some [money] from my boyfriend…
I realized that if I didn’t take the anesthesia I would be able to afford to do this. And the anesthesia wasn’t that much more, but when you’re scrounging for, you know, however many hundreds of dollars, it is a lot. I just didn’t have it.
It’s these obstacles and it’s this stigma that makes these things not completely unavailable – and that’s the tricky part is that we think… we do have free choice and we are able to do whatever we want but then there are these little hoops we have to jump through to get them.
Preach it, sister. It’s like these car commercials, you know? They make it look so easy. “Sign, Then Drive,” huh, Volkswagen? That’s false advertising. I was totally ready to sign, but then they wanted all this money!
It’s just like I heard Center for Reproductive Rights President Nancy Northup say when I went undercover to a Planned Parenthood meeting a few years ago: “A right you can’t access is not a right at all.”
Well, I have a right to drive, okay? It may not be in the Constitution, but hey, neither is abortion.
Like Jemima Kirke says of abortion, the car I need isn’t “completely unavailable – and that’s the tricky part.” They make it seem so easy to get a car, but you have to jump through all these hoops, like paying for it and whatnot. It just isn’t fair.
Hey, Hyundai! A right you can’t access is not a right at all!
I’m not surprised that this video was released immediately after Hillary Clinton’s announcement of her presidential candidacy. Abortion “rights” are going to be a huge issue in the coming year, just as they were in the last two elections. We are going to be told again and again that unless we support free abortion-on-demand, we aren’t sufficiently feminist, compassionate, progressive – you name it.
At the 2015 March for Life in Washington, D.C., pro-lifers were met by a counter-protest group called Stop Patriarchy, whose T-shirts and signs bore the phrase: “Abortion on demand and without apology.” However, relatively mainstream groups like CRR go one step further, actively working for publicly funded abortion-on-demand.
“I’ve always felt that reproductive issues are something that women should be able to talk about freely, especially amongst [sic] each other,” says Kirke in her video. “I still see shame and embarrassment around terminating a pregnancy.”
I would agree with Kirke that women should be able to talk about reproductive issues, except I know from personal experience that when a woman defends human life in the womb, she is very likely to get ostracized by other women.
If you are a woman in the U.S. today, especially in our current political climate, talking about abortion from any point of view other than, “I love it and it’s super great” will expose you to viciousness and shunning – especially from other women.
So forgive me if I’m skeptical when Kirke calls for women to talk about it freely. What she means by that is: “Let’s all sit in a big circle and approve of each other’s abortions.”
Towards the end of the video, Kirke discusses her two living children, both girls, and how she fears a future in which they are saddled with “the luggage of being a woman.” I don’t blame her. It is difficult to be a woman. We are bombarded with media messages from the time we are old enough to open our eyes and see them, attacking our self-esteem, reinforcing the core message that we are not good enough, and we never will be.
Where I part ways with the fauxminists on this issue is when they see aborting their children as somehow taking back that power. There is nothing empowering about killing our children. All abortion does is pass along the marginalization we are trying to escape to the weakest and most innocent among us: the children in our wombs.
True empowerment comes when we are boldly, unapologetically female, refusing to sacrifice any aspect of our fertility – up to and including our children – so we can get ahead in a “man’s world.”
As an American woman, what I fear for Kirke’s daughters and all women of all ages is a future in which we have bought the lie that to be empowered is to pay abortionists to kill our children. I fear that girls will grow up believing the only way to make a place in this world is to subjugate their fertility.
How is this progress for women? How is this empowerment? How is this feminism?
The unfortunate choice Kirke made to abort her child is proof that as a society we have failed women and their children, then turned around, re-packaged, and sold that failure as empowerment.
CRR is encouraging their followers to use #WarOnWomen to discuss expanding abortion and public funding for it. I encourage you to use the same hashtag to point out the inherent dishonesty of convincing women they are helpless without abortion.