Lena Dunham Will Ruin Liberalism If Left Unchecked

David Shankbone/Creative Commons

Lena Dunham has a funny way of mucking up a good intention. On the December 14 episode of her Women of the Hour podcast, Dunham said, “I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had,” when discussing abortion rights in our country.

Initially, I wanted to dismiss Dunham’s linguistic sloppiness, desperate to separate her opinion from liberalism — which I knew the media and pro-lifers would conjoin — and it turns out I was right, that liberal’s would be on the hook for Dunham’s verbal indecency.

S.E. Cupp of The New York Daily News wrote, “The shifting debate over life is an overlooked aspect of the divide Trump and Republicans have exploited in recent years. Where Democrats routinely insisted “no one wants to have an abortion” and lectured conservatives about the agony most women go through in making that choice — all true, I believe — extremists like Dunham were loudly screaming the opposite, that abortion should be an entirely de-stigmatized rite of passage.”

In defense of Dunham, CNN’s Jill Filipovic believes Dunham was an “easy target,” from the pro-life right and liberal feminists, desperate subgroups looking for a scapegoat to fit their political narrative.

“There are real, public mistakes Dunham has made, and no shortage of valid critiques…” Filipovic wrote. “But that’s not the same as raking her over the coals every time she says something clueless or makes a decision that’s imperfectly feminist.”

I disagree with Filipovic assessment of Dunham being an “easy target,” and was “ranked over the coals,” because she’s not a victim. Dunham’s “abortion wish” statement was deliberate, foolish, and a clumsily attempt to destigmatize abortion in our climate of divisiveness. This is typical of the fringe in the pro-choice movement that swears we shouldn’t stigmatize women for getting an abortion because as Cupp expressed the “agony.” Yet, at the same time, liberals point their judgmental fingers at pro-life advocates while simultaneously constructing the monstrous hashtag like #ShoutYourAbortion. So which is it, a difficult choice or time for celebration?

Destigmatize or not, abortion is ending the viability of life.

The fact of the matter is Democrats have pivoted off course on abortion rights. The platform once included “legal, safe, and rare,” now; the platform wants to gut The Hyde Amendment, and now there’s no room to criticize Planned Parenthood. And suddenly science is dismissed regarding the possibility the unborn may feel pain at 20 weeks.

This is the Democratic Party now, no room for argument unless scolded publically for spewing verbal garbage.

Not surprisingly, Dunham has since apologized for her disjointed words that were meant to promote pro-choice activism.

“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…” Dunham wrote via her Instagram account.

Personally, I’m tired of Dunham’s monthly apology tour. The problem with a leftist like Dunham is they’re encased in a community of like-minded liberals, but their opinions aren’t the majority. Gallup’s May 2016 polling shows that 47 percent of the population is pro-choice, while 46 percent is pro-life. Of that, 50 percent believe abortion should be legal under some circumstances to the 29 percent of legal in any circumstance. Nineteen percent of Americans think abortion should be illegal in all cases.

I implore Dunham and others who are considered a spokesperson for liberal causes to meet with other Democrats who have different opinions. It would be wise for Dunham and pro-choice liberals to meet with say et al. Kristen Day of Democrats For The Life Of America because one in three Democrats identifies as pro-life (Full disclosure: I know Mrs. Day and have written a newsletter for DFLA), and also meet with Elizabeth Stoker. In meeting with pro-liberals, hopefully, the message will become clear that Democratic thought and philosophy isn’t a monopoly, but rather liberalism views thrives in a big tent of acceptance and inclusiveness.

It’s imperative that Dunham and the pro-choice left engage with different opinions within the party — and maybe, just perhaps, the platform on this subject can become more evolved and inclusive — and the party might live to see wins in 2018 and 2020. If not, watch Dunham and another like-minded set the Democratic Party aflame, if allowed to remain unchecked.



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