When the Alabama Senate voted to pass a controversial bill to ban nearly all abortions in the state, actress Busy Phillips knew it was time to stop talking and take action. The week before, she had opened up about her own abortion when she was 15 on her late-night show “Busy Tonight.”
“This is something a lot of people experience and go through in their lives, and it’s a health care decision like many health care decisions.”
Many people think they don’t know anyone who’s had an abortion, actress and TV host Busy Philipps tweeted earlier this week, “but #youknowme.”
Ms. Philipps, who is known for her roles on the TV shows “Dawson’s Creek” and “Freaks and Geeks,” wrote about the abortion in her memoir, “This Will Only Hurt a Little.”
“The statistic is one in four women will have an abortion before age 45,” she said last Tuesday on the show, referring to a study that was published in the American Journal of Public Health. “That statistic sometimes surprises people, and maybe you’re sitting there thinking, ‘I don’t know a woman who would have an abortion.’ Well, you know me.”
So, she urged, “let’s share it and start to end the shame.” On her E! show “Busy Tonight,” she shared her own story of her abortion when she was 15. “I’m telling you this because I’m genuinely really scared for women and girls all over the country,” she said.
Philipps’ call has inspired thousands of women to share the personal, often painful stories of their own abortions in response to Alabama’s vote for a near blanket ban. (Other states that have passed bans are Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Georgia and, on Friday, Missouri.) Among them are a number of celebrities.
Part of what I think was so successful in getting people motivated and men on board with the #MeToo movement was hearing from women about their personal stories. Abortion has been, historically speaking, a very taboo subject that women have a hard time talking about publicly, because it’s such a personal decision.
The anti-abortion people in this country are so vocal, and for all of those reasons I think women have remained silent. And I felt like, well, maybe there’s actually value in sharing.
We need to be as loud as they are, but with the truth. That’s the only thing we have. For me it includes people standing up and saying, “I am that one in four.” It doesn’t matter why, when, or how old you were.
“You know me, you like me, and I went through this.” I think there’s something super empowering about being able to shift the narrative and being able to have a ton of people say, “I’ve also gone through this thing.”
Below Is A Sample Of Women Inspired To Speak Up:
CYNTHIA NIXON, actress and activist, on Twitter:
“Almost 60 years ago, my mother had an illegal abortion. It was too harrowing for her to discuss, but she made sure I knew it had happened. In 2010, my wife had a legal abortion after we found out her pregnancy was not viable. We cannot and will not go back. #YouKnowMe.”
AMBER TAMBLYN, actress, on Twitter:
“In 2012, I had an abortion. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. … It was the right choice for me, at that time in my life. I have not a single doubt about this. #YouKnowMe.”
MINKA KELLY, actress, on Instagram:
“When I was younger I had an abortion. It was the smartest decision I could’ve made, not only for myself & my boyfriend at the time, but also for this unborn fetus. … With all this punishment for women I wonder where all the punishment is for the men in this scenario. By looking at the photo of all the men who are making this mess, I find it hard to believe that if it were the autonomy of a man’s body, health and life in question, I can’t help but be certain we wouldn’t be having this conversation in the first place.”
TESS HOLLIDAY, model, on Instagram:
“I’m from Mississippi, living in California, married with 2 kids, & I had an abortion. My mental health couldn’t handle being pregnant again & I made the best decision for ME & ultimately my family.”
JAMEELA JAMIL, actress, on Twitter:
“Call me whatever you like. I’m not sorry about my abortion. Contraception failed me and I did what was best for my mental and physical health at the time. And I would do it again if I had to. I don’t feel at ALL ashamed, and if you had one too, for any reason, neither should you.”
MILLA JOVOVICH, on having to have a medical abortion after four and a half months:
“I went into pre term labor and told that I had to be awake for the whole procedure. It was one of the most horrific experiences I have ever gone through. I still have nightmares about it. I was alone and helpless. When I think about the fact that women might have to face abortions in even worse conditions than I did because of new laws, my stomach turns.”
MIRANDA JULY, filmmaker, on Twitter:
“I was 27. My then-boyfriend … thought we should consider having it and I said something like DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH I AM ON THE VERGE OF DOING?? 2 years later I started shooting my first feature. #youknowme
CECILE RICHARDS, activist, former head of Planned Parenthood
“I had an abortion. It was the right decision for me, and it wasn’t a hard one. My husband and I were working more than full time and had three kids already. I was fortunate that, at the time, accessing abortion in TX was not the nightmare it is now. #YouKnowMe.”