Lena Dunham has been forced to apologise, after she was heavily criticised for comments she made about having not had an abortion but "wishing she had".
The creator and star of comedy TV series 'Girls' said she did not intend to "trivialise" terminating a pregnancy, following comments she made during her Women Of The Hour podcast.
Dunham, 30, had recalled an incident at a Planned Parenthood meeting in Texas when she was asked to share a story about her own abortion.
She told listeners that she had never gone through the procedure, before adding: "But I wish I had."
Her remarks prompted a wave of criticism online, with one pro-life charity saying Dunham was treating abortions "like getting your appendix removed".
In a post on Instagram alongside a picture featuring the word "Choice", Dunham said she was "proud" of the women who took part in the podcast which focused on the issue of abortion.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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 (https://abortionfunds.org/need-abortion) in New York, Texas and Ohio 💰I look forward to fighting with you all for the next four years and beyond.ADVERTISEMENT
"I truly hope a distasteful joke on my part won't diminish the amazing work of all the women who participated," she wrote. "I would never, ever intentionally trivialise the emotional and physical challenges of terminating a pregnancy. My only goal is to increase awareness and decrease stigma.
"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."
During the podcast, Dunham - who describes herself an an "abortion rights activist" - told listeners she realised she was carrying her own "stigma" about the issue when she quickly corrected the woman who believed she had had an abortion.
She said: "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. I realised then that even I was carrying within myself stigma around this issue.
"So many people I love - my mother, my best friends - have had to have abortions for all kinds of reasons. I feel so proud of them for their bravery, for their self-knowledge, and it was a really important moment for me then 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 I still haven't had an abortion, but I wish I had."
John Gerardi, executive director of pro-life charity Right To Life of Central California, branded Dunham's comments "inflammatory and unhelpful".
He told the Press Association: "Even if you accept the argument that women have a right to obtain access to abortions, we're still talking about another living human being.
"Even for pro-choice women, it's one of the worst and most difficult decisions of their lives.
"It seems Lena Dunham wants to treat abortions like getting your appendix removed."
Dunham won two Golden Globes in 2013 for her series Girls, which airs on Sky Atlantic in the UK.