jemima kirke speaks out about the stigma of abortion

“Reproductive issues should be something that women should be able to talk about freely," says the 'Girls' girl in a new video for the Draw the Line campaign.

by Alice Newell-Hanson
14 April 2015, 6:45pm

Photography Frances Tulk Hart

Artist and actress Jemima Kirke (aka Girls' own mouthy sidewalk-urinating bohemian Jessa) has always been outspoken about women's rights, both onscreen and off. And today she put her voice to good use. In a video for the Draw the Line campaign, she spoke openly about her personal experience with abortion and the struggle for women's reproductive justice. "I still see shame and embarrassment around terminating pregnancies," she says. "So I have always been open about my stories."

The Draw the Line campaign, run by the Center for Reproductive Rights, aims to rally support across the U.S. to protect women's rights and access to affordable, safe and high-quality reproductive healthcare. It's a mission that has never been more important, at a time when Planned Parenthood clinics fight for the funding to remain open, and when more and more states threaten to criminalize abortion entirely.

Jemima explains that she became pregnant by her college boyfriend in 2007, and decided not to have the child because her life then was "not conducive to raising a happy, healthy child." "I just didn't feel it was fair," she says. Choosing not to tell her parents, she scraped together the funds herself: she emptied her checking account; her boyfriend helped. But due to the high cost of the procedure she chose to forgo the extra expense of anaesthetic. (According to Planned Parenthood, an abortion costs up to $1,500 in the first trimester, and up to $6,531 at 22 weeks.)

The actress also used the video as a platform to express her hopes for the future of women's rights:

"I have two daughters. I'm already anticipating their issues with their self-esteem, their bodies, the whole luggage that comes with being a woman, and so I would love if when they're older […] the political issues surrounding their bodies were not there anymore, that they would have one less thing to battle. I would hate to see them having to fight for rights over their bodies."


Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Photography Frances Tulk Hart
Styling Michelle Cameron

women's rights
Jemima Kirke
draw the line