Actress and talk show host Busy Philipps is bringing private conversations about abortion into the public discourse with the #youknowme campaign, an effort to get women to open up about their abortion experiences as restrictive laws about the practice are gaining traction across the country.
“1 in 4 women have had an abortion,” Philipps tweeted late Tuesday just as Alabama lawmakers voted to ban all abortions in the state and to punish doctors, and as other states prepare for their own versions of the law.
“Many people think they don’t know someone who has, but #youknowme. So let’s do this: if you are also the 1 in 4, let’s share it and start to end the shame. Use #youknowme and share your truth.”
Last week, when Georgia became the fourth state this year to enact a law outlawing most abortions at about six weeks — before most women know they are pregnant — Philipps condemned Georgia’s decision on her E! talk show, “Busy Tonight,” and opened up then about her abortion at age 15.
She continued her advocacy Wednesday as the movement prompted a barrage of replies from women protesting legislation criminalizing abortions and sharing their emotional personal histories — similar to the early days of 2017’s revolutionary #MeToo movement.
“The Good Place” actress and activist Jameela Jamil and writer and actress Miranda July both tweeted the #youknowme hashtag, and July went further by sharing why she had an abortion at age 27. “Game of Thrones” star Lena Headey also used it on Instagram, writing “#youknowme #NoShame Women’s and Girls Rights are human rights.”
I was 27. My then-boyfriend, who was big on "pulling out in time", 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 https://t.co/AA6kiKKz0v— Miranda July (@Miranda_July) May 15, 2019
In Philipps’ Twitter replies — and across social media — women said they had abortions because their pregnancies were life-threatening or the fetus wasn’t viable. Others said they had them to preserve their careers or limit their growing families. Some had them after being raped or to escape abusive relationships. Several made it clear that women shouldn’t have to justify their decisions.
Actress and singer Keke Palmer tweeted about the abortion she had at age 24: “I was worried about my career responsibilities and afraid that I could not exist as both a career woman and mother.”
One woman simply said she had one at age 12.
“Dear White People” star Logan Browning tweeted her support for the campaign using the hashtag #iknowher. She said she supported her friends “who made decisions about their own bodies.”
“We must protect women, and dismantle The idea that termination is an easy choice or cakewalk procedure,” she wrote.
On Instagram, actress Milla Jovovich shared a lengthy post detailing her experience.
“Abortion is hard enough for women on an emotional level without having to go through it in potentially unsafe and unsanitary conditions,” she wrote Tuesday. “I myself went through an emergency abortion 2 years ago. I was 4 1/2 months pregnant and shooting on location in Eastern Europe. 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.”
On Wednesday, Shout Your Abortion founder Amelia Bonow chimed in, tweeting: “So many powerful women have quietly benefitted from abortion. It’s never been a better time to stand up and help the world understand how abortion has helped you live your best life. They cannot win without our silence. #ShoutYourAbortion #YouKnowMe”
Here’s a sampling of other high-profile responses:
I want to say again that the reason why I DIDN'T have an abortion was because an abortion provider was THE ONLY PERSON around me to tell me that I was a strong woman who knew what I needed and that whatever I decided would be best for me would be best for everyone.— Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo) May 15, 2019
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