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Busy Philipps’ #youknowme campaign prompts emotional abortion stories

Busy Philipps’ #youknowme campaign prompts emotional abortion stories
Actress and late-night host Busy Philipps. (Dennis Van Tine / TNS)

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.

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“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.”

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.”

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I don’t like to get political and I try to only do it if a really have to and this is one of those times. If someone doesn’t want to continue reading, you have been warned. Our rights as women to obtain safe abortions by experienced doctors are again at stake. Last Tuesday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a draconian bill into law that outlaws all abortions after six weeks — before most women even realize they’re pregnant — including in cases of RAPE OR INCEST. This makes Georgia the sixth state to pass such a restrictive six-week abortion ban, joining Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, Iowa, and North Dakota. These laws haven’t been passed yet, but lawmakers in these states are trying. Abortion is hard enough for women on an emotional level without having to go through it in potentially unsafe and unsanitary conditions. 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. I spiraled into one of the worst depressions of my life and had to work extremely hard to find my way out. I took time off of my career. I isolated myself for months and had to keep a strong face for my two amazing kids. I started gardening, eating healthier and going to the gym everyday because I didn’t want to jump into taking anti depressants unless I had tried every other alternative. Thank God I was able to find my way out of that personal hell without turning to medication, but the memory of what I went through and what I lost will be with me till the day I die. Abortion is a nightmare at its best. No woman wants to go through that. But we have to fight to make sure our rights are preserved to obtain a safe one if we need to. I never wanted to speak about this experience. But I cannot remain silent when so much is at stake. #prochoice #prochoicegeneration

A post shared by Milla Jovovich (@millajovovich) on

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:

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