Girls star Jemima Kirke opened up about a personal and controversial subject in a new PSA: She talks about an abortion she had when she was a college student.
In the video, posted this week by the Center for Reproductive Rights for their "Draw the Line" campaign, the 29-year-old London-born actress, artist and mother talks about the difficulties and "stigma" attached to ending a pregnancy and shares her hopes for her and husband Michael Mosberg's young daughters.
"In 2007, I became pregnant with my boyfriend at the time," Kirke, who also has a 2-year-old son, says in the PSA. "I wasn't sure that I wanted to be attached to this person for the rest of my life. My life just was not conducive to raising a healthy, happy child. I just didn't feel it was fair. So, I decided to get an abortion."
"I went to Planned Parenthood in Providence, Rhode island, where I was at school," she said. "Because I couldn't tell my mother that I was pregnant, I had to pay for it out-of-pocket. I did have to like, you know, empty...my checking account, what I had in there and get some from my boyfriend."
For a 22-year-old woman making minimum wage, a first trimester abortion in-house at the clinic she mentioned currently costs $526. A second trimester procedure is $802. Sedation is optional and an extra $105. Jemima says in the PSA that she would have been able to afford her abortion easier if she had forsaken the anesthesia.
Jemima, who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2008, filmed the PSA to raise awareness of the "impact of anti-choice policies on access to reproductive health." The actress has talked about her abortion before, mentioning it briefly in an interview with Vulture in 2012.
The video comes amid recent pro-life legislation; Last week, the Oklahoma and Kansas senates passed bans on dilation and evacuation, a common procedure for second trimester abortions, with few exceptions. Opponents of the procedure call them "dismemberment abortions." The Center for Reproductive Rights has condemned the bans.
"I have a stepdaughter, who's 8 and I have my younger one, who is 4," Kirke says in her video. "I'm already anticipating their issues with self esteem, their issues with their body, you know, the sort of, the luggage that comes with being a woman. And so, I would love if when they're older and they're in their teens or their twenties, that the political issues surrounding their body were not there anymore, you know, that they have one less thing to battle around their bodies."
"Because they'll always be there—their own criticism and their own battles will be there," she says. "But I would hate to see them having to fight for rights over their bodies as well."
On season 1 of Girls, Kirke's character, Jessa, thought she was pregnant and her friends rallied around her. She almost underwent an abortion but didn't show up for her appointment because she turned out not to be.
"I've always felt that reproductive issues should be something that women, especially, should be able to talk about freely, especially amongst each other," Jessa says in the PSA. "And I still see that today—I still see shame and embarrassment around terminating pregnancies, getting pregnant."