As abortion moves to the forefront of national debate after several states passed bills that impose restrictions or outright bans, actress and talk show host Busy Philipps is asking women to open up about their personal experiences to shed the stigma that surrounds the procedure.
In a tweet from Wednesday night, Philipps, who recently divulged that she had an abortion at 15, launched the #youknowme campaign in which she implored other women to go public with their own stories.
Many answered her call to action.
1 in 4 women have had an abortion. 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.— Busy Philipps (@BusyPhilipps) May 15, 2019
"My daughter was 1 year old and I knew financially I couldn't afford another baby. It was the hardest, most painful and deeply personal decision I've made in my life. The government involving itself in such intensely private matters is ridiculous #youknowme," one woman tweeted.
My daughter was 1 year old and I knew financially I couldn't afford another baby. It was the hardest, most painful and deeply personal decision I've made in my life. The government involving itself in such intensely private matters is ridiculous #youknowme— Beyonce's Blackassness 👑✊🏽 (@melanatedgirl) May 15, 2019
"We were in love, in college and not ready for a baby, I called my doctor. Found out it was a tubal pregnancy, so I had an abortion. My partner was so loving and kind during all of it, it brought us closer together. We now have 2 kids, we’ve been together for 20yrs. #YouKnowMe," added another.
We were in love, in college and not ready for a baby, I called my doctor. Found out it was a tubal pregnancy, so I had an abortion. My partner was so loving and kind during all of it, it brought us closer together. We now have 2 kids, we’ve been together for 20yrs. #YouKnowMe— Caitlin Papp (@Caitlpapp) May 15, 2019
#YouKnowMe I was 16 and the condom broke. There was never any question about what I was going to do and I have never regretted it. And I know at least 5 other women who also had one and went on to have kids later once they were ready, and are amazing moms.— Brandi Dawson (@Brandii_Jade) May 15, 2019
I was 19 years old and in my second year of college. I knew I had degrees to finish.— KatBrezler (@KatBrezler) May 15, 2019
I had an abortion.#YouKnowMe
I am a public school teacher in the Bronx.
My life of service and activism might not have been.
I’m grateful to have lived in New York and had access.
I was 24, full-time college student, in a mentally & physically abusive relationship. My OB just found clump of cervical cancer & said going through with pregnancy would mean complications & could possibly risk my life. I had an abortion @ 7wks. 1 in 4 women have them #youknowme— Nati 🦄 ZombiUnicorn 🦄 Casanova 🤙 (@TheZombiUnicorn) May 15, 2019
Philipps' campaign comes on the heels of the Alabama state Senate approving one of the nation's most controversial and restrictive abortion laws, which makes performing an abortion a felony. There is no exemption for cases of rape and incest, which means victims would need to carry the pregnancy to term, though it does allow for the procedure in situations where the woman's health is at risk.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama has already vowed to file a lawsuit to stop the ban. Meanwhile, "heartbeat bills," or laws that would make it illegal for a woman to get an abortion after cardiac activity is detected in a pregnancy, have been passed this year in Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky and Mississippi. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, which is when many women discover they're expecting. All of these laws are facing legal challenges, too.
Even before Philipps launched the #youknowme campaign, a handful of celebrities spoke out about their abortions in light of the new laws. "The Good Place" star Jameela Jamil tweeted Monday that she had an abortion when she was young and "it was the best decision I have ever made." The next day, actress Milla Jovovich shared that she had an emergency abortion two years ago, when she went into pre-term labor at four-and-a-half months pregnant.
"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," she wrote. "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."
I had an abortion when I was young, and it was the best decision I have ever made. Both for me, and for the baby I didn’t want, and wasn’t ready for, emotionally, psychologically and financially. So many children will end up in foster homes. So many lives ruined. So very cruel.— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) May 13, 2019