On Tuesday, Lena Dunham, less than a month removed from widespread criticism over what she later claimed was a badly delivered joke about wishing she had once gotten an abortion, and her vocal pro-choice activism, were back in the news. That’s because in conjunction with NowThisHer, she released an animated documentary short about the history of Planned Parenthood via her Lenny Letter vertical. Dunham co-directed the video with animation director Kirsten Lepore.
The video, which runs just under seven minutes, documents Planned Parenthood’s founding by Margaret Sanger and her work in the women’s health space, including in the development of the birth control pill. To Dunham’s credit, she did not shy away from Sanger’s association with the eugenics movement before pivoting to Planned Parenthood’s transformation into a more politically active organization post-Roe v. Wade. In addition to Dunham, narrators of the piece include Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Mindy Kaling, America Ferrera and others, with music by Jack Antonoff of Wu Bleachers and film director J.J. Abrams, who had previously composed the theme song for his TV series “Alias.”
Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research group, released a study showing that the rate of abortions has declined to the lowest rate since Roe v. Wade as of 2014, the year of the most recent available data. The numbers averaged out to a rate of 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards spoke out about the study, with NBC News quoting her as saying that “It shows that we’re finally doing a better job of helping women get access to birth control that’s affordable and that’s high quality.” Kristi Hamrick of anti-choice group Americans United for Life disagreed, citing tighter restrictions on abortions in some states, telling NPR that “These have been game-changers.”
Rachel Jones, Guttmacher’s lead researcher, told NBC it was likely both
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