We Heart: Busy Philipps’ Brave Segment on Abortion Rights

In the midst of attacks on abortion by state lawmakers nationwide last week, Busy Philipps told her own abortion story on Busy Tonight, her late-night show on E! Georgia’s extreme six-week ban on abortion, which would allow women who have abortions to be jailed, inspired Philipps to open about her own abortion at 15 in a spirited and emotional monologue.

“We tend not to be overtly political,” Philipps explained from the stage, “but as it turns out, just trying to be a woman in the world is political.”

Philipps went on to declare that only women and their doctors are in the proper position to make informed decisions about abortion care—not lawmakers—and explained to viewers that anti-abortion laws have negative implications for women’s health and safety. “No bill that criminalizes abortion will stop anyone from making this incredibly personal choice,” Philipps said, “but these laws will put more women at risk. Every woman deserves compassion and care, not judgment and interference when it comes to their own bodies.”

Philipps, who was by this point choking back tears, then told her own story. “The statistic is that one in four women will have an abortion before age 45,” she said to a remarkably silent audience. “Maybe you’re sitting there thinking, ‘I don’t know a woman who would have an abortion.’ Well, you know me. I had an abortion when I was 15 years old, and I’m telling you this because I’m genuinely really scared for women and girls all over this country, and I think we all need to be talking more and sharing our stories more.”

The audience erupted with supportive applause and cheers—and social media users have been buzzing in solidarity with Busy, too.

Philipps’ brave decision to tell her own story, and devote air time to abortion rights, is an urgent reminder of the political moment’s dangerous implications for women’s lives and the importance of women’s representation in media. Philipps and her almost all-female crew have served as a fresh presence in the heavily male-dominated late-night television space.

Unfortunately, Busy Tonight wasn’t renewed by E! for another season, and the last episode airs this week on May 16. Her powerful segment last week, however, surely made a lasting impact on the landscape.

About

Roxy Szal is a former editorial intern at Ms. After four years of teaching English to Texas middle-schoolers, she earned a Masters in Journalism and Mass Communications at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her graduate capstone project eventually grew into a misogyny in the media watchdog project called How Not to be Sexist.  She is now a freelance writer and editor. Follow Roxy on Twitter: @roxyszal