Lena Dunham drafted a host of well known friends for The History Of 100 Years Of Women’s Health Care At Planned Parenthood, the short film (above) she co-directed with animator Kirsten Lepore. Others taking part in the production include comedians Mindy Kaling and Amy Schumer, actors Meryl Streep, America Ferrera, Hari Nef, Jennifer Lawrence, and Constance Wu, and producer J.J. Abrams.
But the real stars of this show are the female trailblazers who fought (and continue to fight) for access to safe and affordable reproductive care for all women, regardless of age, race, or ability to pay.
In the words of founder Margaret Sanger, a controversial figure who seems to share quite a few traits with Dunham, from her deft leverage of her celebrity on behalf of her chosen cause to her capacity for alienating fans with some of her less savory views and statements:
No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.
Women like Rosie Jimenez, a single mother who died from complications of a back alley abortion following the passage of the Hyde Amendment, were victimized by laws regarding reproductive choice.
Others, like Estelle Griswold, executive director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut, flouted the laws to bring about change.
More recently Faye Wattleton, Planned Parenthood’s first African American president and its current president, Cecile Richards, have worked to promote awareness of both the public’s rights and any impending dangers to those rights.
(Vice President Mike Pence’s inadvertent fundraising efforts go unheralded, appropriately enough. The millions of women—and men—who made small donations to Planned Parenthood in his name are the true heroes here.)
For more of Dunham’s highly visible support of Planned Parenthood, read her 2015 interview with President Cecile Richards or check out the t‑shirt she designed to benefit the California Planned Parenthood Education Fund.
Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Her play Zamboni Godot is opening in New York City in March 2017. Follow her @AyunHalliday.