Busy Philipps counters anti-abortion laws with #YouKnowMe; Rihanna, Ellen DeGeneres speak out

Bill Keveney

Actress and talk show host Busy Philipps is asking women who have had abortions to tell their stories as part of a push against anti-abortion legislation being considered and enacted in a number of states.

Philipps' effort comes as Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey Wednesday signed a near-total abortion ban. The state is one of a dozen that have passed or attempted to pass stricter abortion legislation this year. 

Philipps, who recently shared her story about having an abortion at 15, reached out to other women on social media as part of the launch of her #YouKnowMe campaign, saying one in four have had abortions. Sharing stories will help to end the shame often associated with abortion, she wrote.

Busy Philipps is speaking out about her own abortion, and encouraging others to do the same to counter legislation around the country.

"There is an attack on women happening in this country right now. I won't be silent and I have no shame about my personal choice. I am 1 in 4. #youknowme ❤️ I know there is power in sharing our stories. I know it," she wrote in an Instagram post that has attracted nearly 120,000 likes since being posted earlier Wednesday.

Philipps, who also advocates donations to organizations fighting "these draconian laws," doesn't cite a source for her statistic. However, a 2017 analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, which focuses on issues relating to reproductive health and rights, cites the same statistic and says 23.7% of women in the U.S. will have an abortion by the age of 45. 

More:Jameela Jamil, Milla Jovovich open up about past abortions to protest new laws

More:Alabama governor signs near-total abortion ban into law

In a parallel message on Twitter, which has had more than 5,800 retweets and 29,000 likes since Tuesday, the former "Busy Tonight" host cited the statistic and included the hashtag: "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."

Philipps, 39, tearfully discussed her abortion on the May 7 edition of her series, saying she was motivated by Georgia's "heartbeat bill" restricting abortion. 

"I can not sit idly by while women’s rights are stripped away," she said.

More:25 men voted to ban abortion in Alabama. Do they reflect the rest of America?

Philipps added: "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."

Amber Tamblyn also shared her "#YouKnowMe story, tweeting about her own abortion on Thursday.

"In 2012, I had an abortion. It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make," wrote Tamblyn, who previously discussed the experience in her book, "Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and Revolution,"  which was published in March. 

She continued, "I still think about it to this day. But these truths do not make me regret my decision. It was the right choice for me, at that time in my life. I have not a single doubt about this. #YouKnowMe" 

"Friday Night Lights" actress Minka Kelly revealed she too had an abortion, when she was "younger."

"It was the smartest decision I could’ve made, not only for myself & my boyfriend at the time, but also for this unborn fetus," she wrote on Instagram Thursday. "For a baby to’ve been born to two people — too young and completely ill equipped — with no means or help from family, would have resulted in a child born into an unnecessary world of struggle.

"Having a baby at that time would have only perpetuated the cycle of poverty, chaos and dysfunction I was born into," wrote Kelly, the daughter of guitarist Rick Dufay and Maureen Kelly, an exotic dancer who died in 2008.

"Forcing a child to be born to a mother who isn’t ready, isn’t financially stable, was raped, a victim of incest (!!), isn’t doing that theoretical child any favors," Kelly stressed. 

Many other celebrities took to social media to push back against anti-abortion legislation.

Ellen DeGeneres said she was with female residents of states where abortion laws are becoming more restrictive.

"I stand with the women in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, and everywhere, who have the right to decide what happens to their bodies, as we all do," the talk show host tweeted.

"These men in power are imposing their wills onto the bodies of women in order to uphold the patriarchy and perpetuate the industrial prison complex by preventing women of low economic opportunity the right to choose to not reproduce," model/actress Emily Ratajkowski shared to Instagram. "This is about class and race and is a direct attack on the fundamental human rights women in the US deserve and are protected by under Roe vs. Wade. Our bodies, our choice."

Lady Gaga offered her prayers and detailed her thoughts: "It is an outrage to ban abortion in Alabama period, and all the more heinous that it excludes those (who) have been raped or are experiencing incest non-consensual or not. So there's a higher penalty for doctors who perform these operations than for most rapists? This is a travesty and I pray for all these women and young girls who will suffer at the hands of this system."

"I’m beyond upset about the passing of new abortion bans in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, and Ohio," Witherspoon tweeted. "This is Unconstitutional and Abhorrent. We can not tolerate this attack on women’s fundamental rights."

In one of a number of tweets opposing the legislation, Milano said the efforts in various states are part of a larger Republican war on women.

"There have been nearly 30 bans on abortion introduced, passed, or signed into law in statehouses around the country this year alone," she wrote. "This is Trump's anti-choice agenda and part of the GOP's war on women." 

DuVernay, responding to a news report about the progress of the Alabama legislation, wrote that the current situation cannot be normalized and that it requires action.

"Don't move forward after reading this like everything is normal. Don't shake your head at Alabama and then keep going about your day," she wrote. "Realize that this is a warning. It's Alabama and abortion today. It's you and your rights tomorrow. Your silence will not save you. So speak up." 

"My take is this- Some of these bills were written to be intentionally so agriegous (sic) that they will (be) struck down so the court can instead uphold instead a more 'reasonable' abortion ban," "The Act" actress Patricia Arquette tweeted

Chloë Grace Moretz shared a pair of posts expressing her feelings about the laws.

"This is disgusting. In 2019 we are watching women’s rights be dismantled and torn apart," she wrote. "We deserve to have right over our own bodies to make our own decisions."

In a follow-up tweet, she shared a compilation photo of those who voted for the bill and reiterated her disdain.

"I’m appalled I’m disgusted," her post read. "We deserve the right to have jurisdiction over our own bodies."

Rihanna also shared the photo of the male legislators.

"Take a look. these are the idiots making decisions for WOMEN in America," she tweeted. She also singled out Kay Ivey, the female governor who signed the Alabama bill into law Wednesday, writing, "SHAME ON YOU!!!!"

"Fast & Furious" star Michelle Rodriguez offered her followers information on how to get involved and decried the legislation in several states.

"Turning back time to the knuckle dragging era of cave men," she lamented. "Sad."

"The Good Place" actress Jameela Jamil warned: "Hope the people of Alabama who want the abortion ban are up for donating their money and space to the MEGA influx of kids in need of care, coming your way."

"Terrifying + insane" is how musician Maggie Rogers described the legislation in one tweet, adding, "all I’m left with is this boiling feeling of helplessness + anger + fear in my chest. how do you celebrate your mother and then seek to control her?"

Contributing: Erin Jensen and Dillon Thompson, Montgomery Advertiser