In her ‘SNL’ event, Cecily Strong opened a dialogue on abortion. Here’s what experts say

In the show’s Weekend Update segment, the actress explained that the clown costume should make the subject a little more edible for the audience. She was introduced in light of a controversial Texas law currently being debated in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Strong spoke as his character Goober the Clown and shared a story about a woman seeking an abortion on the eve of her 23rd birthday.

“I wish I did not have to do this, because the abortion I had as a 23-year-old is my personal clown business,” Strong said during his segment of the segment.

CNN contacted NBC to confirm if the show was a tale of Strong’s personal experience and has not been heard back.

For decades, abortion has been a plentiful issue. The controversy has become a major topic of conversation recently in the wake of Texas’ “heartbeat” law, which was signed into law on May 19 and essentially bans abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically about six weeks inside a pregnancy.

Many media commentators praised Strong’s discussion, but those against abortion rights also spoke out online to call it a flippant stance on a serious topic.

Strong’s buzz-drawing performance on Saturday fell at a particularly relevant time, as Fridays and Saturdays are a busy time for abortion clinics, said Renee Bracey Sherman, founder and CEO of abortion story organization We Testify.

There may have been a patient lying in bed at home recovering from their procedure after a long day of being yelled at by protesters and waiting at a clinic that turned on the show to relax, she said.

Strong’s appearance may have drawn back a curtain to show that the experience they went through is shared by many, despite the secrecy and silence surrounding it, said Bracey Sherman – and that was just the beginning of the conversation.

(From left) Cecily Strong as Goober The Clown and anchor Colin Jost during 'SNL's Weekend Update on Saturday.

Facts

When it comes to abortion, many people “do not even know how to talk to other clowns about it,” and a lot of information is not passed on, Strong said Saturday.

She cited a statistic that 1 in 3 women will have an abortion during her lifetime. Current data shows that it is actually estimated 1 in 4 women of childbearing age in the United States, but she was right in her message, said Lauren Cross, a spokeswoman for the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization for reproductive health that supports abortion rights.

“The main point that Cecily Strong made is spot on: abortion is a widely shared and shared experience, certainly since (the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade made abortions legal in all 50 states back in 1973), and even before that. “People of all ages, races and religions get abortions,” Cross said via email.

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In fact, the Guttmacher Institute has consistently found that the majority of people who have an abortion have a religious affiliation. The latest data from 2014 show that only 38% of the people who had an abortion did not report any religious affiliation.

When Strong said she would not be the “clown” she is today if it were not for access to abortion, Cross said the “SNL” star was an example of a situation where many patients find themselves.

About 75% of abortion patients in 2014, the latest available data, were below the federal poverty level or low income, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Not having access to abortion treatment makes a patient more likely to experience persistent poverty, according to the American Psychological Association. Being denied abortions also made patients more likely to stay in touch with a violent partner, the APA said.

The right to access abortion may be legally protected by Roe v. Wade, but since then, states have passed more than 1,300 abortion restrictions, Cross said.

These restrictions have imposed practical barriers for women seeking them out, she added. Some states do not allow abortion treatment to be covered by insurance, others result in patients having to travel long distances to get to a clinic, and some impose time limits that allow patients to navigate after lack of work to attend multiple appointments.
A 33-year-old mother of three from central Texas is waiting to get everything ready from the medical staff to leave after having an abortion in October at Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, Louisiana.

The experiences

In her performance, Strong referred to a guestbook in an abortion clinic’s waiting room where patients could leave their stories to help future patients feel less alone.

She also described a comment in the health nurse’s office that reassured her “you are not a terrible person and your life is not over now.”

“I think the way the anti-abortion movement wins makes us believe that we are alone and that no one cares about people having abortions, that we are these random abstract ideas instead of people. , “said Bracey Sherman. “Everyone loves someone who has had an abortion.”

What Strong described – the experience of hearing other stories and feeling supported – is one that not all patients get, said Dr. Meera Shah, Chief Physician at Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic.

Shah works primarily in New York, but once a month she travels to Indiana to give abortions to communities with less access. In New York, she says her patients can have an abortion the same day they seek one.

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The story is different in Indiana, where Shah said she is required to administer an ultrasound, provide a copy of the image to the patient, read a manuscript that says life begins at conception and that her patients return 18 hours later to the procedure.

If the abortion was not in response to something traumatic, Strong said many would describe it as not “fair.” Many advocates stressed that the stigma surrounding it can be shameful and harmful to women.

“The vast majority of patients expressed relief,” Shah said. “Some people will never be parents and it’s not part of their life plan, some people already have the children they want and for some people it’s just not the right time.

“Not all abortions are the result of incest, rape and trauma,” she said.

In the case Strong described, it required a joke from a healthcare professional during an abortion appointment to communicate “you are not a horrible person and your life is not over now.”

A 33-year-old mother of three from Central Texas is being escorted down the aisle by the clinic administrator before having an abortion in Shreveport, Louisiana.

The resources

As many politicians continue debates about abortion, many people are still seeking them – and there are resources available to help them take care of themselves as they do, advocates said.

“It’s going to happen, so it should be safe, legal and accessible,” Strong said.

Proponents of abortion rights refer many people who feel they need an abortion but face financial or logistical barriers to the National Network of Abortion Funds, which offers assistance and information around the United States.
There can be a wide range of emotions after a patient has undergone an abortion, from relief to shame from the stigma many people feel. Shah said she refers her patients to organizations like Exhale and Options.

“These are resources that people can turn to if they feel they need to share their story or talk to someone about their experience, and if they feel they are a little alone in that experience,” she said. .

“No abortion experience is the same,” Bracey Sherman said. “Everyone deserves to share their abortion story on the media that feels best to them.”

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