“I was assaulted, raped, and very, very vulnerable. How was I going to raise a child?” says Nanette comedian Hannah Gadsby.
Comedian Hannah Gadsby has a big year ahead with her new tour Douglas (which is coming to the UK) and next month’s turn as the headliner for The Guilty Feminist Live at the Royal Albert Hall.
It’s only been a little over a year since Gadbsy’s breakout Netflix stand-up show Nanette, which saw her swapping punchlines for tough truths. After living her life suppressed in shame, it feels like she definitely isn’t afraid to speak out anymore. This includes opening up about her experiences as a queer woman growing up surrounded by homophobia, and the physical and emotional abuse she has faced.
Explaining why she chose to do this in her stand-up routine, Gadsby recently explained during a Ted Talk: “I realised that I’ve been telling my stories for laughs. I’ve been trimming away the darkness, cutting away the pain and holding on to my trauma for the comfort of my audience.”
She added: “I had an idea to tell my truth, all of it. Not to share laughs but to share the literal, visceral pain of my trauma and I thought the best way to do that was with a comedy show.”
Now, Gadsy has continued to unravel the layers of her traumas by responding to the recent abortion bans in America. Just this week, Donald Trump spread misleading pro-life rhetoric at his 2020 campaign launch, saying Democrats support taxes to “rip babies straight from the mother’s womb.” His comments came after 16 states passed anti-abortion legislation this year.
Speaking to Variety magazine, Gadsby responded to what’s currently happening in America, saying: “They’re getting away with it because they’ve got into the branding really well. It’s not pro-life. What a stupid fucking statement! I’m pro-life, but I had an abortion. That sits very comfortably in my head as a duality.”
She then went on to recall her abortion and why having the freedom to do it was so important.
“Had I been in that state, under these laws, under these politics at that time in my life, I would be dead. It’s as simple as that,” she said.
“I was assaulted, raped, and very, very vulnerable. How was I going to raise a child? I would have ended up dead. How is that pro-life? You can’t say women can’t have abortions and then provide absolutely no infrastructure to help them.”
Worryingly, Gadbsy’s abortion experience is a relatable one for many women living under the new laws in America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent report found that almost three million American women experience rape related pregnancy in their lifetime.
Having voices like Gadbsy’s can only amplify the fight against these laws, and we salute her for sharing another important truth with people who it might help.
You can find help and support for rape victims at Rape Crisis.