MJ: So have we evolved a bit since then?
LW: Yes, I think so. The good news is that now we have an entire generation of men and women who've been raised in the ranks with there being a substantial amount of women doing comedy. So the shows I do now around New York have plenty of women. I think if you still have TV shows that are run by men that are really old-school, you're still gonna have old-school problems. But as shows start coming up where younger men and younger women are running those shows, I think they run them the way their lives are—which is full of men and women. Which is great.
MJ: How's the Planned Parenthood tour been?
I wish every city would stand up and say: "Planned Parenthood...You will not be fucked, because we have your back."
LW: The take-home for me is that women rally when there's a crisis. To me, Planned Parenthood—and the discussion about reproductive rights and health—needs to be part of your routine. Like going to yoga. Or breathing. You can't just jump in when some horrible thing is about to go down. We cannot live in crisis mode. It needs to be this living, breathing thing. I wish that every city in America would stand up and say, "Planned Parenthood, we are so glad you are a part of our community. Just know that you can always count on us being there. We will be your champion. You will not be fucked, because we have your back."
People who work in reproductive health care can't be doing the heavy lifting and be the ones to [defend themselves] as well. The women who use the services and are sexually active and who use birth control and use these clinics have to be the people who say, "Part of being a human being is being a sexual being. And we're not embarrassed. And we're not going to mask that we're sexual beings." I'm tired of trying to dance around everything—even in this discussion that the country's having about birth control. It's incredibly valid that people use birth control for many other reasons other than just birth control, but we need to tell people that people use birth control for endometriosis first and then kind of slide in the sex thing, "Fuck that. It all needs to be valid."
MJ: You write about accidentally getting pregnant as a teenager, having a terrible experience at a crisis pregnancy center, and eventually getting an abortion. What motivated you to speak out?
"There's always someone trying to decide something about my crazy-ass uterus! Which I don't really understand."
LW: One thing was that the story is not extraordinary. It's happening to women all the time. It's happening to young girls who don't know any better. And they wander into these awful places, pregnant, and they don't have any information and they're demonized by these awful people. And I think that the more women start having a conversation about abortion and about the lack of information that we provide, the more normal it becomes. I had so many women come up to me and say, "I have a story that's so similar and I want to start telling it now." I would never tell someone to tell their story, but hopefully by telling mine it will encourage you to make the decision on your own. Every time you tell your story, someone has to put your face when they are saying something hateful—or the face of their sister or their mom or their cousin or their coworker. If people know that people have abortions and go to Planned Parenthood and get birth control, it's no longer that "bad" people have abortions. It's that people have abortions—because they have to make a choice about how they’re going to move forward. [Click here to browse all Mother Jones coverage on reproductive rights.]
MJ: Between the Komen Foundation defunding Planned Parenthood and transvaginal ultrasound laws and the controversy around no-cost birth control coverage, it seems like there's always something going on with reproductive rights these days. Thoughts?
LW: Yes, there's always someone trying to decide something about my crazy-ass uterus! Which I don't really understand at all. I mean, I don't know how you arrive at: Your boss gets to make moral decisions about what kind of health care you have in your insurance plan? Like, that's the world we live in. But I think that women aren't taking it sitting down anymore. I think the Komen thing slapped them in the face. In Virginia, many people thought it was fine to propose a law that says you can have something shoved in your vagina against your will. And a lot of people didn't seem to have a problem with that. I mean, it shocked enough people—except apparently Rick Santorum who fights on in this deafening world that is his own. It's astounding to watch actually. I haven't seen anybody with that kind of commitment to his conviction in a long time in politics. It's certainly not a conviction that I believe in, but at least I know why I hate Rick Santorum. He's made it perfectly clear.
MJ: So as a comedian, were you hoping Santorum would be the nominee?
LW: To me, it's just all very frightening. Comedically, they both seem to be just fine. I'm not that worried. My worry, honestly, was that with this many in the race, it was just that much more disinformation that went unchecked. At least if it's one dumbshit saying stuff, you can go, "Oh, there's this one dumbshit who keeps saying stuff." But with three or four of them just constantly blabbing, it's a wall of crap that just keeps getting spewed. [Politics] just keeps getting weirder and weirder. At one point it may actually put me out of business because it may become a joke that you can't make a joke about. That's frightening.