Amber Tamblyn Has a Lot to Learn About Trans Women’s Reproductive Rights

Are men who identify as women being denied their reproductive rights? ‘That’s a major part of the discussion’

Amber Tamblyn
Amber Tamblyn / AP

Actress Amber Tamblyn admitted she has much to learn about the reproductive rights of trans women, and whether men who self-identify as women can get abortions.

The Atlantic and Refinery29 hosted a panel discussion entitled "Young Women Rising: America’s Next Top Voter?" during the Democratic National Convention, Tuesday evening.

Following a 30-minute conversation on "intersectionality" and millennial feminism, a reporter asked the panel for its thoughts on reproductive rights and women’s health issues for men who ascribe to a female gender identity.

Ayanna Pressley, a Boston city councilor at-large, said the issue of men who identify as women getting abortions is all about "elevated consciousness."

"I would say ultimately all advocacy begins with elevated consciousness and because of movements like Black Lives Matter where you have seen trans women at the fore of that, because of the public accommodations legislation, because of so many things that are happening at a policy level, our consciousness is being elevated," Pressley said. "I do believe that as our consciousness is elevated we will be better informed, better educated, and we can mobilize around those issues."

"And again, no single issue, any constituency group," she added. "The concerns of the trans community go far beyond public accommodation. The concerns of the African-American community go far beyond police brutality."

When asked if trans women are "being denied their reproductive rights" Pressley was stumped.

"You got me on that one."

Tamblyn chimed in, arguing that the reproductive rights of trans women are at the forefront of the conversation at Planned Parenthood, where the Grudge 2 star sits on the board of directors.

"I wouldn’t know any statistics on that but I would say that goes again with the same notion of community, and fighting for everyone together," Tamblyn said. "That for me as a heterosexual white woman to talk about reproductive rights and sit on the board of directors for Planned Parenthood, I have to not just talk about my people. I have to talk about everybody. And that’s a huge thing, and that’s a major part of the discussion."

Tamblyn admitted she has a lot to learn about whether biological men are being denied abortions.

"The fact that I don’t know, the fact that I don’t have an answer should tell you a lot," she said. "About what I need to learn."

Alex Wagner, a senior editor for the Atlantic who moderated the discussion, then deflected the conversation.

"Reproductive rights affect men and women, right?" she said. "Making a baby naturally takes two things. That’s just what I hear."