Gloria Steinem didn't say that guns vs. abortion quote that's gone viral

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle

The Las Vegas massacre has been weighing heavily on the hearts and minds of everyone, including celebrities. In the immediate wake of the tragedy, we saw stars calling for better gun control laws, and now, a day later, we’re seeing many famous women share a powerful quote attributed to — but actually not originated by — Gloria Steinem, which compares gun control and abortion, as the House voted on legislation banning abortion after 20 weeks.

Gloria Steinem didn’t say that guns vs. abortion quote that’s gone viral. (Photo: Getty Images)

Gisele BündchenKate Upton, Karlie Kloss, Kelly RowlandElisabeth MossPadma LakshmiMelanie Griffith, and Melissa Gilbert are just a handful of the women who posted the quote from the feminist icon that contrasts the treatment of young men buying guns with the treatment young women get when seeking an abortion.

“I want any young men who buy a gun to be treated like young women who seek an abortion,” it reads. “Think about it: a mandatory 48-hour waiting period, written permission from a parent or a judge, a note from a doctor proving that he understands what he is about to do, time spent watching a video on individual and mass murders, traveling hundreds of miles at his own expense to the nearest gun shop, and walking through protesters holding photos of loved ones killed by guns, protesters who call him a murderer. After all, it makes more sense to do this for young men seeking guns than for young women seeking an abortion. No young woman needing reproductive freedom has ever murdered a roomful of strangers.”

Kate Upton posted the full quote:


Gisele Bündchen’s version was shorter:


Upton captioned it, “Pray for Vegas,” while Kloss wrote, “Powerful thought.” Gilbert’s post noted, “Eloquent, poignant and exactly perfectly spot on.”

With so many famous people sharing it, we dug into its origins. And while Steinem has posted it to Facebook — as part of a 2015 list entitled “Top Ten Things I Want for Christmas” (it was No. 3) that was linked to the BETTY Effect, to which she first shared it — she noted, “This riff is not mine, it’s on the Internet — I thank whoever gave us all this present.”

So where did it come from? Well, it’s been around since at least 2015. Following the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon, it was shared by Sharon Stone and MTV’s Nev Schulman, the latter of whom received more than 15,000 shares and sparked a big debate on his page.  At the time, neither knew where the quote came from, with Stone writing, “Not sure who the author is but this says it all.”

It went viral again after the Orlando nightclub shootings in June 2016 — feminist artist Michele Pred was one of the people to share it in a slightly different format.

Now, as the largest mass shooting in recent U.S. history dominates our news — timed with the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act — it has a new life.



A HuffPost piece from Oct. 2015 noted it was shared early on by Facebook user Brian Murtagh, whose feed is filled with political posts. He noted in a since deleted post that the author may have been inspired by William Hamby’s 2014 Examiner article, in which he likened antiabortion laws to gun laws in the U.S. (That article is gone too, but here’s a copy.)

It seems some of the celebs are being made aware that the quote didn’t originate with Steinem. Moss changed the caption on hers to, “Gloria Steneim quoted this person on her Facebook page… would love to know who wrote it originally.”


Regardless of its origins, the quote is poignant now in light of what just occurred in Las Vegas — and keeps happening across the country — as well as the House vote on the Sen. Trent Franks-sponsored bill, backed by the White House, that would make it a crime to perform an abortion after 20 weeks.

For real quotes from Steinem, here she is recently talking about the success of Wonder Woman:


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