- Celebrities have discussed their abortions for years, but more stars have shared their stories following bills recently signed into law in Georgia and Alabama.
- Jameela Jamil, Busy Philipps, and Amber Tamblyn are among the women who have recently talked about their experiences with abortion.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
With abortion being a topic of debate, some stars have weighed in and shared their personal stories to shed light on the situation.
On May 7, Brian Kemp, Georgia’s governor, signed a bill into law that bans abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected at six weeks. The “heartbeat bill”calls for the imprisonment of certain women who have miscarriages, and considers miscarriage a form of second-degree murder in some cases.
Alabama legislators also recently passed a bill that would effectively ban abortions in the state and criminalise doctors who provide them.
While it’s a hot topic now, celebrities have been outspoken about having abortions for years.
Here are 24 celebrities who have shared their own experiences with abortions.
Busy Philipps had an abortion when she was 15 years old.
The actress spoke about her experience on her E! talk show, “Busy Tonight,” after Kemp, signed the bill into law.
“I’m telling you this because I’m genuinely really scared for women and girls all over this country,” Philipps said. “And I think that we all need to be talking more and sharing our stories more.”
She continued: “No bill that criminalizes abortion will stop anyone from making this incredibly personal choice, but these laws will put more women at risk. Every woman deserves compassion and care, not judgment and interference when it comes to their own bodies.”
“The Good Place” star Jameela Jamil said that getting an abortion was the “best decision” she ever made.
In May 2019, Jamil shared an article from Slate on Twitter regarding Georgia’s law and called it “upsetting, inhumane, and blatantly demonstrative of a hatred of women, a disregard for our rights, bodies, mental health, and essentially a punishment for rape victims, forcing to carry the baby of their rapist.”
The actress said that having an abortion when she was “young” was for the better “both for me, and for the baby I didn’t want, and wasn’t ready for, emotionally, psychologically and financially.”
Jamil added that with the new law, she thinks that “many children will end up in foster homes” and the influx will make it “hard to find great fostering for them all.”
She also said that the anti-abortion law “is also especially targeted at those without the means/ability to move state. Women who are marginalized, poor or disabled will, as ever, be the ones to suffer the most. The wealthy will have so much more freedom.”
“Resident Evil” star Milla Jovovich opened up about having an “emergency abortion.”
“Abortion is hard enough for women on an emotional level without having to go through it in potentially unsafe and unsanitary conditions,” she said in a lengthy Instagram post in May 2019. “I myself went through an emergency abortion two years ago. I was four and a half months pregnant and shooting on location in Eastern Europe. I went into preterm labour and told that I had to be awake for the whole procedure.”
Jovovich went on to say that it was “one of the most horrific experiences” she’s gone through and her “stomach turns” at the thought of women who may face unsafe conditions in order to get an abortion under new laws.
“The memory of what I went through and what I lost will be with me till the day I die,” she said. “Abortion is a nightmare at its best. No woman wants to go through that. But we have to fight to make sure our rights are preserved to obtain a safe one if we need to. I never wanted to speak about this experience. But I cannot remain silent when so much is at stake. #prochoice#prochoicegeneration.”
“Arrested Development” star Alia Shawkat had an abortion when she was 20.
Shawkat said that at the time, her partner “wasn’t allowed into the United States because he is Palestinian. I wasn’t ready to raise a child alone or to be a mother.”
Nicki Minaj revealed her abortion during a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone.
“I thought I was going to die,” the rapper, who was in high school at the time, said. “I was a teenager. It was the hardest thing I’d ever gone through.”
Minaj said that her choice has “haunted me all my life.”
“It’d be contradictory if I said I wasn’t pro-choice,” she added. “I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have anything to offer a child.”
Former “The View” cohost Sherri Shepherd said that she “had more abortions than I would like to count.”
The comments, which came from an interview with a Christian magazine called Precious Times, sparked controversy. Shepherd later clarified, telling People in 2008 that the quote from the magazine excluded a part in which she said that she suffered “from a lot of shame and guilt.”
Shepherd also spoke about her abortions in 2012 during an episode of “The View.” While discussing a law passed that year in Texas that requires women to “receive a sonogram from the doctor who will be performing the procedure at least 24 hours before the abortion.” The law also requires the doctor to play the heartbeat of the foetus.
“I swear to God, if they had shown me a picture of the foetus, I would have put my child in a lot of situations that wouldn’t have been good because I didn’t have the mental capacity to deal with having a child,” Shepherd said on the show.
Chelsea Handler had her first abortion when she was 16 years old.
In an essay published by Playboy in 2016, Handler said that she had two abortions in the same year.
“I was going through a very bad stage in my life,” the comedian wrote. “I hated my parents and I was having unprotected sex with my boyfriend, who was not someone I should have been having sex [with] in the first place, never mind unprotected sex.”
She went on to say that when she first got pregnant, she considered having the baby, but her parents convinced her to go to Planned Parenthood instead.
“When it was over, I was relieved in every possible way,” she said.
Handler added: “We all make mistakes all the time. I happened to f— up twice at the age of 16. I’m grateful that I came to my senses and was able to get an abortion legally without risking my health or bankrupting myself or my family. I’m 41 now. I don’t ever look back and think, God, I wish I’d had that baby.”
“Glee” star Naya Rivera wrote about her experience in her 2016 memoir titled “Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up.”
Rivera said that she had an abortion after her first breakup with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey and showed up to the set of “Glee” shortly afterward to continue working. The actress said that she and her mum went to Planned Parenthood wearing disguises to avoid being recognised by anyone.
“We paid cash, leaving no paper trail, like it was a drug deal,” she wrote.
“It was the worst experience of my life,” Rivera added. “It was incredibly painful – your body is basically in labour with strong, frequent contractions. I was nauseous and kept going in and out of consciousness because of the pain.”
Rivera continued: “When I got up to work the next day, a little more than 12 hours after having a medical abortion, I had to put my cheerleading uniform back on and hope that the skimpy bloomers covered the giant pad I was wearing.”
In an essay for USA Today, River said she “knew that in sharing my story, I would be judged for the decision I made. But I wanted to let other women facing the same difficult decision to know that they weren’t alone.”
Whoopi Goldberg induced her abortion when she was 14.
“I didn’t get a period,” she said in a book titled “The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion.” “I talked to nobody. I panicked. I sat in hot baths. I drank these strange concoctions girls told me about – something like Johnny Walker Red with a little bit of Clorox, alcohol, baking soda (which probably saved my stomach) and some sort of cream. You mixed it all up. I got violently ill.”
She added: “At that moment I was more afraid of having to explain to anybody what was wrong than of going to the park with a hanger, which is what I did.”
Vanessa Williams had an abortion while in high school.
During a “Nightline” interview, Williams said that her mum didn’t learn about her daughter’s abortion until the two began co-writing a 2012 memoir titled “You Have No Idea.”
“Being pregnant is the most frightening thing that happens in your life,” the actress said. “I knew in high school that’s something that I was not prepared to do, or fight, or struggle with.”
Tennis legend Billie Jean King had an abortion because she “was not in a good place.”
“I was just finding out about my sexuality,” she told Makers. “I was trying to figure my life out. I was trying to get the tour started. I just did not want to bring a baby in the world.”
Minka Kelly said that having an abortion when she was younger “was the smartest decision I could’ve made.”
In an Instagram post, the actress said that her choice was beneficial to her then-boyfriend and the unborn foetus.
“For a baby to’ve been born to two people – too young and completely ill equipped – with no means or help from family, would have resulted in a child born into an unnecessary world of struggle,” she wrote. “Having a baby at that time would have only perpetuated the cycle of poverty, chaos and dysfunction I was born into.” She added: “Forcing a child to be born to a mother who isn’t ready, isn’t financially stable, was raped, a victim of incest (!!), isn’t doing that theoretical child any favours.”
Toni Braxton spoke about her “gut-wrenching decision” in her 2014 memoir titled “Unbreak My Heart.”
Braxton said that because she grew up in a religious household, she felt guilty for the choice made in 2001.
“In my heart, I believed I had taken a life – an action that I thought God might one day punish me for,” she wrote “My initial rage was quickly followed by another strong emotion: guilt. I knew I’d taken a life.”
Braxton went on to say that she “believed God’s payback was to give my son [Diezel, who she welcomed with ex-husband Keri Lewis] autism.”
Speaking to Us Weekly in 2014, she said: “I have since realised that my son is special and learns in a different way.”
Rose McGowan said that she’s “not ashamed” of her abortion.
In response to a statistic posted by Ultra Violet stating that one in four women have an abortion by age 45, McGowan said: “I was on birth control and it failed. I realised I could not bring a child into my world and simultaneously change the world. I do not regret my decision and it was not made lightly. If you do not want an abortion, don’t get one. My body, my choice, my life.”
Stevie Nicks confirmed that the Fleetwood Mac song “Sara” was partially about her and Eagles member Don Henley’s aborted child.
“Had I married Don and had that baby, and had she been a girl, I would have named her Sara,” Nicks told Billboard in 2014. The singer went on to say that the song is “accurate, but not the entirety of it.”
Ashley Judd had an abortion and said that if she didn’t, she “would’ve had to co-parent with my rapist.”
“I’m a three-time rape survivor and one of the times I was raped, there was conception,” Judd said at the Women in the World Summit in New York in April 2019. “I’m very thankful I was able to access safe and legal abortion. Because that rapist, who is a Kentucky-ian, as am I, and I reside in Tennessee, has paternity rights in Kentucky and Tennessee. I would have had to co-parent with a rapist.”
Amber Tamblyn had an abortion in 2012.
“It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” Tamblyn wrote on Twitter. “I still think about it to this day. But these truths do not make me regret my decision. It was the right choice for me, at that time in my life. I have not a single doubt about this. #YouKnowMe”
Kathy Najimy was 18 years old when she ended a pregnancy.
Najimy said that she discovered her pregnancy, despite using birth control, after she and her first boyfriend broke up.
“I knew immediately that I was in no position to be a parent,” she said during a speech given at a Planned Parenthood event in 2003. “I was a college student on a scholarship with no job, no money, barely my own apartment, and of all things … a theatre major, not even something real. And, although he was a very nice guy, my ex-boyfriend was also in no condition to parent.”
Najimy went on to say that she “was entitled to a safe and legal abortion,” and she recognised her privilege.
“My choice was only possible because of the treacherous, hard-won battle of those who came before me,” she said.
“Teen Mum 2” star Kailyn Lowry said her mum forced her to have an abortion when she was 16.
In her 2014 memoir, “Pride Over Pity,” the reality TV star said that she was raped by her then-boyfriend. She wanted to keep the baby, but her mum told her to get an abortion.
“Looking back, I know why I should have had one because I was 16,” she told OK! magazine. “I didn’t have a licence. I didn’t have a job. I had nothing. I was literally with my mum and I don’t know if I even had my first job at that point.”
She added: “How my mum went about it and the things she said, I think she was embarrassed. So I get upset, but I think now looking back, it was the right decision.”
“Girls” star Jemima Kirke had an abortion in 2007 while in college
“I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be attached to this person for the rest of my life,” she said in a video made for the Center for Reproductive Rights in 2015. “My life was just not conducive to raising a healthy, happy child. I just didn’t feel it was fair. So, I decided to get an abortion.”
The actress went on to say that she couldn’t bring herself to share the news with her mother, so she paid for the procedure herself.
Joan Collins has spoken about her abortion in interviews and in her memoirs.
While in a relationship with Warren Beatty in her 20s, the actress got pregnant.
“It would have been absolute career death for me to have done that, even though I wasn’t yet getting to a broody period, I got to my broody period a couple of years later but it was just, it would have been unthinkable to have a child,” Collins told Piers Morgan in 2010.
She added: “He didn’t have any money, I had nothing, and I believe if you are going to bring a child into the world that you have to have a responsibility to that child.”
Sinead O’Connor wrote “My Special Child” after dealing with an abortion.
“The song itself is about my experience with having had an abortion last year and how I dealt with that and how it made me feel,” O’Connor told SPIN magazine.
The singer went on to say that “the pregnancy had been planned, and I was madly in love with the father of the child,” but she and her partner were having disagreements at the time.
“I was on tour, and I was feeling sick all the time,” O’Connor said. “I didn’t know what to do, and he wasn’t really interested in the child. So I was left with the decision of whether or not to have the child, knowing that the father wasn’t going to be around. I decided that it was better not to and that I would have a child at a later stage when his father would be around and involved. I didn’t feel that I could handle it by myself.”
Journalist Gloria Steinem said that having an abortion at 22 was the first time she took “responsibility for my own life.”
“[Abortion] is supposed to make us a bad person,” Steinem told The Guardian in 2011. “But I must say, I never felt that. I used to sit and try and figure out how old the child would be, trying to make myself feel guilty. But I never could!”
She added: “Speaking for myself, I knew it was the first time I had taken responsibility for my own life. I wasn’t going to let things happen to me. I was going to direct my life, and therefore it felt positive. But still, I didn’t tell anyone, because I knew that out there it wasn’t [positive].”
Tess Holliday said that her “mental health couldn’t handle being pregnant again” after the birth of her second child.
In an Instagram post, the model wrote: “If I was still down south, I might not have been able to get the abortion I wanted & needed. My mental health couldn’t handle being pregnant again & I made the best decision for ME & ultimately my family. It wasn’t the ‘easy thing to do,’ it was excruciating on many levels, but necessary. Do I regret it or question my choice? Not at all.”
Holliday, who had postpartum depression, also told People that getting an abortion was “necessary” because she was “experiencing suicidal thoughts.”
“When I found out that I was pregnant again, I thought there’s no way I could do this,” she said. “I was already, for the first time, experiencing suicidal thoughts. I literally didn’t want to go through any day at all. So, the thought of having to do it, to go through all of that again, destroyed me.”
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