19 Celebrities Who Have Shared Their Abortion Stories to Help End the Stigma
In response to Alabama’s new controversial abortion law, which bans nearly all abortions, including for victims of rape or incest, Kelly wrote a lengthy Instagram post to share her story and to call out every member of the Alabama state senate who voted for the bill for not doing enough to protect women.
"When I was younger I had an abortion. It was the smartest decision I could’ve made, not only for myself & my boyfriend at the time, but also for this unborn fetus," Kelly wrote, alongside a photo of all 25 Alabama state senators who voted for the bill. "Having a baby at that time would have only perpetuated the cycle of poverty, chaos and dysfunction I was born into."
The actress continued her note by asking the senators, "If you insist on forcing women to carry to term, why do you refuse to talk about comprehensive sex-ed, the maternal mortality rate, free daycare, paid maternity leave?"
Kelly maintained her stance that women’s "lives, traumas & family planning is for no one to decide but us" and asserted that if men’s bodies, health and life were called into question, "we wouldn’t be having this conversation in the first place."
She concluded her post by sharing her appreciation for men who have spoken up on this issue and reminded her followers that "women do not get pregnant alone" and "outlawing abortion has never stopped women from attempting it."
On an episode of Busy Tonight, the 39-year-old late-night host shared her experience with abortion in response to the signing of Georgia’s controversial new abortion law.
"I had an abortion when I was 15 years old and I’m telling you this because I’m genuinely really scared for women and girls all over the country," Philipps said while getting visibly emotional.
"Is that a hard left turn?" she asked, comparing the topic of abortion to the regular pop culture topics on her show. "Yeah, it is. Is it kind of jarring? Yes, it is also kind of jarring. But, guess what? That’s what being a f—ing woman is. Having a regular Tuesday and then suddenly being reminded that people are trying to police your body. And then you just have to go back to work."
She later asked women to share their stories on Twitter, using the hashtag #youknowme.
This isn’t the first time Philipps has talked about her abortion: the actress previously opened up about it in her memoir This Will Only Hurt a Little, which was published last fall.
Jamil shared her story on Twitter, also in response to the Georgia bill.
"This anti-abortion law in Georgia is so 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," she wrote alongside a link to a Slate article that stated that Georgia had just criminalized abortion.
"I had an abortion when I was young, and it was the best decision I have ever made. Both for me, and for the baby I didn’t want, and wasn’t ready for, emotionally, psychologically and financially. So many children will end up in foster homes. So many lives ruined. So very cruel."
The actress shared her story on Instagram in May 2019 as a response to the Georgia bill, too.
"I don't like to get political," she wrote, opening up about her 2017 "emergency" abortion. “I went into pre term labor and told that I had to be awake for the whole procedure. It was one of the most horrific experiences I have ever gone through. I still have nightmares about it. I was alone and helpless. When I think about the fact that women might have to face abortions in even worse conditions than I did because of new laws, my stomach turns.”
“I spiraled into one of the worst depressions of my life and had to work extremely hard to find my way out,” she continued. “I took time off of my career. I isolated myself for months and had to keep a strong face for my two amazing kids."
“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,” she said. “I never wanted to speak about this experience. But I cannot remain silent when so much is at stake. #prochoice #prochoicegeneration.”
In a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone, the rapper said she thought she "was going to die" when she discovered she was pregnant as a teen. "It was the hardest thing I'd ever gone through," she said of having an abortion. "[It's] haunted me all my life. It'd be contradictory if I said I wasn't pro-choice. I wasn't ready. I didn't have anything to offer a child." She alluded to the experience in a track on her album, The Pinkprint.
The Dynasty star opened up about why she never regretted having an abortion after she got pregnant in her mid-20s with then-fiancé Warren Beatty. "It would have been absolute career death for me to have done that ... it would have been unthinkable to have a child," she told Piers Morgan in a 2010 interview. "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," she added.
The View's Goldberg wrote about her teenage abortion experience in an essay for Angela Bonavoglia's The Choices We Made.
"I found out I was pregnant when I was fourteen," she wrote. "I didn't get a period. 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. 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."
As a teen, Handler said she got pregnant after having unprotected sex with her boyfriend. "I just thought, 'Why not?' I can have a baby. Maybe I’ll have twins and give them rhyming names," she detailed. "Of course, the idea that I would have a child and raise it by myself at that age, when I couldn’t even find my way home at night, was ridiculous. My parents recognized that, so they acted like parents for one of the very first times in my life and took me to Planned Parenthood."
In a new revelation, she explained that she got pregnant once again later that year and was barely able to afford another $230, the cost of an abortion at Planned Parenthood.
"Getting unintentionally pregnant more than once is irresponsible, but it’s still necessary to make a thoughtful decision," Handler wrote. "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."
The comedian has included the topic of abortion in her standup routines in the past, but now she's revealing why.
"I talk a lot about abortion and people get really freaked out. I’m not even making a political statement. I’m just talking about what happened! I have had them and I want to talk about them," she told XOJane, as reported by Fortune. "I don’t care what your views are toward abortion, I just think women should be talking about it."
She also added, "If males had to have abortions, it would be something that was routinely discussed and the emotional life of it would be really examined."
The feminist activist got very candid in an interview with NPR's Fresh Air host Terry Gross on becoming pregnant at 22 and having an abortion before it was legal.
"I had been doing all of the foolish things that we then did [to terminate a pregnancy], like riding horseback, throwing ourselves down stairs," she explained. "I am the most cowardly person you can imagine, physically speaking, but I did [throw myself down stairs] ... I was desperate. I really was desperate. I just knew that if I went home and married, which I would've had to do, it would be to the wrong person; it would be to a life that wasn't mine, that wasn't mine at all."
Studies show that the majority of abortions are safe and effective, with rare complications, but The Talk cohost has said "something happened" during the procedure she had when she was 17 that has come back to "haunt" her.
"I had an abortion at 17 and it was the worst thing I ever did. It was the first time I'd had sex, and that was rotten. I'd always thought it was going to be all violins, and it was just awful," she told the Daily Mail in a 2004 interview.
Osbourne told her mother after realizing two months in that she was pregnant and without hesitation, her mother responded, "You have to get rid of it."
"She told me where the clinic was, then virtually pushed me off. She was so angry. She said I'd got myself in this mess, now she had to get me out," Osbourne continued.
"But she didn't come. I went alone. I was terrified. It was full of other young girls, and we were all terrified and looking at each other and nobody was saying a bloody word. I howled my way through it, and it was horrible," she added.
"I would never recommend it to anyone because it comes back to haunt you. When I tried to have children, I lost three — I think it was because something had happened to my cervix during the abortion. After three miscarriages, they had to put a stitch in it."
She concluded her story by saying, "In life, whatever it is, you pay somewhere down the line. You have to be accountable."
RELATED: 11 Weird Facts About Your Cervix
In a heated debate over abortion on The View, Shepherd got real with her cohosts to explain why women need to have the option if their circumstances are not right to raise a child.
"I'm speaking as a girl who has had a lot of abortions, and if they had showed me a fetus, I probably wouldn't have but 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," she said.
Billie Jean King
Before her career took off, the tennis champion opened up about why she had an abortion during a hectic and confusing time in her life.
"The reason I had an abortion is because I was not in a good place," she explained during an interview with Makers. "I was just finding out about my sexuality. 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 into the world."
King added, "If you bring a child into the world, then to me, he or she takes, they're first, that's it, done. I did not want the child to be born under the circumstances I was in."
The artist and actress shared her story about having an abortion while in college, in support of Draw The Line, a campaign by the Centre for Reproductive Rights.
"In 2007, I became pregnant with my boyfriend at the time. I wasn't sure that I wanted to be attached to this person for the rest of my life. My life was just not conducive to raising a healthy, happy child. I just didn't feel it was fair," she said. "So, I decided to get an abortion and I went to Planned Parenthood in Providence, Rhode Island, where I was at school."
Kirke continued to explain how she had to empty her checking account to pay for the abortion and how the experience made her realize the importance of being able to talk about reproductive issues freely.
"I still see shame and embarrassment around terminating pregnancies, getting pregnant, I still see it," she said. "So I have always been open about my stories, especially with other women."
The actress went on Nightline to discuss You Have No Idea, her 2013 joint memoir with her mother Helen. During the interview, Williams revealed two secrets she kept from her mother, up until they started writing the book together.
The first was that she was molested by an older girl; the next was that she had gotten pregnant in high school.
"Being pregnant is the most frightening thing that happens in your life," Williams said. "I knew in high school that's something that I was not prepared to do, or fight, or struggle with."
For years, the singer was at the center of rumors that claimed she had terminated a pregnancy with Eagles frontman Don Henley, which inspired her song "Sara." Nicks finally set the record straight with Billboard in 2014.
"Had I married Don and had that baby, and had she been a girl, I would have named her Sara," Nicks said, though she said it wasn't the entire basis for the song.
In 2000, the rapper told The Washington Post she had an abortion and wrote about it in her song "Hold On."
"Most of the things that I talk about [in my lyrics], yeah, they're true ... I talk about the pain of being pregnant and having an abortion," she told The Washington Post. "I talk about the things that women have gone through that they don't think I've gone through."
The lyrics to the song, rumored to be about her relationship with the late Biggie Smalls, include "I believed that meeting you would be my destiny. Your love would come to set me free, so why am I left standing here alone. Won't you please come and take me home."
The former Glee star penned an essay for USA Today to discuss the story behind her abortion and why she decided to write about it in her 2016 memoir, Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up.
"I 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 know that they weren’t alone," she wrote, adding that she also did it in tribute to her grandmother Clara Esther White, who spent "more than five years counseling women through their decision to terminate their pregnancies," and her mother, who was also involved in everything from counseling to sterilizing equipment.
In March, McGowan replied to a Twitter account that shared the statistic that "1 in 4 women has an abortion by age 45," to share her own story.
"I have had an abortion and I support this message. I am not ashamed, nor should you be. That 60% of those who choose to have abortions are already mothers says a lot—they understand more than anyone. I was on birth control and it failed," she wrote.
"I realized 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. Have you had to make a choice? Let’s talk and use hashtag #HonestAbortion."