16 Celebrities Who Have Had Abortions

Famous women talk about exercising their right to choose.

1. Chelsea Handler

In an interview with the New York Times the talk show host was matter-of-fact about her abortion. “I had an abortion when I was 16.” She said, “Because that’s what I should have done. Otherwise I would now have a 20-year-old kid.”

2. Sharon Osbourne

The reality star admitted to regretting her abortion during an interview with the Daily Mail. Pressured into it by her mother, she is still traumatized by the experience. “She told me where the clinic was, then virtually pushed me off.” Sharon explained, “She was so angry. She said I’d got myself in this mess, now she had to get me out. 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.”

3. Vanessa Williams

In her memoir You Have No Idea the actress is candid about her decision to abort: “Being pregnant is the most frightening thing that happens in your life. I knew in high school that’s something that I was not prepared to do or fight or struggle with.”

4. Margaret Cho

During an interview with XOJane the comedian and activist explained why she thinks it’s important to talk publicly about her abortions, saying: “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. I don’t care what your views are toward abortion, I just think women should be talking about it.”

5. Toni Braxton

In her book Unbreak My Hear: A Memoir, the singer admits that she believes God gave her son autism to punish her for having an abortion. She later clarified her beliefs during an interview with Us Weekly, saying: “Coming from a very religious background I was ashamed that I had an abortion in 2001. When my youngest son was diagnosed with Autism I feared that I was being punished for my earlier actions. I have since realized that my son is special and learns in a different way.”

6. Gloria Steinem

The activist explained her own hesitation to go public with her abortion story during an interview with The Guardian. “It is supposed to make us a bad person.” She said, “But I must say, 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! I think the person who said: ‘Honey, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament’ was right. 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.”

7. Sherri Shepherd

The comedian broke down during a heated debate about abortion on The View and spoke candidly about her own experiences. “I’m speaking as a girl who had a lot of abortions,” she said, “and I swear to God, if they had shown me a picture of the fetus… 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.”

8. Joan Collins

The actress has been candid about having an abortion during her relationship with Warren Beatty. “It would have been unthinkable to have a child.” She said during Daily Mail, “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. I’m so happy that Tara was my first child, I love her dearly and it would not have been the same had I had another child, so I know I made the right decision.”

9. Penny Marshall

All the comedian had to say about her abortion during an interview with Entertainment Tonight was simply, “I didn’t wish I hadn’t.”

10. Maureen McCormick

The Brady Bunch star revealed the details of her abortions during a segment on The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet. “I was 18, 19 and 20 when I had each abortion.” She explained, “It shows how careless I was. It shows what drugs did to me and how far I went. I was not aware of the things going on in my life. Playing Marcia, I always had to be perfect… but I had so much going on underneath. I always felt I had to be perfect for the public. Now I know I don’t — I can just be me.”

11. Kathy Najimy

The actress recounted her abortion experience in a speech for Planned Parenthood. “I have to say that my circumstances are unusual,” she said, “in that there were no unusual circumstances. Because of Roe v Wade, I was entitled to a safe and legal abortion. I knew that my situation was rare … that I was part of an elite, privileged group and that my choice was only possible because of the treacherous, hard-won battle of those who came before me. Not only those who fought the battle for my right to choose, but also those thousands of women — mothers, sisters, and daughters — who could not exercise that right in safety and freedom. Who literally lost their lives in illegal, non-safe abortions. I knew and I know that my situation was Disneyland compared to that of others.

12. Sinead O’Connor

The singer-songwriter spoke frankly of her abortion during an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1991, saying: “I didn’t have a sense of guilt about the abortion. If I had had the child, I wouldn’t have been in any state to be the mother that child would have deserved. It wouldn’t have worked that way. As far as I’m concerned, that child’s spirit is gone and perhaps some day it will return.”

13. Linda Ellerbee

In a speech for the Family Planning Advocates of New York State in 1987, the journalist admitted that, “If you had told me nineteen years ago that one day I would stand up in front of five hundred people and talk about my abortion. I would have thought … ‘Right. When elephants fly.”

14. Whoopi Goldberg

The actress wrote an essay about her abortions for Angela Bonavoglia’s book The Choices We Made. In it she writes, “I found out I was pregnant when I was fourteen. 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.”

15. Kathleen Hanna

The punk singer has nothing but positive things to say about her abortion. “I really credit it as something that changed my life,” she explained during an interview with The Rumpus, “because I got a job, I took care of my business, and I moved on. And I’m not one of those people who’d have looked back and been like, Oh, that kid would be 30 right now… I don’t think, Oh, I really regret it… Maybe that’s a fucked-up thing to say but, I don’t regret it at all, number one, and number two, it was one of the best things that happened to me. Not actually being on the table and having it done, but feeling like I was responsible for my own life and realizing that when I made mistakes, there were consequences and that I could take care of those consequences. I could make mistakes and I could fix them. And live with them. It wasn’t a big deal.”

16. Billie Jean King

Before she came out, the tennis star terminated an unwanted pregnancy. “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.”

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