Recently, Girls star Jemima Kirke shared her harrowing abortion experience, saying she went through the procedure without anesthesia because she couldn’t afford the extra cost.
Kirke and other celebrity women who have had abortions believe that it’s important for women to share their stories, no matter their political views are. Here are just a few of the women who have done so over the years.
Reality star Tami Roman had the first ever televised abortion experience. When Roman found herself pregnant while taping the second season of The Real World at 23, she said it was an experience she wanted to share with the world:
“My thought process when I did it was to show young girls what happens when you don’t handle your life responsibly. Here I am forced to make a decision at 23 that I shouldn’t have to make because I didn’t do the right thing. I didn’t handle having safe sex.
I wanted it documented. The turmoil I went through in making the decision, how it affected my mother, having to go to the clinic and have complications after… I wanted people to take that journey with me and see.
That’s all I wanted. Even if I reached one person who said, I’m gonna use a condom or use birth control then I had a purpose. You want to be as safe as you can be in that area. I still to this day have my daughters watch that abortion episode to use as a teaching tool for them.”
Margaret Cho says that no matter your political views on abortion, it’s important to talk about it:
“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.”
Whoopi Goldberg says fear drove her to risk her life to end her pregnancy:
“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.”
The comedienne told the New York Times she’s never doubted that the abortion she had during high school was the right thing to do:
“I had an abortion when I was 16. Because that’s what I should have done. Otherwise I would now have a 20-year-old kid.”
Sharon Osbourne said that she was “traumatized” by the abortion her mother forced her to have but wouldn’t support her through when she was young:
“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. 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.”
And although Osbourne went on to have three healthy children, she also had three miscarriages she felt had something to do with her abortion.
In her memoir You Have No Idea, Vanessa Williams shared that she had an abortion in high school. “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.”
But she said she has few regrets about her decision because “I’ve learned to embrace my past. I embrace the choices that I have been given in my life.”
In 1968, actress Suzanne Somers found herself pregnant by a married man: Alan Hamel. The two came to the conclusion that she should have an illegal abortion, and Somers almost bled to death after the procedure. Interesting enough, afterward, she and Hamel married and have been together ever since.
Toni Braxton felt so guilty about the abortion she had that she thought God afflicted her youngest son with Autism to punish her.
“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.”
During a heated debate about abortion on an episode of The View, Sherri Shepherd broke down and shared her experience.
“I’m speaking as a girl who had a lot of abortions, 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.”
McCormick said she had several abortions shortly after The Brady Bunch wrapped:
“I was 18, 19 and 20 when I had each abortion. 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.”
Actress Kathy Najimy said she’s grateful to have had the option to end her pregnancy years ago without risking her life:
“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.”
Joan Collins said that a sense of “responsibility” influenced her decision when she found out that she was pregnant with Warren Beatty’s child:
“It would have been unthinkable to have a child. 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.”
Back in 1991, Sinead O’Connor spoke on why she decided to have an abortion and said that she didn’t regret the decision she made.
“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.”
In her autobiography, Alice Walker shared that she was lucky enough to have a safe abortion during a time when the procedure was illegal and dangerous. But still, the author says that she struggled with anxiety and depression after her ordeal. She would go on to write a short story about it called, “To Hell With Dying.” It was one of her earlier published pieces and one that earned her a note of encouragement from Langston Hughes.