For half a century, abortion has been a constitutional right in the United States, helping one in four women in the US seek safe abortions by the time they reach 45 years old. Thanks to the 1973 landmark ruling of Roe v. Wade, women and people who can become pregnant all over America have had access to legal abortions; while, yes, some states have made it harder to obtain abortions than others, it has still been a constitutional right across the country.
Abortion opponents have been challenging Roe v. Wade for decades, but its standing has never been more threatened than now. Recently, Texas passed a law prohibiting abortion after six weeks, which is often before women even know they are pregnant. Today, June 24 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, giving individual states the power to ban, eliminate or criminalize abortion. Now that the Supreme Court has upended the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade, many states will enact trigger laws eliminating or banning abortions.
While this news pertains to America, people all over the world have expressed their outrage at the very real threat that women’s reproductive rights may be in the hands of politicians, and not us. This has prompted some celebrities to step forward and share their experiences with abortion — not only in a bid to normalize it, but to help other women feel less alone. Here are 10 abortion stories from strong celebrities fighting the unconscionable threat to abortion access, and ultimately, to women’s health, safety and freedom.
British actress Jameela Jamil is an outspoken activist. The Good Place star shared her abortion story on Instagram and made it clear that having an abortion when she was eight weeks pregnant was her choice — and one she is relieved and grateful to have had.
“My uterus is mine to do what I wish with. It is my medical privacy, my freedom and not something that should be state owned,” Jamil wrote. She expressed her anger and disgust that abortion rights are being threatened and wrote on Instagram, “… ending abortion rights doesn’t end abortions, it only ends safe abortions.”
Actress Whoopi Goldberg delivered a heated diatribe against Republicans and abortion opponents on a recent episode of The View when discussing the leaked draft opinion. In the book The Choices We Made by Angela Bonavoglia, Goldberg opened up about the unsafe abortion she had when she got pregnant at 14. After trying to induce an abortion by drinking a concoction of poisonous chemicals, Goldberg finished the job herself using a coat hanger. She believes all women should have bodily autonomy and that abortion access is a part of healthcare, but abortion opponents don’t share her view. She said on The View about Republicans, “If I actually thought that y’all cared, if I actually thought you were going to put things in place so that babies would be taken care of properly, if I thought you were going to pay for the things that women need in terms of health and education and all the stuff we’ve been talking about over the last 40 years — if I thought you were going to do that, I might be able to have a conversation with you, but I can’t.”
Jemima Kirk who is famous for playing Jessa in HBO’s hit show Girls, went public with her own abortion experience. In a video for the Center for Reproductive Rights’ Draw the Line Campaign, Kirke said, “I still see shame and embarrassment around terminating pregnancies, getting pregnant, so I have always been open about my stories, always shared them, especially with other women.” Kirke became pregnant in 2007 with a boyfriend she didn’t want to be connected to for the rest of her life. She said, “My life was just not conducive to raising a happy, healthy child,” she says. “I just didn’t feel it was fair. So I decided to get an abortion.”
In Variety’s Power of Pride cover story, Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby shared her harrowing experience of surviving rape and having an abortion. “I was assaulted, raped, and very, very vulnerable. How was I going to raise a child? I would have ended up dead. How is that pro-life? You can’t say women can’t have abortions and then provide absolutely no infrastructure to help them,” she said.
Actress Minka Kelly is not afraid to tell the world how she feels about reproductive rights. In a powerful post on Instagram, Kelly voiced her concerns about mostly White men deciding the fate of women and the unwanted children women will be forced to bear. “When I was younger I had an abortion. It was the smartest decision I could’ve made, ” she wrote. "Having a baby at that time would have only perpetuated the cycle of poverty, chaos and dysfunction I was born into.” She writes, “… outlawing abortion has never stopped women from attempting it.”
Trinidadian rapper Nicki Minaj opened up to Rolling Stone about the abortion she had when she was in high school. She says that having an abortion was one of the hardest things she’s gone through and the experience has haunted her since, but she knows it was the best decision she’s made. She explained that she was in no position to raise a child when she was a child herself. By speaking up and sharing her story, Minaj is helping to destigmatize Black women’s right to choose.
Long before the recent threat to abortion access in the US, actress Busy Philipps had been open about her abortion experience. She is extremely vocal about reproductive rights and says she “… cannot sit idly by while women’s rights are stripped away.” She credits her fame and success to the abortion she obtained when she was 15 years old. Critical of any laws that seek to control women’s bodies, Philipps’ advocacy for women’s rights is an absolute inspiration, and we’re so grateful for her voice.
Legendary Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks has feared for abortion rights since Democratic Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died in September 2020 — and her fears were justified. In 1979, when Fleetwood Mac was at the height of its success and fame, Nicks fell pregnant. She chose to end the pregnancy, saying there was no way she could’ve raised a child and continued in the band. “If I had not had that abortion, I’m pretty sure there would have been no Fleetwood Mac,” said Nicks.
Actor Milla Jovovich revealed she had to have an emergency abortion when she was shooting on location in Eastern Europe. She went into pre-term labour at four-and-a-half months pregnant and describes the experience as being one of the most horrific of her life. “Abortion is a nightmare at its best," she said. "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.” She said she was honoured to speak at the Bans Off Our Bodies Reproductive Rights Rally in May, working to destigmatize abortion, and fighting to protect Roe v. Wade. “Every human being has the right to pursue their dreams, their ambitions, their education and their passions before making the decision to dedicate their lives, their time, their energy and their finances to raising a family,” she aptly stated.