Wherever you stand on the issue of abortion there’s no denying that choosing to terminate a pregnancy is a difficult decision most women wish they didn’t have to face. And, although there’s been a steady decline in abortions since 1980, 4 out of 10 unplanned pregnancies are terminated each year.
The following celebrities fall somewhere within that statistic and each one share openly their painful and, in some cases, horrific experience.
1. Toni Braxton – The soulful singer revealed that she had an abortion in 2001, and recounts the painful journey in her memoir “Unbreak my Heart.” Because of Braxton’s overwhelming guilt she once thought God was punishing her by giving her youngest son, Diezel, autism. She told US Weekly magazine, “I have since realized that my son is special and learns in a different way.”
2. Chelsea Handler – The outspoken comedienne had an abortion at the age of 16, at the urging of her parents. She says that she has no regrets about her decision because she didn’t think she’d be a good mother.
3. Sherri Shepherd – The actress and TV personality has been very vocal about her “many” abortions, and shared that she’s felt guilt and shame over it. Before she became a Christian, she’s admitted to living a promiscuous lifestyle in her twenties and having, “more abortions than she would like to count.”
4. Sharon Osbourne – The talk show host had an abortion at 17 and 3 miscarriages afterwards, due to a damaged cervix. She said having the abortion was the worst thing that she ever had to do, but her mother pushed her into having it.
5. Penny Marshall – When the Laverne and Shirley actress was in her 40’s she got pregnant. In an extensive interview with Fox 411 she said, “I had a kid already, my womb wasn’t crying out. I talked to my brother (Garry Marshall). We made the pros and cons… It was more ‘do I want this other person in my life, for the rest of my life?’
6. Alice Walker – In the 1960’s, the Color Purple author learned that she was pregnant after her junior year at Sarah Lawrence College. She was frightened and didn’t know how to tell her parents, and even contemplated suicide. She had an abortion, and admitted to suffering from anxiety and depression afterwards.
7. Vanessa Williams – In an interview with ABC’s Nightline, and with her mother by her side, the actress and former, Miss America, revealed to the world that she had an abortion as a teenager. She also admits to being a highly sexualized teen, due to being molested as a child.
8. Whoopi Goldberg – It’s been reported that The View co-host had six abortions. Goldberg admits that at least one of the abortions was self-inflicted when at 14 she used a coat hanger to terminate her pregnancy.
9. Joan Collins – When the actress was dating Warren Beatty, she became pregnant. She states that he convinced her to have an abortion and she has no regrets.
10. Shelley Winters – The Oscar-winning actress admitted to having two abortions, and before her death she was quoted as saying, “I am a very lonely woman. I would give everything – my money, my Academy Awards, my career – if only I could have those children now.”
11. Sinead O’ Connor – At the height of her career in 1990, the controversial singer had an abortion. She confesses to being happy with the pregnancy, but she and the father of the child didn’t work out so she decided to terminate the pregnancy. She said it took a year for her to get past it.
12. Mackenzie Philips – The former, One Day at a Time, star sadly revealed that she was sexually abused by her father, John Phillips, for ten years. When she became pregnant and didn’t know if the unborn child was fathered by her dad or her then-husband, Shane Fontayne, she decided to terminate the pregnancy.
13. Rozonda “Chili” Thomas – The TLC singer confessed to having an abortion before she became famous. She said that it was the most painful decision she ever had to make, because she really wanted her baby.
14. Susan Sarandon – Susan Sarandon admitted to having an abortion in her early twenties. “I had an abortion in my 20s. My first [and only] marriage was falling apart. I had an affair with an insane guy and I knew having a kid with him wasn’t the right thing …” she told The Guardian in 2006.
15. Stevie Nicks – In 1992, the Fleetwood Mac singer shared with VOX magazine that she had four abortions, with four different lovers. She’s said that the men, including singer Don Henley, couldn’t handle her decision. Later she says, “To give up four babies is to give up a lot that would be here now. So that bothers me, a lot, and really breaks my heart…”
16. Billie Jean King – Tennis legend, Billie Jean King spoke about an abortion she had before her career took off, admitting to not being in a good place in her life to have a child, so in 1971, she privately had an abortion
17. Nikki Minaj – In a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone, Nikki Minaj talked about being pregnant as a teen, saying she thought she “was going to die” when she found out she was pregnant. The rapper had an abortion and said, “It was the hardest thing I’d ever gone through, …[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.”
18. Amber Tamblyn – Actress Amber Tamblyn shared her abortion story on Twitter. “It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. 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.”
19. Tess Holiday – Model, Tess Holiday said she was married with 2 kids and had an abortion. “My mental health couldn’t handle being pregnant again & I made the best decision for ME & ultimately my family…” she revealed.
20. Suzanne Somers – In 1968, actress Suzanne Somers became pregnant in 1968 by a married man, Alan Hamel. The two decided she should get an illegal abortion, which Somers almost bled to death from. Ironically, she and Hamel ended up getting married and have been together ever since.
21. Minka Kelly – Minka Kelly shared in an Instagram post about her past abortion, “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. …Having a baby at that time would have only perpetuated the cycle of poverty, chaos and dysfunction I was born into.”
22. Busy Philipps – On her former late night talk show Busy Tonight, Busy Philipps spoke about her experience having an abortion when she was a teen. “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.”
23. Tami Roman – Tami Roman had the first televised abortion experience when she was starring on MTV’S, The Real World. The reality star wanted to share her story 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…”
24. Milla Jovovich – Milla Jovovich had an “emergency” abortion in 2017 according to her Instagram post. “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.”
25. Jameela Jamil – Jameela Jamil shared her story on Twitter, telling her followers, “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.”
26. Jemima Kirke – Girls actress Jemima Kirke had an abortion in 2007 after a surprise pregnancy. “My life was not conducive to raising a healthy, happy child,” she said in a public service announcement for the Center for Reproductive Rights. “I just didn’t feel it was fair.”
27. Rose McGowan – Rose McGowan also revealed her abortion story to her Twitter followers. “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…”
28. Linsey Godfrey – The Bold and the Beautiful actress Linsey Godfrey was another celebrity to reveal their abortion journey on Twitter. “I had an abortion. I just simply wasn’t in a place, financially or emotionally to take that on. I was and still am glad I had that choice because that’s exactly what it was, it was my choice, my body.”
29. KeKe Palmer – In a since deleted Twitter post, KeKe Palmer said she got an abortion because it was not a good time in her life to raise a child. “I was worried about my career responsibilities and afraid that I could not exist as both a career woman and mother,” she originally tweeted.
30. Ali MacGraw – In her early 20’s, actress Ali MacGraw underwent an illegal abortion in New York. “In my early 20s, however, I simply wasn’t ready emotionally or financially for the kind of responsibility that good parenting involves.”
31. Laura Prepon – Laura Prepon revealed that she and husband Ben Foster terminated their second pregnancy, a year after welcoming their daughter Ella, after discovering the baby was not developing normally, and carrying further would have put the Orange Is the New Black star at risk.
32. Alyssa Milano – In an episode of her podcast, Alyssa Milano: Sorry Not Sorry, the actress said she had two abortions in 1993. “I knew at that time, I was not equipped to be a mother, and so I chose to have an abortion, …I chose. It was my choice. And it was absolutely the right choice for me.”
33. Naya Rivera – Late Glee actress Naya Rivera wrote about her abortion 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.”