10 Powerful Women Who Have Spoken Out About Their Own Abortion

From Chelsea Handler to Nicki Minaj, these words should console anyone in a tough situation

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Right now, abortion is still illegal in Ireland and Northern Ireland, except in certain extreme circumstances. Trump's election is threatening abortion rights in the US, with news that the US Republican government plans to defund Planned Parenthood with quick effect and at the end of last year, Poland nearly saw a bill passed that would have made abortion illegal even in cases where the pregnancy was the result of rape.

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Here, we look at ten brave women who have opened up about their own experiences to help remove some of the stigma surrounding abortion.

GLORIA STEINEM

Gloria Steinem
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Author and political activist Steinem dedicated her book 'My Life On The Road' to the doctor who performed her abortion. Here is the dedication in full:

THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO:

Dr. John Sharpe of London, who in 1957, a decade before physicians in England could legally perform an abortion for any reason other than the health of the woman, took the considerable risk of referring for an abortion a twenty-two-year-old American on her way to India.

Knowing only that she had broken an engagement at home to seek an unknown fate, he said, 'You must promise me two things. First, you will not tell anyone my name. Second, you will do what you want to do with your life.'

Dear Dr. Sharpe, I believe you, who knew the law was unjust, would not mind if I say this so long after your death:

I've done the best I could with my life.

This book is for you.


CHELSEA HANDLER

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Handler wrote about the fact she had fallen pregnant twice in one year and she had to find the money herself to get an abortion:

"I didn't have just one abortion; I had two in the same year, impregnated by the same guy. I didn't have the money the second time. I had to scrape together the $230 to pay Planned Parenthood, but it was a safe abortion.

Getting unintentionally pregnant more than once is irresponsible, but it's still necessary to make a thoughtful decision. We all make mistakes all the time. I happened to fuck 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.

I'm 41 now. I don't ever look back and think, God, I wish I'd had that baby."


SARA PASCOE

On writing about her abortion in her book 'Animal, An Autobiography of a Female Body':

"I'm still like I was as a teenager, telling everyone I was pregnant and having an abortion. I'm still that person saying 'we should talk about this more, I've got nothing to be ashamed of.'"


JEMIMA KIRKE

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In a video shot in 2015 in support of 'Draw The Line', a campaign by the 'Centre for Reproductive Rights', Kirke told the story of her abortion while she was a college student in 2007:

"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."

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NICKI MINAJ

Minaj told Rolling Stone magazine that when she alluded to a child "who would have been sixteen any minute" in 'All Things Go' a song on album 'The Pink Print' she was talking about an abortion she'd had as a teenager:

On discovering she was pregnant: "I thought I was going to die," she admits. "I was a teenager. It was the hardest thing I'd ever gone through." She ended up having an abortion, a decision she says has "haunted me all my life," though it was the right choice for her at the time. "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."


STEVIE NICKS

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Nicks confirmed longstanding rumours that she wrote one of her best-known songs 'Sara', partly about the child she conceived with Eagles frontman Don Henley, then aborted:

"Had I married Don and had that baby, and had she been a girl, I would have named her Sara. "


SINEAD O'CONNOR

O'Connor on why she wrote the song 'My Special Child' about her experience of having an abortion:

"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."


WHOOPI GOLDBERG

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Goldberg opened up about her own back-alley abortion in an essay for the book 'The Choices We Made' by Angela Bonavoglia:

"I found out I was pregnant when I was fourteen. I didn't get a period. I talked to nobody. I panicked. 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."


JOAN COLLINS

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Collins is open about the abortion she had while dating Warren Beatty:

"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 know I made the right decision."


LIL KIM

On Power 105's The Breakfast Club, Lil Kim opened up about having an abortion after getting pregnant with Biggie Smalls:

"I don't know if I have regrets about not keeping it. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. But then I'd say, what would happen to my career"


POLLY VERNON

In her book 'Hot Feminist' Vernon talked eloquently about her three abortions:

"I've had three abortions. Yeah, you read right. Three. I am railing against the thought that I have to explain that "three" away, I mean, with any line other than: Because shit happens, and because no one ever asked a man to explain the part he played in an unwanted pregnancy (or three).

"Yet I feel as if I do have to explain, because I can see that three abortions seems like a lot."

"So. Here we go: I could never take the Pill (makes me sad and a bit sick), so I stopped trying; had a fling with a man who one night (while I was too tipsy to adequately monitor the situation) claimed he'd used a condom when he hadn't (abortion one); had a toxic relationship with a controlling individual who expressed his contempt for women in general and me in particular by refusing to wear condoms, and I was too vulnerable and enthralled to protest (abortion two); and then just messed up with someone completely lovely, because that happens, too (abortion three)."

Three messy, silly scenarios; but then, messy, silly scenarios are often all that lie behind unwanted pregnancies."


CECILE RICHARDS - HEAD OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD

"I had an abortion. It was the right decision for me and my husband, and it wasn't a difficult decision. Before becoming president of Planned Parenthood eight years ago, I hadn't really talked about it beyond family and close friends. But I'm here to say, when politicians argue and shout about abortion, they're talking about me — and millions of other women around the country."


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