Skip to Content

Chelsea Handler Is Just One of Many Powerful Women Talking Openly About Their Abortions

Chelsea Handler On "Extra"Chelsea Handler On "Extra"
Chelsea Handler visits "Extra" at Universal Studios Hollywood on May 19, 2016 in Universal City, California.Photograph by Noel Vasquez—Getty Images

It’s time to get rid of the stigma surrounding abortion.

On Friday, Playboy published a powerful essay in which TV personality Chelsea Handler writes about her experience with abortion while she was a teenager. She writes:

I happened to f-ck 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.

Handler is one of millions of women who have had legal abortions in the U.S. thanks to Roe v. Wade, and who, like the vast majority of those women, has no regrets about her decision. According to one 2015 study from the University of California San Francisco Medical School, 95% of women who have had abortions believe it was the right decision for them.


Here are five other women who have spoken openly about their abortions:

1. Gloria Steinem

2016 MAKERS Conference - Day 1 Gloria Steinem at the 2016 MAKERS Conference on February 1, 2016. Photograph by Alberto E. Rodriguez—Getty Images

The feminist icon had an abortion at age 22, but didn’t talk about it until many years later. In a 2011 interview with The Guardian, she explains why. “[Abortion] is supposed to make us a bad person. But I must say, I 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!…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. Because I knew that out there it wasn’t [seen as a positive].”

Subscribe to the Broadsheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the world’s most powerful women.

2. Billie Jean King

Women's Sports Foundation's 70th Birthday Party For Billie Jean King Billie Jean King speaks at her 70th Birthday Party Celebration on November 6, 2013 in New York City. Photograph by Brad Barket—Getty Images

The tennis legend talked about her decision to get an abortion in an interview with MAKERS. “The reason I had an abortion is because I was not in a good place,” she explained. “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.”

3. Cecile Richards

Planned Parenthood Hearing Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Photograph by Tom WilliamsCQ-Roll Call,Inc.

The president of Planned Parenthood penned an 2014 op-ed in Elle in which she wrote in detail about the stigma surrounding abortion. “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.”

4. Margaret Cho

Logo New Now Next Honors From Aspen Gay Ski Week Margaret Cho attends the Logo New Now Next Honors From Aspen Gay Ski Week on January 23, 2016 in Aspen, Colorado.Photograph by Santiago Felipe—Getty Images for Logo

The comedian explained to XO Jane why she keeps bringing up abortion during her standup routines. “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… If males had to have abortions, it would be something that was routinely discussed and the emotional life of it would be really examined.”

5. Jemima Kirke

AOL Build Speaker Series - Zosia Mamet, Jemima Kirke, Jenni Konner, Jake Lacy and Alex Karpovsky, "Girls" Jemima Kirke attends AOL Build Speaker Series at AOL Studios In New York on February 16, 2016 in New York City.

In a public service announcement for the Center for Reproductive Rights, Girls actress Jemima Kirke said she chose to get an abortion because, at the time, her life “was not conducive to raising a healthy, happy child.” Kirke, who now has two daughters, says she is “already anticipating their issues with self-esteem, their body, the whole luggage that comes with being a woman.And so I would love if when they’re older, the political issues surrounding their bodies were not there anymore.”