top of page

Celebrities Who Had An Abortion

#YouKnowMe

busy phillips2.png

Abortion is common and should not be stigmatized. In May 2019, actress Busy Philipps launched a powerful movement on Twitter with the hashtag #YouKnowMe, encouraging women to share their personal stories. The response was overwhelming, with notable figures like Nicki Minaj, Laura Prepon, Jameela Jamil, Halsey, Ashley Judd, and dozens of other celebrities rushing to join in.

Within 24 hours, the tweet gained significant traction, receiving heartfelt responses, likes and shares. This viral campaign provided a safe space for women to break the silence and find support for the first time. Learning they were not alone allowed them to drop the shame and gather sweet relief. 

tweet jennifer.JPG
tweet michelle.JPG
tweet cynthia nixon.JPG

The impact of #YouKnowMe has gone beyond social media. Thousands of people participate in abortion ban protests, standing up against anti-abortion legislation. Politicians such as Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Cory Booker join demonstrations, supporting women's reproductive rights. Congresswoman Jackie Speier fearlessly shared her own abortion story, proudly stating, "You know me, I am one of the 1 in 4 women who has had an abortion in this country. I am not ashamed."

 

#YouKnowMe garnered international recognition and media coverage, from the ACLU to Congress, sparking international conversations. This movement created a global platform for women to share their stories, support one another, and advocate for reproductive rights. Together, they have created a powerful movement that continues to inspire change, advocating for a world where every woman's voice is heard and respected.

To raise awareness and support for abortion rights, more and more celebrities choose to speak about their experience in ending a pregnancy.  Below are just a few of the many stories from these women. 

abortion celebs.JPG

MORE CELEBRITIES WHO HAVE HAD ABORTIONS

Uma Thurman

Uma Thurman penned an op-ed for the Washington Post in September 2021, coming out against Texas’s heartbeat abortion law. The star explained her decision to share her own experience with abortion “in the hope of drawing the flames of controversy away from the vulnerable women on whom this law will have an immediate effect.” Thurman described her experience of living abroad at 15 and becoming “accidentally impregnated by a much older man.” 

She recounted her desire to keep the baby, and her ultimate decision to terminate the pregnancy after consulting with her parents. “We decided as a family that I couldn’t go through with the pregnancy, and agreed that termination was the right choice. My heart was broken for awhile as to be expected, but it was the right thing,” she added.

Whoopi Goldberg

The comedian, actress, and cohost of The View gave an impassioned speech on that show about bodily autonomy, equating abortion access with healthcare, in defiance of the news about the Supreme Court leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. She previously opened up about her own experience with an unsafe abortion in an essay for the book The Choices We Made, by Angela Bonavoglia. “I found out I was pregnant when I was 14. 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. I got violently ill,” she recalled.

Chelsea Handler

The comedian Chelsea Handler wrote about two abortions she had at the age of 16 in a personal essay for Playboy. Handler recalled her thought process at the time, writing, “I just thought, ‘Why not? I can have a baby. Maybe I’ll have twins and give them rhyming names!” But with the perspective of time, Handler, who was in her forties when she wrote the essay, said: “Of course, the idea that I would have a child and raise it by myself at that age, when I couldn’t even find my way home at night, was ridiculous. My parents recognized that, so they acted like parents for one of the very first times in my life and took me to Planned Parenthood.” 

Keke Palmer

Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock; Canva

Actress and singer Keke Palmer shared her experience after Alabama’s governor signed into law a ban on nearly all abortions. In solidarity with thousands of other women, Palmer, who has starred in films and television series including Hustlers and Scream Queens, tweeted that she had chosen to undergo an abortion in the past because she wasn’t ready to have a child at that point in her life. “I was worried about my career responsibilities and afraid that I could not exist as a career woman and a mother,” she said.

Kathleen Hanna

The frontwoman of the '90s riot grrl band Bikini Kill and later Le Tigre, Kathleen Hanna has been vocal about her experience with abortion as a teenager and her pro-choice stance at her band’s recent concerts. 

Hanna spoke to The Rumpus about how having an abortion at an early age gave her the ability to pursue her passion and change the trajectory of her life. “Well, I worked at McDonald’s to get my abortion. I was only 15, and the person who got me pregnant did not want to give me any money,” she said.

Milla Jovovich

In 2019, in response to Georgia’s “heartbeat bill,” actress and model Milla Jovovich discussed the emergency abortion she had while shooting a film in eastern Europe in 2016.  “I don’t like to get political, and I try to only do it if I really have to and this is one of those times,” she wrote on her Instagram account. “Abortion is hard enough for women on an emotional level without having to go through it in potentially unsafe and unsanitary conditions,” she explained.

Jemima Kirke

Jemima Kirke, who gained widespread fame playing Jessa in HBO’s Girls, opened up about her decision to have an abortion, in support of the campaign Draw the Line, which shared real women’s stories with reproductive healthcare, spearheaded by the Center for Reproductive Rights. The mother of two said, “In 2007, I became pregnant with my boyfriend at the time. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be attached to this person for the rest of my life. My life was just not conducive to raising a happy, healthy, child,” she said.

Hannah Gadsby

The Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby spoke about an abortion she chose to undergo after surviving rape in Variety’s "Power of Pride" cover story. Gadsby, a lesbian, spoke out against “heartbeat laws," explaining that she would not be here today if she lived in a state that curtailed abortion access. “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.

Amber Tamblyn

Amber Tamblyn, who began her career playing Emily Quartermaine on General Hospital, took part in the Bans Off Our Bodies protest in New York City in support of reproductive rights in May 2022. As reported by Bust, Tamblyn shared on Twitter that she underwent an abortion in 2012. “It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I still think about it. But these truths do not make my decision, I think about a lot of decisions I've made. It was the right choice for me, at that time in my life. I have not a single doubt about this.”

Nicki Minaj

The Trinidadian rapper Nicki Minaj shared personal details about an abortion she had as a teen in a revealing interview she gave Rolling Stone in 2014. She described what it was like finding out she was pregnant, saying, “I thought I was going to die. I was a teenager. It was the hardest thing I’d ever gone through,” she said, but remains firmly pro-choice. “I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have anything to offer a child,” she said. #youknowme

Phoebe Bridgers

The indie singer took to her Instagram account to share her abortion story with her 1.9 million followers in May 2022 as the Supreme Court appeared to edge closer to overturning Roe v. Wade. Bridgers revealed that she had an abortion the previous year and how that experience informed her beliefs about ensuring everyone has access to abortions. “I had an abortion in October of last year while I was on tour. I went to Planned Parenthood, where they gave me the abortion pill. It was easy. Everyone deserves that kind of access,” she said.

Laura Prepon

Known widely for her role as Donna in That ’70s Show, or Orange Is the New Black, actress Laura Prepon told People that she and her husband made the difficult decision to terminate her second pregnancy after a sonogram revealed that the fetus likely had a congenital disability. She was told the fetus would not mature and that continuing the pregnancy put her own life at risk. “Our specialist told us the brain was not growing, and the bones were not growing,” she said. Prepon decided to go public with the story because “in order to have a real conversation about motherhood, you need to share truths and talk about what’s really going on.”

Minka Kelly

On her Instagram account in May 2019, the actor Minka Kelly posted an image of the 25 Alabama state senators who voted for the Human Life Protection Act (since overturned) which was set to ban almost all abortions in the state. Kelly, who gained fame on the show Friday Night Lights, decided to share her abortion story to emphasize why she believes it was the right decision for her. “When I was younger I had an abortion. It was the smartest decision I could’ve made, not only for myself and my boyfriend at the time, but also for this unborn fetus,” she said. “Having a baby at the time would’ve only perpetuated the cycle of poverty, chaos, and dysfunction I was born into,” she wrote.

Jameela Jamil

Actress and activist Jameela Jamil criticized the Georgia abortion ban by describing an abortion she had when she was younger. The 36-year-old Jamil revealed personal details on her Instagram, writing that even though she “used two different types of contraception, they both failed, and I aborted eight weeks later. Abortion saved my life,” Jamil said. “It was not hard for me, I live with zero regret, only deep relief and gratitude,” she said.

Lauren Conrad

The former star of The Hills used Instagram to share her experience with an ectopic pregnancy, a condition that occurs when a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus. Such pregnancies are not viable, because a fetus cannot survive outside the uterus. “I wanted to share my own experience with lifesaving reproductive care,” Conrad said. “Six years ago, while trying to start our family, I had an ectopic pregnancy.” Ectopic pregnancies are life-threatening to the pregnant person. If the fetus keeps growing, it can rupture the woman’s fallopian tubes, which is extremely dangerous. “I hope someday we will be in a place where every woman has access to the healthcare she needs and the freedom to decide what happens in her own body.”

Stevie Nicks

The award-winning musician and Fleetwood Mac goddess Stevie Nicks had an abortion. Nicks spoke with The Guardian in 2020 about her experience. “If I had not had that abortion, I’m pretty sure there would have been no Fleetwood Mac,” Nicks said. Nicks was in her thirties, and Fleetwood Mac was at peak popularity. The band was about to embark on a world tour. "There's just no way that I could have had a child then, working as hard as we worked constantly… I would have had to walk away...from everything...from myself. No way."

Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds spoke candidly with Joan Rivers about two medically necessary abortions she underwent after experiencing miscarriages. She explained that she was already a mom to two kids, including her daughter, Carrie Fisher, and wanted to have two more. But 7 months into her next pregnancy, she learned the fetus was a stillbirth. When a fetus dies before delivery, it can take two weeks or more for labor to begin on its own. Reynolds wanted to have the fetus removed - it was no longer viable. But this was before Roe, and abortion was illegal. "That was the law back then. I didn't matter," Reynolds said. "It had to abort itself - they would not be take it from me. It's insane." The doctors had planned to make her carry the stillborn fetus to term. It was only after the condition became life-threatening that doctors agreed to perform an abortion. Reynolds tried for a child again and the same thing happened — the fetus died inside her before delivery. This time, she insisted the doctors remove the fetus so that she wouldn’t nearly die again. 

Chrissy Teigen

In September 2020, Teigen shared that she and her husband John Legend, lost their third pregnancy to a miscarriage. But two years later, she revealed that what actually happened was an abortion. “It became very clear that he would not survive, and that I wouldn’t either without any medical intervention,” Chrissy said. She went on to explain that it took her over a year to comprehend that they had had an abortion. “I told the world we had a miscarriage, the world agreed we had a miscarriage, all the headlines said it was a miscarriage,” she said. “And I became really frustrated that I didn’t, in the first place, say what it was.”

Rita Moreno

In her 2011 memoir, the West Side Story legend Rita Moreno shared the painful memory of the time Hollywood heartthrob Marlon Brando forced her to have an abortion when she was 22. Abortions were illegal at the time, and Brando paid for a doctor who botched the procedure and left her hospitalized. After Roe v. Wade was overturned, Moreno opened up about her outrage in an interview with Variety. She said she was “jubilant” after Roe v. Wade passed in 1973 and feels “depressed” about the situation now. “I think about the young girls. Taking it to the most extreme, girls who get pregnant because of rape or incest. Unfair isn’t a strong enough word, but it’s unfair,” Moreno said. “We loudmouths are going to have to get busy. There are many of us. I’m thinking what are we going to do about this? If anything, this has reactivated us.”

Cheryl Burke

The Dancing With the Stars pro revealed in a TikTok video that she had an abortion when she was a teenager, even though she was using protection and on birth control at the time. “If it wasn’t for places like Planned Parenthood, I would be a mother and I wouldn’t have been a great mother and I definitely wouldn’t be sitting here with you today,” she said. “You’re taking away women’s rights, our bodies, our freedom. Our bodies have nothing to do with anybody else, right? This is a decision that we need to make.”

Cecily Strong

In a 2021 Saturday Night Live skit, the comedian Cecily Strong appeared as Goober the Clown and talked about getting an abortion. “I wish I didn’t have to do this, cuz the abortion I had at 23 is my personal clown business, but that’s all some people in this country wanna discuss all the time!” She said, “We kept this secret for so long, despite being so grateful it happened! Here’s my truth: I know I wouldn’t be a clown on TV here today if it weren’t for the abortion I had the day before my 23rd birthday. Clowns have been helping each other and their pregnancies since the caves. It’s going to happen, so it might as well be safe, legal, and accessible.” As USA Today reported, Strong later revealed in her Instagram stories that the sketch was based on her own personal experience.

Billie Jean King

Before Roe v. Wade was overturned, the tennis trailblazer Billie Jean King wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post saying that she had an unplanned pregnancy in 1971 when she was ranked the top female player in the world. Abortion was legal in California at the time, but it was extremely expensive, and she had to explain to a hospital committee why she should be allowed to have one. “Arguing to a dozen or so people I had never met, on why I qualified for an abortion remains one of the most degrading experiences of my life,” she wrote.

Jennifer Grey

The Dirty Dancing star told the Los Angeles Times she felt emotional when she heard the news that Roe v. Wade was no more. “Even though I’ve seen it coming, even though we’ve been hearing what’s coming, it doesn’t feel real.” Grey’s connection to abortion comes both from her own experience having one, and as an actress in a movie whose central theme was the dire consequences of back-alley abortions. “We saw someone who was hemorrhaging,” Grey says. “We saw what happens to people without means — the haves and the have-nots. I love that part of the storyline, because it was really a feminist movie. It was a perfect use of history.”

Hilarie Burton

The One Tree Hill star Hilarie Burton shared on Instagram that she had an abortion after a pregnancy loss. “This is my child. My beloved. My daughter,” she wrote in the caption of a photo of her child, George Virginia. “It is no secret I struggled with infertility. Losing multiple pregnancies before her was traumatic. But female bodies are all different and unpredictable. Having an abortion after my fetus died allowed for my uterus to heal in a way that made it healthy enough to carry future pregnancies. It doesn’t matter if you use the term D&C. The official word on the hospital paperwork is abortion. That’s what it was.”

tweet lindsay.JPG
bottom of page