Chelsea Handler revealed in an essay for Playboy last week that she had two abortions at Planned Parenthood when she was 16. The comedian—whose essay, titled “My Choice,” was published just days before the Supreme Court declared Texas’ abortion restrictions unconstitutional—opened up about how she’s grateful she could get a safe and legal abortion and how she thinks the U.S. is going in the right direction in the post-Roe v. Wade era.
“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,” Handler writes. “I’m 41 now. I don’t ever look back and think, God, I wish I’d had that baby.”
Handler shared that she was going through “a very bad stage” in her life when she had her abortions. “I hated my parents and I was having unprotected sex with my boyfriend, who was not someone I should’ve been having sex with in the first place, never mind unprotected sex,” Handler writes.
When she learned she was pregnant the first time, she didn’t immediately think of having an abortion.
“I just thought, Why not? I can have a baby,” she writes. “Maybe I’ll have twins and give them rhyming names!”
She eventually decided she would have an abortion, and her parents drove her to Planned Parenthood for the procedure. Afterward, she was “relieved in every possible way.”
After her first abortion, she became pregnant again in the same year and returned to Planned Parenthood for a second abortion, which she struggled to pay for.
“I didn’t have the money the second time,” Handler writes. “I had to scrape together the $230 to pay Planned Parenthood, but it was a safe abortion.”
Handler cites Roe v. Wade for allowing her to “live my life without an unplanned child born out of an unhealthy relationship.” And she doesn’t think Roe v. Wade is in danger: “We’re too far ahead of the game. Once you go forward in history, you don’t go backward. That would be like the government saying, ‘Okay, we’re taking away your right to vote too.’ You can’t introduce a black person and be like, ‘Oh, I just got a slave!’ That era is over.”
She knows the country won’t ever agree on the right to safe and legal abortion.
“It’s okay if you think it’s not right for women to have abortions—but it’s not your problem, because we decide,” Handler writes.
Handler’s essay is a welcome contribution to the national conversation on abortion. Having a celebrity speak out about her own helps to minimize the stigma attached to the procedure and helps other women feel less isolated in their decision.
“I’d love for somebody to try to tell me what to do with my body,” Handler writes. “I dare them.”
Image via Handler's Facebook page
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Argentina's Underground Abortion Clinics Kailey is an editorial intern at BUST for the summer of 2016. She hails from Austin, Texas and currently studies journalism and women's and gender studies at The University of Texas. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.