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I Had An Abortion: Chelsea Handler Says She Doesn’t Regret Her Abortion

I Had An Abortion: Chelsea Handler Says She Doesn’t Regret Her Abortion

One in three women will have an abortion by age 45, yet saying “I had an abortion” is a very difficult sentence for many women to say.

So few women share their experience with abortion that you’ll often hear that women must regret having had an abortion because no-one ever talks about it. In fact, anti-choice advocates try to paint a very bleak picture of what having an abortion is like for women, but for some choosing to have an abortion is a decision that is not met with dread or thought of with regret.

One such woman, comedian Chelsea Handler, recently admitted to having an abortion at 16-years-old in an interview with Rosie O’Donnell. When O’Donnell discussed attacks on Roe vs. Wade and women saying that having an abortion ruined their lives, Handler agreed that “No,” that was not her experience.

Handler adds, “Obviously, you should do whatever you want with your body. And you shouldn’t let anyone tell you what to do. It’s your decision. And, of course, no I have no regret at all.”

Handler shares that it was her parents who encouraged her to have an abortion – “(My parents) were like, ‘You’re getting an abortion.’” – but still all these years later she has no regrets.

I Had An Abortion Project

In order to destigmatize the experience of having an abortion, feminist activist and writer Jennifer Baumgardner started the “I Had an Abortion Project” in 2004. To remove the silence and secrecy that surrounds abortion, t-shirts with the slogan “I had an abortion” were sold as part of the project. Baumgardner also created a film about women’s abortions stories with her friend Gillian Aldrich.

Baumgardner has since shared her own personal abortion story in an article called, “I Had an Abortion…And I’m not ashamed to share my experience.” Juggling a busy career with two young children, Baumgardner says her unplanned pregnancy at the time felt “wrong — not devastatingly sad or tragic, just something I couldn’t bear doing right then in my life.”

So she had an abortion, and she doesn’t regret it nor is she ashamed. In fact, she finds power in sharing her story.

“‘I had an abortion’ is important for me to say because I stand shoulder to shoulder with other women, people who believe in the right of all human beings to make decisions about their bodies and lives. Most important, I say I had an abortion out loud because my life is no shameful secret.”

So few women go on record saying they had an abortion, which makes Handler and Baumgardner’s stories so significant. With so much misinformation from the anti-choice movement about abortion, speaking out about an experience that 1 in 3 women will have is so very important to the pro-choice movement.

What do you think? Is it important to the cause to have women share their experiences with abortion?

Related from Care2:

Roe v. Wade Turns 39, Will It See 40?

Arizona Wants To Protect Doctors Who Lie to Women

Fifth Circuit: Texas Sonogram Bill Should Be Enforced

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Photo Credit: Progress Ohio

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164 comments

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6:17AM PST on Feb 21, 2012

I had one long time ago and I regret now, but at that point it looked important to me to have it! I will never have one again, but this is MY CHOICE, not something forced on me by some rules! Blessings to all involved in a way or another!

4:25AM PST on Feb 21, 2012

The Teenager Had Just Been Rescued From Weeks of Imprisonment and Torture at the Hands of Her Husband's Family.

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Her family to pay a debt but she refused to become a prostitute to bring in more money. She was cut, burned with cigarettes, beaten to a pulp and many of her fingernails were ripped out. She was barely alive when police found her.

7:42PM PST on Feb 19, 2012

This is nobody's business but the person who is pregnant.

8:17PM PST on Feb 18, 2012

Maria, I think you're being a bit too "cavalier" about where a woman would wear such a t-shirt. No caring parent would wear such a shirt in front of their own children unless she'd already explained the circumstances to them previously. My grandson (youngest) knows my daughter had two abortions before he was born and is very comfortable with that. He doesn't judge his Mom because she chose to end two unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. She couldn't take the pill (she tried and she got blood clots) and had a toxic reaction to an IUD. Such garments would be very appropriate to wear when working at PP or when volunteering at their facilities, or at meetings where the topic is being discussed.

7:50PM PST on Feb 18, 2012

Does one wear these "I had an abortion" Tshirts in front of one's other children? Just curious. How do you explain this to them? Get another t-shirt that says "You would have a sister/brother but it just didn't feel like something I wanted to do at that time"?

10:40PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

Drat, I hate getting cut off in mid-thought.

And for that matter, why just Christian Creationism? Why not the Native American creation stories, for their "freedom of religion". Why not the Hindu? The Buddhists and Jains? What about the Taoist and the Shinto? Everybody should get their "freedom of religion".

Maybe the white supremacists could found their own church, and their "freedom of religion" could allow them to kill blacks and Asians - heck, anybody who wasn't tall, white, and blond - without being prosecuted for their religion. And they could revive that venerable organization, the Ku Klux Klan, and bring back those wonderful old traditions like cross-burnings and lynchings.

The atheists and free-thinkers could even found their own church. There's nothing in the law that says they have to worship a god. They could worship, say, science, or math, or just free-thinking. They could even have different sects for different scientific disciplines.

Maybe we women should found our own "Church of Family Planning" and demand that abortion and birth control be included in the Affordable Care Act, for our own "freedom of religion".

Yep, I think we need more of this "freedom of religion" thing.

10:28PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

Ya know, I thought about it a little more, and I think I'm fully in favor of this "freedom of religion" thing. What we need in this country is a lot more of the same.

The Christian Scientists could demand to have all modern healthcare prohibited, but they would be glad to offer prayers for you if you get injured or sick. Even free of charge. No more high costs for healthcare! That would save everyone a bundle!

All the Muslims could live under Sharia, so they can do their "honor" killings of women when they get raped or disobey their men. Or maybe they'd just cut off their noses and ears. Without anesthetic, of course. They are, after all, property of the men and don't need those "niceties". And every day at school the classes would have to stop to allow all the Muslim boys to kneel toward Mecca and pray at certain times. We wouldn't want to deny them their "freedom of religion".

Or maybe the Muslims could just weigh in on the healthcare thing, and demand that it be illegal for male doctors to examine women patients - a woman would have to bring a male relative into the exam room with them to describe her symptoms. Of course, there would be no women doctors or other professionals. That's a man's job, and their "freedom of religion" would prohibit that.

Oh, yeah, and we could have Wiccan teachers sending home religious propaganda with their students, or even teaching them witchcraft. After all, the Christians get to teach Creationism in the schools. And

8:35PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

Yeah, I'm on a roll here. I note that somewhere (North Dakota?) has outlawed abortion for children who will be born with hideous birth defects, or won't live long outside the womb. Any woman who finds herself in that situation should sign that child away and specify it goes to a Catholic orphanage. If they want it born, let them take care of it.

8:33PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

continued...

The so-called pro-lifers will tell you about all the babies that could be saved, but they don't count the living, breathing, women who DIED because of their "conscience". Those women don't count. After all, they must have been sinners, so death was their "punishment."

Although my faith has not wavered in 50-odd years, I no longer call myself Christian. I no longer wish to be associated with people who are so full of hate for others that they don't care if they live or die - only that their "conscience" isn't bruised.

And on the subject of the father should have something to say about it, that poor woman went through a trial and saw her reputation shredded while the rapist came out smelling like a rose. It was all about blaming the victim - just like it is now. When the trial was over, he walked over to her with a smirk on his face and said, "I'll call you, babe." I practically had to carry her out to the car. Then he kept calling her and telling her he wanted visiting rights to "his kid". As far as I'm concerned, unless the father wants to take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for that child, he has no say in the matter of either birth control OR abortion.

8:28PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

In light of recent developments, telling women to be sure of their birth control is pretty moot. At least, if Congress goes ahead with its plans.

I never had an abortion, but I was on the pill most of my adult life. My periods in college were so sever that I became anemic and was told that I had two choices - a hysterectomy, or the pill. I chose the pill because at that time I really wanted to keep my options open. If the right-wingers have their say, that choice won't be an option any more. And all those wonderful babies that might have been born won't be, because those women will want to preserve their lives and will have the hysterectomy. So much for the so-called pro-lifer argument.

Also, I had a friend who, at 18, was raped. Her father refused to let her get an abortion, even though her mother pleaded for it. That poor woman went through the horror of that experience for FOUR MONTHS - reliving it EVERY DAY, until she committed suicide. There's a nice bargain for the so-called pro-lifers: The Wal-Mart two-for-one special.

On top of that: at the funeral, the so-called Christian women of the church were "consoling" the mother with stuff like "It's a good thing she's gone, so you don't have to live with the shame.", and "It's too bad you couldn't save the baby." That poor woman walked out of the funeral parlor and never went back to that church. Those "Christian" women probably thought that she was too ashamed to show her face.

The so-called pro-lif

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Colleen H. Colleen H. is an Online Campaigner with Care2 and a recent transplant to San Francisco from the East... more
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