Celebrities Break Silence on the Abortions That Marked Their Lives

By Published on July 11, 2017

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Back in November 2002, Janet Morana and Georgette Forney launched the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. Its goal was to share with the public the real life experiences of women and men after abortion.

Pro-abortion leaders such as Planned Parenthood, and their allies in the entertainment industry, took notice. They saw the power of the Campaign’s personal testimonies and brilliant messaging. How it helped to shape people’s perception of the abortion issue.

So pro-abortion groups have responded to this success. How? By creating a clear imitation of The Silent No More Awareness Campaign, called Draw the Line. The goal of Draw the Line is to use personal abortion testimony, with celebrity support, as a vehicle to promote abortion rights.

Celebrity Abortions

Right on cue, in the last few years we have seen more celebrities begin tell their secrets. To talk about their abortions.

HBO Girls star Jemima Kirke, now a mother of two living children, shares:

In 2007 I became pregnant with my boyfriend at the time. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be attached to this person for the rest of my life. My life just was not conducive to raising a happy, healthy child. So I decided to get an abortion.

I always thought reproductive issues should be something especially women should be able to talk about freely. I still see shame and embarrassment around terminating pregnancies.

Kirke is part of the Draw the Line Campaign.

Comedian Margaret Cho had multiple procedures:

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.

Why this sudden change from secrecy to public testimony?

In January 2016 as part of the Draw the Line, Elizabeth Banks and six other celebrities offered a series of emotional video testimonies of women who’ve had abortions.

Opening Pandora’s Box

The testimonies featured on the Draw the Line website present abortion as an essential right. An empowering choice. Women should no longer feel, as Jemima Kirke put it, “shame and embarrassment around terminating pregnancies.”

But pro-abortion celebs and Draw the Line fail to realize one thing. Once you open up this Pandora’s Box, you won’t always be able to control the stories that pop out.

Teen Mom 2 star Kaielyn Lowry admitted to getting an abortion after a rape at age 16.

I swear they didn’t just suck out my uterus… . It felt as though they had taken every fiber of my being … I felt a mother’s grief.

Kaielyn conceived after a traumatic sexual assault, but she admits that she “felt a mother’s grief.”

“The Hardest Thing I’d Ever Gone Through”

Singer Nicki Minaj said about an abortion in her adolescence:

I thought I was going to die. I was a teenager. It was the hardest thing I’d ever gone through.

It is tragic when a woman feels pressured to sacrifice a child for her career. On an episode of Hollywood Divas, Countess Vaughn confessed she had the procedure at age 18. Why? For fear of having her acting career aborted:

I had just started my TV show; I knew that in black Hollywood a girl having a baby, they’d get rid of you. I had to do something about it. I had to make a decision to get rid of a child for my career.

Counselor Theresa Burke, Ph.D., wrote the groundbreaking book Forbidden Grief.  It outlines the experience of abortion trauma. It lays out common symptoms, like sexual promiscuity and repeat abortions.

The testimonies featured on the Draw the Line website present abortion as an essential right. An empowering choice. Women should no longer feel, as Jemima Kirke put it, “shame and embarrassment around terminating pregnancies.”

The View co-host Sherri Shepherd:

I was sleeping with a lot of guys and had more abortions than I would like to count … I felt if someone killed me, it wouldn’t even make a difference.

Singer songwriter Toni Braxton shared in her memoir Unbreak My Heart:

I never thought I would have to do that. And it took a long time for me to get past that.

Drawing the Line on Abortion Denial

Popular comedian and author Chelsea Handler took part in Draw the Line. Handler had two abortions at age 16.

When it was over, I was relieved in every possible way.

Some women and men do feel a sense of relief after “resolving” the crisis of an unplanned pregnancy. But as with Chelsea Handler, this is often accompanied by denial. They repress any painful feelings, memories or sense of grief and loss. Those reactions and feelings are a perfectly natural response when a parent participates in the death of their unborn child.

“Redemption” Through Pro-Abortion Activism?

In fact, some take repression a step further. They develop a strong public pro-abortion moral and political stance. This is a very powerful form of denial. It  continually validates an abortion decision. It diverts repressed feelings of loss into activism.

Such activism can help an individual redeem her self-concept in the aftermath of the procedure. She can tell herself:

I am a brave and heroic individual working selflessly to protect and empower vulnerable women threatened by dangerous anti-choice forces that want to restrict their access to a safe and necessary medical procedure.

The truth, more likely is this:

Even though I may feel abortion was my best or only option at the time, I still suffered an unnatural and intimate experience of loss. I know this has hurt me emotionally, physically and spiritually. I hunger to share my loss with others and find reconciliation and peace.

The illusion of being a righteous social justice warrior keeps the activist far removed from this truth, and the possibility of a more comprehensive understanding of their abortion loss.

Radical feminist icon Gloria Steinem is age 83 and childless. She continues to speak of her abortion as a foundational act of empowerment in her life:

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.

How sad to think that Steinem could now be enjoying her living son or daughter, grandchildren and perhaps great grandchildren in her life. Yet she remains frozen in a self-centered focus more typical of adolescence.

The Truth Will Set You Free

It’s good that women and men are sharing their experience of abortion. But this also requires the freedom to get beyond the politics and propaganda. To allow mothers and fathers of aborted children to fully explore this complex event in their lives.

Judy shares:

I was a successful broadcaster and strongly pro-choice for many years following my abortion in college and in my second abortion a few years after. It was only later in my life after I began a process of deepening my faith life that I looked more honestly at my experience. I realized that the prescription sleep medicine and antidepressants, the tendency to work and drink too much at times were connected to my grief and loss about my two abortions.


It was after my father died that my twenty-year pro-choice attitude started to soften. I started thinking about the child that I aborted while in graduate school and wondered if my father would meet this child in heaven. Once I went through an abortion recovery program I was able to see how my parenting was very much affected by my abortion. My unresolved grief and loss were channeled into excessive anxiety for the welfare of my living children. I was what people now call a “helicopter parent.”

Abortion is a complex issue. That’s true even when the decision seems at the time to be the only rational course of action. The anxiety and stress of an unplanned pregnancy can feel overwhelming.

But abortion is not so much about a choice, or women’s rights. It is not simply a decision, based on a list of “pros” and “cons.”

Abortion is fundamentally about relationship: between parent and child. Abortion severs that. This loss cries out for reconciliation and healing.

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Jennie Allen
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