Is Chelsea Handler Actually Mourning Her Abortions?

Comedian Chelsea Handler’s viral video celebrates “A Day in the Life of a Childless Women.” But is Chelsea really calling attention to the three children she lost to abortion?

By Theresa & Kevin Burke Published on February 16, 2023

Comedian Chelsea Handler is in the news with her controversial video short making the rounds on social media, “A Day in the Life of a Childless Woman.” (Be warned, the video contains mature themes and profanity.)

Handler offers a tongue-in-cheek take on the benefits of a childless existence. The video reveals Chelsea waking to a leisurely cup of coffee. With no kids to tie her down, she is free to put on her designer shoes and engage in an exciting life of love, adventure and spiritual enlightenment.

With now over six million views and climbing, the video triggers the typical polarized hyper-reactions on both sides of our cultural divide. Some find Chelsea’s comedic take on her childless existence refreshing and affirming. Others see it as the narcissistic preening of a pathetic, pampered woman who will never enjoy the blessings of motherhood.

But if you take a closer look, Chelsea may be engaged in a process of public self-revelation about a deeply intimate and complicated chapter in her life that has never been fully explored and resolved.

In June 2022, Chelsea made headlines claiming that her New Jersey high school will not induct her into its hall of fame because she has been public about having three abortions when she was a student at the school. Handler shared in the NY Post:

“Jason Alexander and Chris Christie made it, but not me,” she said, referencing the “Seinfeld” alum and former state governor. “Apparently, the school is upset about how much I talk about my abortions, so I decided to start a grassroots campaign.”

Chelsea asks her supporters to contact the school and share their outrage at this act of injustice. And, she adds, “You should donate to Planned Parenthood.”

Nearly nine months later, Chelsea is extolling the virtues of a childless existence.

Multiple Abortions

In her high school years, Chelsea experienced three abortions. She shares in Time about the first unplanned pregnancy: “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.”

She told her parents about the pregnancy, and they “acted like parents for one of the very first times in my life and took me to Planned Parenthood.” Chelsea says that after her abortion, she felt nothing but relief.

She got pregnant again not long after her first pregnancy, and somehow scrounged together the $230 for the second procedure.

Multiple abortions can be a symptom of unresolved emotional trauma and complicated grief from that initial experience of abortion loss.

Chelsea affirms her choice as a sensible decision. “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,” she says. “I don’t ever look back and think, God, I wish I’d had that baby.”

Interestingly, the Time article from 2016 only mentions two abortions in her high school years. However, more recently she shared in a NY Post story of a third child lost to abortion during that time.

Traumatic Repetition

Some will understandably question why Chelsea did not learn from that first experience of abortion and went on to repeat the same pattern of behaviors, leading to additional unplanned pregnancies and multiple procedures.

In my book Forbidden Grief, I (Theresa) share of my work with women who have experienced multiple abortions. (Fifty percent of all procedures are repeat abortions.) As I share in the book, multiple abortions can be a symptom of unresolved emotional trauma and complicated grief from that initial experience of abortion loss.

While it is not uncommon for women like Chelsea to experience a sense of relief after the crisis of unplanned pregnancy has been seemingly “resolved,” it is also natural that alongside any sense of relief, there can be feelings of shame, anger, and grief as the mind and body try and process this complicated experience of loss.

During this vulnerable and confusing period after that first abortion, without awareness and healing, young women can unconsciously re-enact elements of that initial conception and abortion experience, and find themselves once again facing an unplanned pregnancy.

If abortion is once again the solution, a destructive pattern is established where the pregnancy and procedure become the process to work through the unresolved feeling and memories of the pregnancy loss. The body must again experience the unnatural surgical invasion to disrupt a very natural process, as the life of another developing child is ended in the womb.

Searching for Meaning to Repress the Pain

Chelsea would no doubt say she is motivated in her recent video not by past abortion loss, but by a desire to publicly affirm the lives of childless women. She would no doubt say their choice to be childless is a selfless act of care for the environment. Chelsea has said before that having fewer children is an act of compassion for mother earth, since the childless are reducing the carbon footprint.

Based on over 25 years of working with women and men who have had abortions, there is likely something more profound happening with Chelsea’s very public revelations about her experience of abortion and her childless mid-life existence.

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After abortion, many women and men repress and deny any painful feelings and memories associated with their abortion experience by vigorously affirming abortion rights and justifying their choices as environmentally responsible. But this denial comes with a price. It can contribute to symptoms of depression, anxiety, abuse of substances, and relationship problems following an abortion event.

Chelsea may also be expressing in her public actions a natural need for a deeper processing of her confusing and painful experience of multiple abortions as a teenager. She is compelled to share her story and use her creative gifts to find some sense of meaning and hope in her journey.

Sadly, her pro-abortion ideology inhibits a deeper, more honest exploration of her experience that would give her the freedom to truly explore the memories and feelings of that challenging time in her life.

There Are Safe Places to Heal

Chelsea may appear in her recent video to be mocking those who would in any way challenge the blessings of her childless lifestyle. But those of us in abortion healing outreach can also see a woman who may be trying to call attention to an area of her life in need of spiritual reconciliation and emotional healing.

The truth is, Chelsea is not childless. She is the mother of three precious children.

To Chelsea, and any woman or man who has experienced abortion, there are safe and effective programs to help you work through your abortion losses and reconnect in love as the mother or father of your children. There are places where you can safely share your story and find spiritual peace and emotional healing.


Theresa Karminski Burke, Ph.D., started one of the first therapeutic support groups for post-abortive women in 1986 after founding The Center for Post Abortion Healing.

Kevin Burke is a licensed social worker and a Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life. Together the two co-founded Rachel’s Vineyard, a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion. Weekend retreats offer you a supportive, confidential and non-judgmental environment where women and men can express, release and reconcile painful post-abortive emotions to begin the process of restoration, renewal and healing. Rachel’s Vineyard is a ministry of Priests for Life.

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