I'm always thrilled to see a celebrity use their voice to shed light on a subject no one wants to talk about, or use their power and status to make a difference in the world. Wage gaps between men and women, LGBT rights, and gun control are often heated debates, but the celebrity moms who've had abortions and aren't ashamed to talk about it may be my favorite.
Celebrities talking about abortions is a big enough deal, but celebrity moms? That's huge. There is such a stigma surrounding abortions, but for women who have gone on to pregnancies that resulted in becoming a mother, there's a different kind of negative connotation. It's as if terminating a pregnancy means you're unfit to become a mother in any capacity, regardless of how different your circumstances are or how much everything has changed.
But the decision to have an abortion isn't made lightly. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 59 percent of women obtaining an abortion in the United States are mothers. They are women who are not equipped to have a child. They are women in bad situations. They are women who feel that they are incapable of raising happy, healthy children.
And these nine celebrity moms who've had abortions and aren't ashamed to talk about it were those women, too.
Vanessa Williams is a mom to four children now, but when she was just a high school teenager, she made the difficult choice to have an abortion according to Us Weekly. Being pregnant is the most frightening thing that happens your life," Williams said in an interview with ABC's Nightline. "I knew in high school that's something that I was not prepared to do, or fight, or struggle with."
Toni Braxton recently opened up about the abortion she had before becoming a mother to her two children and while she's not ashamed to speak about it, she does feel immense guilt. According to The Atlantic, Braxton wrote in her memoir Unbreak My Heart that she had the abortion in her early 30s because she was on Accutane, a prescription acne medication that has been linked to birth defects. Although it seems like that was the right choice for her and her baby, Braxton wrote in her memoir that she knew she had "taken a human life" and that she believed God's payback was to give her second son autism.
Sharon Osbourne is a television favorite, but as she has opened up about the abortion she had when she was 17, she's become even more of a bad*ss. According to Daily Mail, the first time Osbourne had sex, she became pregnant and her mother told her to "get rid of it". Though Osbourne is speaking out about it, she said, "I had an abortion at 17 and it was the worst thing I ever did."
Back in 2012, while she was still co-hosting The View, Sherri Shepherd entered a heated debate about abortion with her other co-hosts. According to Huffington Post, the argument began over whether a woman having an abortion should have to have a sonogram beforehand. Shepherd became very emotional and said, "I'm speaking as a girl who had a lot of abortions and I swear to God, if they had shown me a picture of the fetus, I would have put my child in a lot of situations that wouldn't have been good because I didn't have the mental capacity to deal with having a child."
Maureen McCormick, the actress formerly known as Marcia Brady, went through a lot in the years after The Brady Bunch, including abortions. According to OK! Magazine, McCormick was so heavily addicted to cocaine that she was unaware she was pregnant, having an abortion when she was 18, 19, and 20 years old. She became a mother several years after, but has spoken about her abortions, saying "it shows how careless I was. It shows what drugs did to me and how far I went."
Jemima Kirke is using her celebrity status to speak out about reproductive rights, especially when she talks about her own abortion. According to The Huffington Post, the mother of two shared in a video that she became pregnant in 2007 and decided to get an abortion, commenting, "my life was just not conducive to raising a happy, healthy child. I just didn't feel it was fair."
Everyone's favorite Sanderson sister (Come on, she rode a vacuum into the night), Kathy Najimy has been vocal about her thoughts on women's rights and the pro-choice movement. In a 2003 speech at Planned Parenthood, Najimy spoke about having sex when she was 18, ending her relationship, and discovering she was pregnant despite the use of birth control. Najimy decided to have an abortion because she was in no place to raise a child, but she also praises Roe v. Wade and said, "I was entitled to a safe and legal abortion." Her speech is pretty incredible and she touched on the contempt she felt from the doctor as well as her intense need to protect her own rights.
According to BET, Lil Kim was 18 years old when she became pregnant with Notorious B.I.G.'s child. Biggie was married to his wife at the time and reportedly encouraged Lil' Kim to have the abortion.
Sinead O'Connor has made headlines for plenty of things, but when she shared the story of her abortion, she gave a face to something many women have felt alone in dealing with. In a 1991 interview with SPIN, O'Connor said that even though the pregnancy was planned and she was very much in love with her partner, things didn't work out between the two of them. She said that she had to make the decision to either raise a child without an involved father or to terminate the pregnancy. O'Connor said it took her a year to get over it, but she knows it was the right decision for her and the baby.