According to the Guttmacher Institute, 30 percent of women in the United States will have an abortion by the time they're 45, and yet, far fewer are likely to share their experiences with abortion openly. Comedian Chelsea Handler, however, has always spoken about her abortions openly, and recently, Handler wrote about her abortions in Playboy's "Freedom" issue to campaign for reproductive rights as well. With many anti-abortion activists spreading the message that women will regret their abortions, it makes a difference to hear even-keeled stories from women like Handler, who are more representative of the norm — considering 95 percent of women don't regret their abortions.
"Like millions of women, I can live my life without an unplanned child born out of an unhealthy relationship because of Roe v. Wade," wrote Handler, explaining that she had unprotected sex with her boyfriend at age 16 during a turbulent phase in which she disliked her parents and stayed with a man who was "not someone I should’ve been having sex with in the first place, never mind unprotected sex." She explained, according to Playboy:
When it was over, I was relieved in every possible way. ... 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. I’m 41 now. I don’t ever look back and think, God, I wish I’d had that baby.
In her essay, Handler briefly explained the issues that have popped up for abortion rights activists in the past year. "It’s infuriating to hear politicians make bogus promises about overturning this ruling that has protected us for more than 40 years," she wrote. "And it’s even more infuriating to watch politicians find ways to subvert Roe v. Wade, passing lesser laws that close clinics or restrict abortion access for women. At least five states—Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming—currently have only one clinic left within their borders."
Luckily, the Supreme Court recently made the decision to stick up for women's rights, blocking a Texas law that imposed strict regulations on abortion facilities and doctors. According to Reuters, the law placed an undue burden on women exercising their right to an abortion, and the Supreme Court's ruling brings hope to other states with equally imposing regulations.
"I don’t buy that 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," Handler wrote as she wrapped up. "We have 7.3 billion people on this planet. Anybody who carefully decides not to become a parent—let alone a bad parent, which is what I would have become—should be applauded for making a smart and sustainable decision. I’d love for somebody to try to tell me what to do with my body. I dare them."
The more women like who Handler speak up and share their stories, the more right Handler will be — people might try to subvert reproductive rights, but as women dispel stigma and stereotypes, it'll get harder and harder to do so.