The US Supreme Court made a landmark ruling on abortion rights this week, shutting down a Texas law imposing strict regulations on abortion doctors and facilities. One person who never doubted a positive result was talk show host and comedian, Chelsea Handler.
In a honest open letter for Playboy magazine’s Freedom Issue, Handler reveals she had two abortions at age 16, decisions which she has never regretted.
“When I got pregnant at the age of 16, getting an abortion wasn’t the first idea that popped into my unripened brain,” she writes.
Handler had a difficult relationship with her parents and was having unprotected sex with her boyfriend whom she now concedes she should never have been intimate with in the first place.
While her teenage self wasn’t opposed to the idea of raising a child on her own, her family recognised just how “ridiculous” it would be “when I couldn’t even find my way home at night”.
I’m grateful that I came to my senses and was able to get an abortion legally without risking my health.
As a result, she was taken to Planned Parenthood, a non-profit reproductive health service provider in the US, for an abortion.
Despite saying that “when it was over, I was relieved in every possible way”, Handler found herself in the same position later that same year after she was again impregnated by the same boyfriend.
“I had to scrape together the $230 to pay Planned Parenthood, but it was a safe abortion,” she says.
“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.”
A fierce believer in a woman’s right to choose when it comes to abortion, Handler has no doubt abortion rights will not be reversed in the US despite there being vocal campaigners for the contrary in some states.
“It’s a wrap on men deciding what women can do with their bodies,” she says, and notes that history won’t go backwards.
“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.”
You can read her full letter here.