Nicki Minaj, Whoopi Goldberg and More Brave Celebrities Who Came Forward About Having Abortions

Abortion is an issue that should never be taken lightly, however, is still unfortunately taboo. Dealing with an abortion can be extremely impactful, both physically and psychologically, and luckily, there are a handful of stars who have come out of the shadows to share their stories. Most recently, we saw Amina Buddafly open up about her decision to terminate a pregnancy she wasn’t prepared for on Love & Hip Hop New York, proving that the conversation is continuing and becoming more open. Women like Lil’ Kim, Vanessa Williams and Toni Braxton have publicly shared details about their abortions-and whether it be for therapeutic reasons or to be helpful in educating and protecting rights of other women-we appreciate their bravery and honesty in helping us move forward. See their stories below.

  • 1 Nicki Minaj
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    The Barbz is never one to keep things censored, and the topic of abortion is no exception. Nicki opened up about the abortion she had in high school on a mixtape track “Autobiography” and when she covered Rolling Stone in 2014. She tells the magazine how she got pregnant by an older man she was seeing, and as she puts it: “I thought I was going to die.” Having to go through with the termination as a teenager, she says, was “the hardest thing [she’d] ever gone through” and that it’s “haunted” her her whole life. However, she backs her decision. “It’d be contradictory if I said I wasn’t pro-choice. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have anything to offer a child.”

  • 2 Amina Buddafly
    The Love & Hip Hop New York star recently opened up on the show about her decision to terminate a pregnancy that would’ve given Peter Gunz his ninth child, telling Peter’s daughter Whitney about it. “It’s really, really a hard situation for me,” she tells us. “I really didn’t even want that to be on the show, but, it is really what happened and I decided to be all the way real with everything.” Still, she has no regrets. “I made the best decision in that moment, I don’t like regrets in general, I don’t like to think about anything that can’t change, that’s in the past, in a negative way. It is what it is and I have to be positive and move on from it. I’m really sad about it and still am gonna be sad about it for a long time.”

  • 3 Lil’ Kim
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    A few years ago, the rapper visited Power 105’s The Breakfast Club and opened up about the abortion she had when she was “definitely” pregnant by the late Biggie Smalls-while he was married to Faith Evans. She still has conflicting feelings. “I don’t know if I have regrets about not keeping it,” she tells the show. “Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Then I think what would’ve happened with my career. I just don’t know.”

  • 4 Penny Marshall
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    The 72-year-old Laverne and Shirley actress openly discusses the abortion she had in her forties, after she had a daughter with her college sweetheart-when abortion was illegal-at age 19. The Big director explained her decision-making process to Fox News a few years ago: “I talked to my brother (Garry Marshall). We made the pros and cons. I had a kid already. Joe Pesci offered to be the father. I didn’t want to do that to him. It was more do I want this other person in my life, for the rest of my life.”

  • 5 Stevie Nicks
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    In 1992, this rock and roll goddess opened up about ending four pregnancies. “I couldn’t have [had them] because I was too busy. And I had all these commitments,” she said. “To give up four babies is to give up a lot that would be here now. So that bothers me, a lot, and really breaks my heart. But they’re gone, so…” A few years ago, she confirmed that the Fleetwood Mac song “Sara” was about the abortion she had when she got pregnant with The Eagles’ Don Henly. “Had I married Don and had that baby, and had she been a girl, I would have named her Sara.” Some of the lyrics include: “Sara, you’re the poet in my heart/Never change, never stop/And now it’s gone/All I ever wanted/Was to know that you were dreaming/There’s a heartbeat/And it never really died.”

  • 6 Alice Walker
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    The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple had a safe abortion (when they were illegal) as a teenager in college, and in a BBC interview, agreed that her alternative was suicide. In her mental and physical recovery, she wrote a short story To Hell With Dying, which was published and earned her a positive, hand-written note from poet and activist Langston Hughes. Still, she defends her pro-choice stance. “A problem with our planet is that there are so many unwanted children, unplanned children and the state is not going to take care of them if the parents decide that they can’t,” she tells BBC. “The best solution to all of this is to have women decide what they want to have happen to their own bodies. The state has no right to say.”

  • 7 Vanessa Williams
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    In a 2012 interview with Deadline while promoting her memoir You Have No Idea, the star opened up about the abortion she had as a teenager and initially withheld from telling her mother. “Being pregnant is the most frightening thing that happens in your life,” she said. “I knew in high school that’s something that I was not prepared to do or fight or struggle with.” [/item
  • 8 Toni Braxton
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    In her 2014 memoir Unbreak My Heart, the songstress revealed details about terminating the pregnancy she had with then-boyfriend (and now ex-husband) Keri Lewis over 10 years ago. Although she was in the middle of an Accutane prescription (which can cause extreme side effects on fetuses), she says she would’ve had the abortion regardless for convenience. Her guilt followed her even until she had her son Diezel, who is autistic, and asked: “Is God punishing me for that abortion?” In addition to her son’s autism, she believed “God’s payback” was her lupus diagnosis and parents’ divorce.

  • 9 Sherri Shepherd
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    In 2008, the TV personality opened up to Precious Times about the multiple abortions she had during a rough period of her life. “Before I converted to Christianity, I was a Jehovah’s Witness. In 1993, my mother was dying from diabetic complications. My sister was heavy into drugs, and we would have to go and get her from crack houses,” she explained. “I was in a very physically abusive relationship. I was sleeping with a lot of guys and had more abortions than I would like to count. I had very low self-esteem and just wanted to die. I felt if someone killed me, it wouldn’t even make a difference. But God showed me that it would make a difference.” Still, she doesn’t shy away from her past. During an intense debate about a law requiring women to have a sonogram before getting an abortion on a 2012 episode of The View, she cut off her conflicting co-hosts to take a stand. “We stop at the picket signs and we don’t help you past that! I’m speaking as a girl who had a lot of abortions,” she said, emotionally. “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.”

  • 10 Maureen McCormick
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    In 2008, the former Brady Bunch star revealed her decisions to have multiple abortions when speaking about her memoir Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice on the show The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet. “I was 18, 19 and 20 when I had each abortion. It shows how careless I was,” she said, reflecting on the time she was heavily-addicted to cocaine. “It shows what drugs did to me and how far I went. I was not aware of the things going on in my life. Playing Marcia, I always had to be perfect… but I had so much going on underneath. I always felt I had to be perfect for the public. Now I know I don’t. I can just be me.”

  • 11 Kathy Najimy
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    13 years ago, the Hocus Pocus star opened up about the abortion she had when she was 18 in a speech at a Planned Parenthood. “I knew immediately I was in no position to be a parent,” she said. “I was a college student on a scholarship with no job, no money, barely my own apartment…” She knew her 19-year-old ex wasn’t fit to be a father, so she was adamant about having an abortion. When she told the doctor at her college’s health services department, she said she “felt his judgement” and “contempt.” “I felt he was a representation of the hundreds of thousands just like him who feel they — and they alone — should decide how a woman should be, look, feel and behave.” Ever since, she’s fought hard to protect women’s rights and when asked to reflect on her feelings of her pregnancy termination, she says she felt “nothing but political.”

  • 12 Joan Collins
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    A few years ago, the British actress revealed she had an abortion in her twenties when she got pregnant with Warren Beatty, on ITV’s Live Stories. “I’ve always believed that life is not a bowl of cherries, it’s a bowl of cherry pits and the ‘happy ever after-syndrome’ I was aware was just a fairytale,” she said. “It would have been absolute career death for me to have done that, even though I wasn’t yet getting to a broody period, I got to my broody period a couple of years later but it was just, it would have been unthinkable to have a child.” She explains the difficult circumstances at the time, saying her fiance had no money and she had “nothing.” “I believe if you are going to bring a child into the world that you have to have a responsibility to that child. I’m so happy that Tara [her daughter] was my first child, I love her dearly and it would not have been the same had I had another child, so I know I made the right decision.

  • 13 Sinead O’connor
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    The singer was amidst a tour in the ’90s when she had an abortion, nine weeks pregnant. “I think people don’t necessarily understand, because they haven’t had the experience, that to decide to terminate a pregnancy is probably the most difficult decision a woman would have to make,” she said in an interview. She wrote and performed “My Special Child” as a dedication. “I was completely in love with the father of the child. But things didn’t work out between us and we were both unhappy. It was too much for him to be able to handle. He was young and I was on tour and I was feeling ill all the time because I was pregnant and I was feeling so awful and I made the decision that it would be better for everybody if I had the abortion.” She has no regrets. “I didn’t have a sense of guilt about the abortion. If I had had the child, I wouldn’t have been in any state to be the mother that child would have deserved. It wouldn’t have worked that way. As far as I’m concerned, that child’s spirit is gone and perhaps some day it will return.”

  • 14 Jemima Kirke
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    During a campaign for reproductive rights last year, the Girls star not only said that she had an abortion in her early twenties, but that she went through the procedure without anesthesia because she couldn’t afford it. She paid out-of-pocket with money she’d borrowed from her boyfriend, so that her mother wouldn’t have to find out. “My life was not conducive to raising a healthy, happy child,” she said in a PSA. “I just didn’t feel it was fair.” She continues to fight so women don’t have to endure the same pain in the future. “We think we do have free choice and we are able to do whatever we want, but then there are these little hoops we have to jump through to get them.”

  • 15 Tami Roman
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    A few years ago, The Real World star opened up about the abortion she underwent on TV during her time on the show at age 23. “My thought process when I did it was to show young girls what happens when you don’t handle your life responsibly. Here I am forced to make a decision at 23 that I shouldn’t have to make because I didn’t do the right thing. I didn’t handle having safe sex,” she said. “Ironically, I worked at an HIV center and I was the person who got caught up in a situation like this. I wanted it documented. The turmoil I went through in making the decision, how it affected my mother, having to go to the clinic and have complications after. I wanted people to take that journey with me and see.” Roman stands by her decision to make her abortion so public. “My intent was not to say to people, ‘this is a way to handle it.’ My intent was to show how difficult it is to endure emotionally, mentally and physical, to go through something like this. That’s all I wanted.” She says she took the opportunity to tell and educate her young daughters, when they were 13 and 11.

  • 16 Margaret Cho
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    Although a comedian, Margaret Cho tackles the issue of abortion head-on in attempts to make it a non-taboo. “I talk a lot about abortion and people get really freaked out,” she says. “I’m not even making a political statement. I’m just talking about what happened! 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… If males had to have abortions, it would be something that was routinely discussed and the emotional life of it would be really examined.”

  • 17 Whoopi Goldberg
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    In The Choices We Made, a collection of essays by people effected by abortion, the actress details the abortion she gave herself with a coat hanger, alone, in a NYC park restroom. She was only 14. The story includes grueling details of the “looping” and “twisting” of the hanger wire. She had another abortion the following year when she was 15. She said that decision was more difficult because she “wasn’t exactly sure” about not wanting the baby, but her mother had confirmed for her by saying, “You can’t [have a baby] now. There’s too much you have to do.” In the story she said her mother was right and she knew she “wasn’t ready for a child.” She was still having unprotected sex-because she says it was difficult finding birth control at the time-and when she used birth control, she still got pregnant three more times, but had abortions because she still wasn’t prepared to be a mother.

  • 18 Chelsea Handler
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    In a 2011 interview with The New York Times, the comedian criticized MTV’s 16 and Pregnant, saying: “Getting rewarded for being pregnant when you’re a teenager? Are you serious? I mean, that makes me want to kill somebody.” Then, she was frank about her abortion. “I had an abortion when I was 16. Because that’s what I should have done. Otherwise I would now have a 20-year-old kid. Anyway, those are things that people shouldn’t be dishonest about.”

  • 19 Sharon Osbourne
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    Unlike some of the other stars, Sharon says her decision to have an abortion was “the worst thing [she] ever did.” She was 17 years old, and says she got pregnant from the first time she had sex. Although her mom helped in making her decision, she went to the clinic alone because her mom was so angry. “She said I’d got myself in this mess, now she had to get me out.” She describes the clinic as: “Full of other young girls, and we were all terrified and looking at each other and nobody was saying a bloody word. I howled my way through it, and it was horrible.” Her decision still weighs heavily on her. “I would never recommend it to anyone because it comes back to haunt you. When I tried to have children, I lost three – I think it was because something had happened to my cervix during the abortion. After three miscarriages, they had to put a stitch in it. In life, whatever it is, you pay somewhere down the line. You have to be accountable.” [/item
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