Culture Feature

Busy Philipps and 9 Other Celebrities Who Are Open About Their Abortions

Nicki Minaj and Chelsea Handler are just a few of the others who have spoken out.

Last year, actress Busy Phillipps revealed that she had an abortion at the age of 15.

"The statistic is one in four women will have an abortion before the age of 45," she said on her E! late night talk show. "That statistic sometimes surprises people, and maybe you're sitting there thinking, 'I don't know a woman who would have an abortion.' Well, you know me."

Her announcement came after a bill passed in Georgia that would've banned abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected—which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The bill was temporarily blocked by a federal judge, but it could result in women who terminate their pregnancies being charged with murder, thereby imprisoning them for life. Women who travel to have abortions in other states could be punished with up to a decade in prison.

The bill, with its staggering consequences, moved Phillips to open up about her abortion. "I had an abortion when I was 15 years old, and I'm telling you this because I'm genuinely really scared for women and girls all over this country," she said.

That one in four statistics that Phillips referenced means that one in four female celebrities you know have had abortions. Here are some of the ones who have been open and outspoken about it in the past.

1. Nicki Minaj

Image via Letras

The rap star opened up about her abortion in 2014, stating that "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." She became pregnant at age 16 while dating an older man, and stated that the experience was "the hardest thing [she'd] ever gone through" and that it has haunted [her] all her life.

2. Whoopi Goldberg

Image via Page Six

Goldberg discussed her abortion—which she tragically performed with a coat hanger, by herself, at the age of 14—in the book "The Choices We Made."

Since then, she has openly defended abortion on the air, telling Meghan McCain that "I'm not okay when people say I want my stuff but you can't have yours. The government has said that I have the right that if I need an abortion, I can have one. I feel that you have every right to have the guns you want. There are some guns I think shouldn't be out there, but I don't say you can't have your damn guns." She added, "I don't want anybody saying to me, 'I'm going to make this decision for you because I know how your life is, and I know how you feel and I know what your religious beliefs are. You don't, and you don't know my life."

3. Jemima Kirke

Image via The Daily Beast

The Girls actress has long been an outspoken pro-choice advocate. She told her story in a video supporting the Center for Reproductive Rights and has stated that "I still see shame and embarrassment around terminating pregnancies, getting pregnant. So I have always been open about my stories, especially with other women."

Jemima Kirke Shares Her Story About Ending a Pregnancy | Draw the Line

4. Chelsea Handler

Image via The Daily Beast

In an essay for Playboy, comedian, and host Chelsea Handler expressed gratitude that she was able to get a safe abortion at the age of 16. "Like millions of women, I can live my life without an unplanned child born out of an unhealthy relationship because of Roe v. Wade," Handler wrote. At 16, "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 added.

She later concluded that she believes that while America will never come to a common consensus on abortions, "It's okay if you think it's not right for women to have abortions — but it's not your problem, because we decide."

5. Naya Rivera

2018 Winter TCA - YouTube, Pasadena, USA - 13 Jan 2018 Image via People

In an essay for USA Today, the Glee star wrote about her own experience with abortion, as well as her grandmother Clara, who was a counselor at a woman's health clinic and who helped her through the process. "So to answer the question of why I chose to share my story, I did it for them — the women in my life, who, before I was even born, fought for women and their right to be cared for and heard," she wrote. "I knew that in sharing my story, I would be judged for the decision I made. But I wanted to let other women facing the same difficult decision know that they weren't alone. I wish that in my time of need, there had been more women like Clara."

6. Margaret Cho

Image via The Daily Beast

The comedian, known for her boundary-pushing and profane sense of humor, penned an essay on her website about how she feels abortion is a God-given right. "God understands if you need to have an abortion," she wrote. "That is why he created abortion, on the 8th day. God accepts. God forgives. God loves all of us, even though some of us might have a problem with each other." She concluded, "If you truly believed in Jesus, you would try to be like him and love us, fags and dykes and feminists all. God bless you, even you. You fucking fuckers."

7. Lil' Kim

Image via Ebony Magazine

During a visit to Power 105's The Breakfast Club, the rapper confessed that she had an abortion after getting pregnant with Biggie Smalls, and has been honest about her conflicted feelings. ""I don't know if I have regrets about not keeping it," she said. "Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Then I think what would've happened with my career. I just don't know."

8. Ani DiFranco

Image via Ani DiFranco

The folk singer's 2014 single, "Play God," is a battle cry for a woman's right to choose. DiFranco herself had an abortion when she was a young woman and has long been outspoken about her pro-choice beliefs. "As a society, it is time to acknowledge that unless a woman is in control of her own reproduction, she is not free, and it is the responsibility of our American government to protect and ensure the freedom of all American citizens," DiFranco told The Huffington Post. "It is time we get serious about addressing and achieving this great unfinished business of civil rights in America. The true emancipation and equality of women is dependent on it."

Play God - Ani DiFranco (Official Music Video)

9. Amanda Palmer

Image via Lush Player

The prolific musician's newest album, There Will Be No Intermission, features two songs that detail her experience with abortion. She has had a total of three—one at age seventeen, and two during the past seven years. She told Bustle, "Perhaps the most moving comments that I've seen have been from women and men who experienced going through the abortion wringer at some point in the past. They've written to me and commented somewhere and said, 'I have never told anyone about what happened but I'm going to. I'm gonna tell my mom, I'm gonna tell my children, I'm gonna tell my friends.' On a pragmatic, non-artistic level, that feels like the song's greatest accomplishment — if it [can] un-silence somebody else."

Her music is meant to combat the shame and stigma that relegates so many women to silence after their abortions. She added that she hopes her confessional new songs can "alleviate even a modicum of pain for women who have had this thorny experience," and can "provide one ounce of antidote in the ocean of shame in which they have to swim on a daily basis."

"Voicemail for Jill" is more than a renunciation of shame—it's a rallying cry for all women who struggle after having an abortion. "You don't need to offer the right explanation. You don't need to beg for redemption or offer forgiveness," she sings.

Amanda Palmer - Voicemail For Jill

10. Alice Walker

Image via WTTW Chicago

As a senior at Sarah Lawrence College, the poet and thinker Alice Walker discovered she was pregnant and had an abortion. She has since written extensively about the topic, and in an essay for The Nation, she wrote, "Abortion, for many women, is more than an experience of suffering beyond anything most men will ever know; it is an act of mercy, and an act of self-defense. To make abortion illegal again is to sentence millions of women and children to miserable lives and even more miserable deaths."

Other celebrities who have openly discussed their abortions include Stevie Nicks, Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Steinem, Lucille Ball, Rose McGowan, and so many more. The fact of the matter is that women always had and always will have abortions. The question is whether they will be able to do so safely and legally, or whether we'll be returning to the era of coat hangers and bloodstained bathroom floors.

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Would Conor Oberst Be a Good Late-Night Production Assistant?

The Bright Eyes frontman and his fellow musician, Phoebe Bridgers, appeared in a mockumentary segment called "Meet the CONAN Staff."

Courtesy of CONAN

What would happen if your favorite artist suddenly switched careers and became a production assistant on a late night talk show?

The CONAN team has given us a hint on what that strange scenario might look like. On the latest episode of "Meet the CONAN Staff"—a mockumentary series depicting behind-the-scenes shenanigans—Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst walks us through a day in the life of his new job.

"I sort of stumbled into the role of being the voice of the emo and indie rock movement," Oberst explains. "But that was just to pay the bills. Really, I wanted to break into late-night television production. I guess you could say I'm the Happy Gilmore of emo." But, like any assistant job, he faces his share of difficulties. Worst of all, he can't shake the habit of breaking out into his trademark quivering vocals: "The transition's been a little rocky. My brain is just so good at coming up with sad songs about how we're just pawns in this f--ked up game, that sometimes the lyrics just slip out."

Of course, Oberst isn't alone in his job. In this comical alternate reality, he works alongside his Better Oblivion Community Center bandmate, Phoebe Bridgers. Although Oberst's try-hard attitude gets some flack from his superiors, Bridgers naturally exudes an effortless cool factor. "Yeah, I'll probably do this for a while," Bridgers says. "But it's kind of a bullsh*t job."

Watch the clip and delight in the sad songs of late night TV below.