9 female celebrities who have spoken about having an abortion

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
A number of brave A-listers, including Jameela Jamil, Joan Collins and Whoppi Goldberg, have opened up about their own abortion experience [Photos: Getty]

While an estimated one in three women in the UK will have an abortion in their lifetime, far fewer than this will open up about having undergone the procedure.

Yet, Jameela Jamil tackled the taboo last night by talking about her own abortion experience.

“I had an abortion when I was young,” the activist and ‘The Good Place’ actor wrote on Instagram.

“It was the best decision I have ever made.”

Globally, abortion rights are a hotly-contested issue.

Women living in England, Scotland and Wales can legally have an abortion at up to 23 weeks and six days of pregnancy, in line with the Abortion Act 1967.

READ MORE: Uber driver ‘dumps’ woman out of car after she has abortion

Last year, The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 legalised abortion up to 12 weeks in the Republic of Ireland, following a referendum which saw a landslide vote of 66.4% in favour of overturning the abortion ban.

However, women living in Northern Ireland, where this law was not passed, access to abortion is forbidden in almost every circumstance except where a woman’s life is at risk. This does not include rape, incest, or fatal foetal abnormality.

Elsewhere in the world, abortion access is also an important political issue. Earlier this week, a controversial new abortion law was passed in Georgia, US, which bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

While many women – celebrity or otherwise – choose to keep their individual experience of abortion private, here are the other famous women who have opened up the conversation.

Busy Philipps

Last week, Busy Philipps opened up about having an abortion aged 15.

READ MORE: Busy Philipps speaks about abortion

Speaking on her late night talk show, ‘Busy Tonight,’ the 38-year-old discussed her own experience after news of the new Georgia law broke.

“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 the country,” she told viewers.

Although these two women represent a growing conversation around abortion, in general the subject remains taboo.

Philipps addressed this in her show, saying: “Maybe you’re sitting there thinking, ‘I don’t know a woman who would have an abortion.’”

“Well, you know me.”

Stevie Nicks

After 35 years of speculation, the Fleetwood Mac star admitted to popular speculation her song, ‘Sara’, was inspired by an abortion she had after falling pregnant with boyfriend at the time, fellow musician Don Henley.

In an interview with Billboard magazine, Nicks admitted the pair’s unborn child inspired the song lyrics.

“Had I married Don and had that baby, and had she been a girl, I would have named her Sara,” she said.

Ashley Judd

During a Time’s Up panel at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, the actress spoke about how she had to have an abortion after being raped.

"As everyone knows, and I’m very open about it, I’m a three-time rape survivor," she told the panel.

"One of the times I was raped, there was conception. And I’m very thankful I was able to access safe and legal abortion."

Rose McGowan

The actress and activist openly admitted to having an abortion in a tweet earlier this year.

Sharon Osbourne

The ‘X Factor’ judge and long-term wife of musician Ozzy Osbourne opened up about her regret after having an abortion in her autobiographical book, ‘Extreme’.

“I had an abortion at 17 and it was the worst thing I ever did . . . I went alone. I was terrified. It was full of other young girls, and we were all terrified and looking at each other and nobody was saying a bloody word,” she wrote.

“I howled my way through it, and it was horrible. 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.”

Joan Collins

Speaking to Piers Morgan on ITV’s ‘Live Stories’, Collins spoke about having an abortion after she fell prgnant with Warren Beaty’s baby.

“It would have been unthinkable to have a child,” she said.

He didn't have any money, I had nothing, and I believe if you are going to bring a child into the world that you have to have a responsibility to that child ... I know I made the right decision.

Whoopi Goldberg

She spoke about having a back-alley abortion in an essay which formed part of Angela Bonavoglia’s book, ‘The Choices We Made.”

“I found out I was pregnant when I was fourteen. I didn't get a period. I talked to nobody. I panicked,” she wrote.

“At that moment I was more afraid of having to explain to anybody what was wrong than of going to the park with a hanger, which is what I did."

Sinead O’Connor

During an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, O'Connor spoke about her experience of having an abortion – an experience she wrote the song ‘My Special Child’ about.

"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,” she told the publication.

“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."

For more information on abortion law in the UK and your rights, visit the Marie Stopes UK website.