Milla Jovovich opens up about her 'emergency abortion' but what is that?

Milla Jovovich has opened up about the emergency abortion she had to have [Photo: Getty]

Actress Milla Jovovich has revealed that she had to have an ‘emergency abortion’ two years ago and that it was “one of the most horrific experiences” she has ever gone through.

The ‘Resident Evil’ star was sharing her story in a bid to highlight her concerns over Georgia’s restrictive new abortion laws announced last week.

The new legislation effectively bans abortions after a heart beat is detected, usually six weeks into a pregnancy, before some women are even aware they are pregnant.

“I don’t like to get political and I try to only do it if a really have to and this is one of those times,” she started her post.

“Our rights as women to obtain safe abortions by experienced doctors are again at stake.”

READ MORE: Couple's devastating decision to abort after unborn baby diagnosed with birth defect

She went on to discuss her concerns over the new laws before opening up about her own abortion experience.

“I myself went through an emergency abortion 2 years ago,” she wrote. “I was 4 1/2 months pregnant and shooting on location in Eastern Europe.

“I went into pre term labour and told that I had to be awake for the whole procedure. It was one of the most horrific experiences I have ever gone through. I still have nightmares about it. I was alone and helpless,” she added.

After the abortion, Jovovich said she spiralled into a depression that required a lot of hard work, even time off from her career, to overcome.

Though she never wanted to discuss her personal experience, she feels she now has no choice.

“Abortion is a nightmare at its best,” she continued. “No woman wants to go through that. But we have to fight to make sure our rights are preserved to obtain a safe one if we need to.

“I never wanted to speak about this experience. But I cannot remain silent when so much is at stake.”

READ MORE: 9 female celebrities who have spoken about having an abortion

What is an emergency abortion?

According to British Pregnancy Advisory Service BPAS an emergency abortion can be undertaken to save a woman's life at any gestation.

“Unlike other abortions within the 1967 abortion act they do not need the permission of two doctors,” explains Clare Murphy, director of external affairs at BPAS.

Murphy says that in principle an emergency abortion would also be lawful in Northern Ireland, as abortions to save women's lives are lawful.

“In practice the problem with making "emergency abortions" legal and other abortions not, is that it is very hard for doctors to determine at what point a woman's life is at risk – and it can makes doctors feel they need to wait until she is incredibly ill before a lawful abortion can be performed,” she explains.

According to Murphy this is slightly different to situations where a woman is miscarrying and the miscarriage has not completed spontaneously and so intervention is needed to deliver the fetus or the remaining products of conception, although she says the two are closely connected.

“The tragic case of Savita Halappanavar is a relevant example,” she says. “This was the case that ultimately led to reform of Ireland's abortion laws. She was miscarrying while carrying a wanted pregnancy but doctors were too scared to intervene because the fetus still had a heartbeat and they worried to assist her by ending the pregnancy (that was already ending) would be breaking the law.

“If a woman is miscarrying it may complete spontaneously, but in some cases intervention is needed, otherwise she may develop life threatening complications,” Murphy continues.

“Some people might refer to this as an emergency abortion or emergency treatment for a miscarriage. How we label it is perhaps not important, it is women getting the healthcare they need,” she adds.

Jovovich isn’t the only one to open up about their personal experience in a bid to raise awareness about the new abortion laws in the US.

Jameela Jamil tackled the taboo earlier this week by talking about her own abortion experience as a young woman.

And last week US actress and chat show host Busy Philipps spoke about the abortion she had when she was 15.

The 39-year-old, who rose to fame in ‘Dawson’s Creek’, chose to share her own experience while discussing her concerns about Georgia’s six-week abortion plan, announced earlier this week.