Donna Karan Opens Up About Having an Abortion in the '70s

The fashion designer gets candid about her affair and the difficult decision that followed.

(Image credit: Archives)

Adding author to her résumé with a new book, My Journey (opens in new tab), Donna Karan is revealing more to her story than the fashion brand for which she is known. In her memoir, the designer opens up about her personal life in the 1970s, revealing the affair she had with Stephen Weiss (whom she later went on to marry) while married her first husband Mark Karan and the unplanned pregnancy that resulted.

"We weren't sure whose child it was," Karan admits in an interview with the Huffington Post (opens in new tab). She recounts the difficult situation and her decision to have an abortion: "I said, 'I can't even fathom doing this.' Abortion had just been legalized—it was that week. I told Mark about it and I said, 'I really think this is what I have to do', and he agreed with me and supported me completely on it… [It was] difficult, but that was the life I was living at that moment in time."

Though Karan explains that in writing the book, it was something she was doing for herself, she also hopes her story can provide some level of comfort and support for other women with similar experiences.

"I know so many times that women really go 'What do I do? How do I handle this?' and I wanted to show that I'm with them," she says. "I totally understand what it's like—I went through it."

Watch the full video of her interview below:

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Sarah Lindig
Sarah Lindig

I am an experienced editor, writer, and creative strategist, specializing in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle content for digital media outlets, as well as video and social platforms. While I currently operate as a freelance contributor/consultant, with such clients as The Zoe Report, my 10+-year background in the industry was cultivated at the dot-coms of elite publications, including Harper’s BAZAAR, ELLE, and Marie Claire.