Kerry Washington on Why She Chose to Share Her Abortion Story

She wanted to help reduce the shame around it.

Actress Kerry Washington arrives at the 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on October 20, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.
(Image credit: Getty)

Kerry Washington decided to share her abortion story so that women like her would know they're not alone, and to help them deal with any shame they might be feeling about such a personal decision.

After deliberation, the actress felt she needed to include this part of her journey in her brand new memoir, titled Thicker Than Water.

"I struggled a lot in the beginning with whether or not to include my abortion story. At first I wasn't really sure how it fit into this story of my life. But I started to feel like it was really important for me to share this," Washington told People in a new interview surrounding the book's release.

"This story had so much to do with my understanding of myself and the world as my career unfolded."

Washington had an abortion in her twenties, as a result of a brief relationship, and gave her medical team at the time a fake name so they wouldn't realize she was an up-and-coming actress. She told People she felt ashamed when it happened.

"It's just so important to me that abortion is not a bad word, and that my abortion is not another thing on the list of things that I'm ashamed of," she added.

"We're at a moment where it's really important to be telling the truth about our reproductive choices because some of those choices are being stripped away from us.

"I'm telling my truth about my life, excavating some of my secrets. I don't want my not telling it to make anybody think there is shame to be had."

As you know, Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022, dramatically decreasing Americans' ability to access safe abortions, and increasing the stigma which comes with seeking out an abortion. As such, public figures like Kerry Washington speaking out about their own experience with it is invaluable to people across the country and the world.

Today, Washington shares a stepdaughter, a daughter, and a son with husband Nnamdi Asomugha.

Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.