Chelsea Handler Speaks Out About Having Two Abortions at 16 Years Old

"I was relieved in every possible way."

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Abortion access just got a major win (thanks, Notorious RBG!), but the cultural stigma around women choosing to end unwanted pregnancy remains—which is why it's so important and powerful when public figures like Chelsea Handler come out with their own abortion stories. The comedian recently penned an essay for Playboy about getting pregnant as a teen, and said she initially planned to continue the pregnancy: 

"Getting an abortion wasn't the first idea that popped into my unripened brain. I was going through a very bad stage in my life. 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. I wasn't really playing with a full deck of cards, and when I got pregnant I just thought, 'Why not? I can have a baby. Maybe I'll have twins and give them rhyming names!'"

Chelsea's parents told her about abortion as an alternative to teen motherhood: "They acted like parents for one of the very first times in my life and took me to Planned Parenthood," she said. "I felt parented, ironically, while I was getting an abortion. And when it was over, I was relieved in every possible way." She ended up having another abortion when she became pregnant later that same year. 

"I didn't have just one abortion; I had two in the same year, impregnated by the same guy. I didn't have the money the second time. I had to scrape together the $230 to pay Planned Parenthood, but it was a safe abortion. Getting unintentionally pregnant more than once is irresponsible, but it's still necessary to make a thoughtful decision. We all make mistakes all the time. I happened to f*ck up twice at the age of 16. I'm grateful that I came to my senses and was able to get an abortion legally without risking my health or bankrupting myself or my family."

Handler's essay was published a few days before the Supreme Court ruled 5-3 to prevent a Texas abortion clinic shutdown, reaffirming our constitutional right to the procedure, and reminding everyone that reproductive rights are unequivocally human rights.

To read more eye-opening abortion coverage, see these stories:

On the Front Lines of the Abortion Wars

The Waiting Game: How Mandatory Abortion Waiting Periods Really Affect Women

Inside Planned Parenthood: What I Saw—and How I Changed—When I Worked There

Mehera Bonner
Entertainment Editor

Mehera Bonner is a celebrity and entertainment news writer who enjoys Bravo and Antiques Roadshow with equal enthusiasm. She was previously entertainment editor at Marie Claire and has covered pop culture for over a decade.