As the battle rages on over access to birth control and funding for Planned Parenthood, women’s bodies have become a political minefield. So it’s refreshing to see comedian and host Chelsea Handler being upfront about her own body–and abortion. Regardless of where you stand on a woman’s right to choose, putting a face on the otherwise hypothetical discussion is a brave choice, and one for which I applaud her.
Handler, who is known for her sometimes-harsh (and usually humorous) reality about subjects like binge drinking, recently got serious and sat down with Rosie O’Donnell to openly and honestly discuss her own abortion, which she said she initially didn’t want.
I got pregnant when I was 16…and I was so delusional, I was like “I’m ready for a baby.” [My parents] were like “you’re getting an abortion.” I was trying to argue with them, and they were like “You don’t understand, you’re throwing your entire life away.”
But, Handler goes on to say that she never regretted the decision–and that her parents were right to advise her in that way. Rosie agrees, explaining that the prevailing message isn’t the same one that she’s heard.
You read all these things now with Roe v. Wade being challenged, where there are people coming out saying, you know, “I had an abortion and it ruined me, and it ruined my life.” And I’m like “That’s not the stuff I’ve heard from my friends who have had abortions.” Listen–not that it was a casual thing that they never think about again, but it wasn’t a life-defining negative thing.
Handler is also clear that she’s not advocating that everyone should make the same choice. It may not be the right decision for everyone–but everyone should have the right to make up their own minds about how to live their lives.
It’s great to see Handler and O’Donnell so pragmatically address the reality of abortion, and the real reasons why some women may make the decision to abort. So frequently, the discussion surrounding a woman’s right to choose is centered around the rights of the fetus, or the religious beliefs lead many to decry abortion–but rarely is the pregnant woman, and her aspirations and the reality of her situation even brought up, let alone discussed in such a realistic way.
As women’s bodies become politicized fodder for debates between men, it’s important for actual women with real experiences to be vocal about how their own decisions–and their ability to make those decisions–impact their life, and I thank Chelsea Handler for being the one to stand up and speak.
Watch the video here.