jameela jamil
photo: Getty Images

Last week one of the most restrictive bans on abortion in the nation was signed into law in Georgia, as reported by the New York Times.

Essentially, the law bans terminating pregnancy after six weeks instead of the previous 20 weeks. According to Slate, the law not only bans abortion but criminalizes them. The penalty could be life in prison or the death penalty. 

The bill is called the "heartbeat law" because six weeks is around the time when a heartbeat is detectable in a fetus. Unfortunately, this milestone often occurs before most women realize they might be pregnant.

People who support the right to choose, including celebrities and politicians, are speaking out against the law and challenging it through protests and even controversial sex strikes. Celebrities such as Busy Phillips and Jameela Jamil recently came forward about their experiences with abortion in response to the Georgian law to raise awareness for the issue. 

Other women with high profile platforms have also spoken about their abortion experiences. For some it was in hopes to raise awareness about reproductive rights. 

Busy Phillips

The late night talk show host shared on her (recently canceled) show Busy Tonight that she had an abortion at 15.

"The statistic is one in four women will have an abortion before age 45, and that statistic sometimes surprises people... well, you know me. I had an abortion when I was 15 years old. And, I'm telling you this because I'm genuinely really scared for women and girls all over this country. I think that we all need to be talking more and sharing our stories more." 

After sharing her story, she quickly changed subjects to the Met Gala as a symbol for how jarring the politics of reproductive rights is for her. 

"So, let's talk about the Met Gala. Is that a hard left turn? Yes, it is... guess what that's what being a f****** woman is — having a regular Tuesday and then suddenly being reminded that people are trying to police your body."

Jameela Jamil

After hearing about the bill passed in Georgia, Jamil took to Twitter to share her story. 

"I had an abortion when I was young, and it was the best decision I have ever made. Both for me, and for the baby I didn’t want, and wasn’t ready for, emotionally, psychologically and financially. So many children will end up in foster homes. So many lives ruined. So very cruel."

She then went on to clarify that her post was not a diss at foster homes or the foster care systems. She wrote that "if Georgia becomes inundated with children who are unwanted or unable to be cared for, it will be hard to find great fostering for them all."

Rose McGowan

In March McGowan replied to a Twitter account that shared the statistic of women who have an abortion: one in four. She shared her own experience with abortion to raise awareness. 

"I have had an abortion and I support this message. I am not ashamed, nor should you be. That 60% of those who choose to have abortions are already mothers says a lot- they understand more than anyone. I was on birth control and it failed."

"I realized I could not bring a child into my world and simultaneously change the world. I do not regret my decision and it was not made lightly. If you do not want an abortion, don’t get one. My body, my choice, my life. Have you had to make a choice? Let’s talk and use hashtag #HonestAbortion."

Nicki Minaj

After the release of her 2014 album The Pinkprint, Nicki Minaj told Rolling Stone about one song that alluded to an abortion she had in her teenage years. The article reads as follows:

"'I thought I was going to die,' [Nicki] admits. 'I was a teenager. It was the hardest thing I’d ever gone through.' She ended up having an abortion, a decision she says has 'haunted me all my life,' though it was the right choice for her at the time. 'It’d be contradictory if I said I wasn’t pro-choice. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have anything to offer a child.'"

Despite the difficult decision she made its consequences, Minaj still considers herself pro-choice.

Chelsea Handler

In an essay for Playboy titled "My Choice," the comedian wrote about her experience receiving two abortions in one year as a teenager. 

"My parents recognized [that I shouldn't have a child at 16], so they acted like parents for one of the very first times in my life and took me to Planned Parenthood. I felt parented, ironically, while I was getting an abortion. And when it was over, I was relieved in every possible way." 

"And 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*** 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. I’m 41 now. I don’t ever look back and think, God, I wish I’d had that baby."

Gloria Steinem

The feminist icon dedicated her book My Life On The Road to the doctor who helped her have a illegal yet safe abortion in 1957. The dedication reads:

"Dr. John Sharpe of London, who in 1957, a decade before physicians in England could legally perform an abortion for any reason other than the health of the woman, took the considerable risk of referring for an abortion a twenty-two-year-old American on her way to India."

"Knowing that she had broken an engagement at home to seek an unknown fate, he said, 'You must promise me two things. First, you will not tell anyone my name. Second, you will do what you want to do with your life.'"

"Dear Dr. Sharpe, I believe you, who knew the law was unjust, would not mind if I say this so long after your death: I've done the best I could with my life. This book is for you."

Whoopi Goldberg

In The Choices We Made, written by Angela Bonavoglia, Goldberg wrote about her abortion for which she was more afraid of coming forward than using a coat hanger to terminate her pregnancy. 

"I found out I was pregnant when I was fourteen. I didn't get a period. I talked to nobody. I panicked. At that moment I was more afraid of having to explain to anybody what was wrong than of going to the park with a hanger, which is what I did."

Stevie Nicks

After years of speculation, Nicks confirmed her relationship with The Eagles frontman Don Henley and that she had an abortion after he got her pregnant in an interview with Billboard

"Had I married Don and had that baby, and had she been a girl, I would have named her Sara."

Naya Rivera

The former Glee star wrote about her abortion in her memoir Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up and also in an essay for USA Today. She revealed that it was in honor of the women in her family who helped women terminate pregnancies and get proper access to health care at a women's health center.

"My mother and her niece Evelyn also became involved in everything from counseling women to sterilizing equipment. They were an honorable example of women helping women in their time of need... I knew that in sharing my story, I would be judged for the decision I made. But I wanted to let other women facing the same difficult decision know that they weren’t alone."

Jemima Kirke

The Girls actress and activist shared her story with the Center For Reproductive Rights. She expressed her desire for communication and awareness to open up about reproductive rights among women especially.  

"In 2007 I became pregnant with my boyfriend at the time. I wasn't sure that I wanted to be attached to this person for the rest of my life. My life just was not conducive to raising a healthy happy child. I just didn't feel it was fair. So I decided to get an abortion."