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List of celebrities who have had an abortion

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This is a referenced overview list of notable women who have spoken publicly about having had an induced abortion or who have been identified as having had an abortion by reliable sources. Distinct from a spontaneous abortion, often called a miscarriage, an induced abortion is the intentional termination of a pregnancy (gestation). A woman may be included in the list regardless of the reason for the abortion, for instance whether it was a voluntary decision, a medical necessity, or a result of coercion on the part of a partner, parent, or employer.

Acting[edit | edit source]

Name Lifetime Comments Legality Reference
Helga Anders 1948–1986 Austrian actress. Appeared as one of 28 women under the banner We've had abortions! (Wir haben abgetrieben!) on the cover page of the West German magazine Stern on June 6, 1971. In that issue, 374 women publicly stated that they had had pregnancies terminated, which at that time was illegal. Illegal [1]
Anne Archer 1947 – American actress who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the 1987 film Fatal Attraction. Spoke out about her abortion in the 1991 book, The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion. Illegal [2]
Bess Armstrong 1953 – American film, stage and television actress. Spoke out about her abortion in the 1991 book, The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion. Unknown [2]
Barbara Barrie 1931 – American actress of film, stage and television. Prior to Roe v. Wade, Barrie signed her name to the Ms. campaign: “We Have Had Abortions.” The campaign called for an end to "archaic laws" limiting reproductive freedom, they encouraged women to share their stories and take action. Unknown. Prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [3]
Polly Bergen 1930–2014 American actress, singer, television host, writer and entrepreneur. Spoke out about her abortion in the 1991 book, The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion. Illegal [4]
Senta Berger 1941 – Austrian film, stage and television actress, producer and author. Appeared as one of 28 women under the banner We've had abortions! (Wir haben abgetrieben!) on the cover page of the West German magazine Stern on June 6, 1971. In that issue, 374 women publicly stated that they had had pregnancies terminated, which at that time was illegal. Illegal [1]
Amy Brenneman 1964 – American actress, writer, and producer. Had an abortion as a college junior at Harvard after her birth control failed. Legal [5]
Beverley Callard 1957 – English actress. Had an abortion during her second marriage. Legal [6]
Margaret Cho 1968 – American stand-up comedian, actress, fashion designer, author, and singer-songwriter. Uses her abortion experience in her stand-up routine. Legal [7]
Joan Collins 1933 – English actress, author, and columnist. Wrote in her memoirs about her pregnancy ending in abortion while engaged to Warren Beatty. Illegal [8]
Dorothy Dandridge 1922 –1965 American film and theatre Actor, singer, and Dancer and the first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for the 1954 film Carmen Jones. In 1955, she became pregnant by the film's director, Otto Preminger, who refused to divorce his wife and marry her. Dandridge subsequently had an abortion. Illegal [9]
Bette Davis 1908–1989 American actress of film, television, and theater. Davis had multiple abortions, feeling that if she bore children she may miss out on large career opportunities, such as Of Human Bondage in 1934. Illegal [9]
Catherine Deneuve 1943 – French film actress. Signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Françoise Fabian 1933 – French film actress. Signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Ava Gardner 1922–1990 American actress and singer. Flew to London to receive an abortion at the urging of MGM studio. Illegal [9]
Judy Garland 1922–1969 American actress, singer, dancer, and vaudevillian, known for playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. At age 19, Garland had an abortion with David Rose at the insistence of her mother and the studio. She had a second one in 1943 when she became pregnant from her affair with Tyrone Power. Illegal [11]
Linsey Godfrey 1988 – American actress. Chose to have an abortion, deciding she wasn't ready to become a parent. Legal [12]
Whoopi Goldberg 1955 – American actress, comedian, author, and television personality. Spoke out about her abortion in the 1991 book, The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion. Goldberg's abortion happened at age 14 with a coat hanger. Illegal [13]
Chelsea Handler 1975 – American comedian, actress, writer, television host, producer, and activist. Had an abortion at age 16 with the urging of her parents, feeling that she wasn't ready for a baby. Legal [14]
Jean Harlow 1911–1937 American film actress and sex symbol of the 1930s. Had an abortion at age 18 after becoming pregnant through an affair (her contract forbid her to marry) with William Powell. Illegal [9]
Rita Hayworth 1918–1987 American actress and dancer. Had an affair with Aly Khan, became pregnant, and nearly died from the abortion. Illegal [15]
Ai Iijima 1972–2008 Japanese media personality, writer, activist and actress. She was raped in her early teens and had an abortion. Legal [16]
Ashley Judd 1968 – American actress and political activist. Terminated a pregnancy after being raped. Legal [17]
Margot Kidder 1948–2018 Canadian-American actress, director, and activist. At age 18 in the mid-1960s, she sought an abortion through an underground abortionist at a hotel in which the abortionist filled her uterus with Lysol. Illegal [4]
Jemima Kirke 1985 – English-American artist and actress. Kirke had an abortion in college in 2007. She couldn't afford the anesthesia in addition to the procedure, and went without. Legal [18]
Bernadette Lafont 1938–2013 French actress who appeared in more than 120 feature films. Lafont signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Pepi Lederer 1910–1935 American actress and writer. At the end of March 1930, Lederer was in New York City when she discovered that she was pregnant. Advised by her aunt Marion, she had an abortion, which brought her major health problems. After her death, a male acquaintance told Louise Brooks that he had raped a drunken Lederer when he had taken her home on 1929 New Year's Eve. Illegal [19]
Veruschka von Lehndorff 1939 – German model, actress, and artist. Appeared as one of 28 women under the banner We've had abortions! (Wir haben abgetrieben!) on the cover page of the West German magazine Stern on June 6, 1971. In that issue, 374 women publicly stated that they had had pregnancies terminated, which at that time was illegal. Illegal [1]
Traci Lords 1968 – American actress, singer, model, writer, producer, and director. Had an abortion at age 15. Legal [20]
Ali MacGraw 1939 – American actress, model, author, and animal rights activist. Had an abortion in her early 20s, later discovering that her mother had had one as well. Illegal [13]
Penny Marshall 1943–2018 American actress, director and producer. Had an abortion in 1963, not wanting to be tied to the father. Illegal [21]
Maureen McCormick 1956 – American actress, singer and author. Had two abortions. Unknown [22]
Jeanne Moreau 1928–2017 French actress, singer, screenwriter and director. Moreau signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Rita Moreno 1931 – Puerto Rican actress, dancer and singer. Spoke out about her abortion during her relationship with actor Marlon Brando in the 1991 book, The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion. Brando arranged for the abortion which was botched, and Moreno attempted suicide by overdosing on his sleeping pills. Illegal [13][23]
Kathy Najimy 1957 – American actress and activist. Had an abortion post-Roe v. Wade when she was 18. Legal [24]
Jennifer O'Neill 1948 – Brazilian-American actress, model and author. While dating a Wall Street socialite after divorcing her first husband, she had an abortion, which she strongly regretted, and which led her to pro-life activism and becoming a spokesperson for Silent No More. Illegal [25]
Keke Palmer 1993 – American actress, singer, rapper, songwriter, and presenter. Shared she had an abortion via twitter as part of the #YouKnowMe campaign. Legal [26]
Sara Pascoe 1981 – English comedian and actress. Had an abortion at age 16, detailed in her memoir, Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body. Legal [27]
Busy Philipps 1979 – American actress, writer, producer, and director. Shared she had an abortion at age age 15, during late-night show, "Busy Tonight" in 2019 and started #YouKnowMe campaign. Legal [28]
Mackenzie Phillips 1959 – American actress and singer. Had an abortion after becoming pregnant with her father's, John Phillips of "The Mamas and The Papas", child which ended their sexual affair. Legal [29]
Marie-France Pisier 1944–2011 French actress, screenwriter, and director. Pisier signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Martha Plimpton 1970 – American actress, singer, former model, and an abortion rights campaigner, who in 2014, wrote an article decrying the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and McCullen v. Coakley, in which she revealed that she had had an abortion more than once. Legal [30]
Micheline Presle 1922 – French actress. Presle signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Maitê Proença 1958 – Brazilian actress, television presenter and writer. Had an abortion aged 16, when she was living in Paris and became pregnant by her first boyfriend, who abandoned her. She said later that she was sure of what she was doing and did not regret it. Legal [31][32]
Naya Rivera 1987 – American actress and singer. Terminated a pregnancy in 2010 to focus on her career. Legal [33]
Tami Roman 1970 – American television personality, model, businesswoman and actress. Her experience with abortion was documented during her appearance on season 2 of MTV's "The Real World," wanting to be open about the experience. Legal [34]
Romy Schneider 1938–1982 Austrian-born German-French film actress. Appeared as one of 28 women under the banner We've had abortions! (Wir haben abgetrieben!) on the cover page of the West German magazine Stern on June 6, 1971. In that issue, 374 women publicly stated that they had had pregnancies terminated, which at that time was illegal. Illegal [1]
Delphine Seyrig 1932–1990 Lebanese-born French stage and film actress, a film director and a feminist. Signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Sherri Shepherd 1967 – American actress, comedian, author, and television personality. Had multiple abortions in her 20s. Legal [35]
Sabine Sinjen 1942–1995 German film actress. Appeared as one of 28 women under the banner We've had abortions! (Wir haben abgetrieben!) on the cover page of the West German magazine Stern on June 6, 1971. In that issue, 374 women publicly stated that they had had pregnancies terminated, which at that time was illegal. Illegal [1]
Suzanne Sommers 1946 – American actress, author, singer, businesswoman, and health spokesperson. Wrote of her abortions in her autobiography. Legal [36]
Gloria Swanson 1899–1983 American actress, particularly in silent films, and producer. Had an abortion in 1925 when she became pregnant to her third husband, to maintain her career. Illegal [37]
Vera Tschechowa 1940 – German film actress. Appeared as one of 28 women under the banner We've had abortions! (Wir haben abgetrieben!) on the cover page of the West German magazine Stern on June 6, 1971. In that issue, 374 women publicly stated that they had had pregnancies terminated, which at that time was illegal. Illegal [1]
Lana Turner 1921–1995 American actress who worked in film, television, theater, and radio. Turner had an abortion after becoming pregnant by Tyrone Power and again in 1941 by Artie Shaw. Both abortions were arranged by MGM head of publicity Howard Strickling who was known as the "fixer.” Illegal [9]
Countess Vaughn 1978 – American actress and singer. Revealed during the first season of the TV One reality series Hollywood Divas that she had an abortion aged about 18, when she had just started on TV, and made the decision for her career. Legal [38]
Marina Vlady 1938 – French actress. Signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Anne Wiazemsky 1947–2017 French actress and novelist. Signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Vanessa Williams 1963 – American singer, actress, and fashion designer. Discussed her abortion she received in high school and kept from her mother in her memoir You Have No Idea. Legal [13][39]

Arts[edit | edit source]

Name Lifetime Comments Legality Reference
Adelyn Dohme Breeskin 1896–1986 American curator, museum director, and art historian. Prior to Roe v. Wade, Breeskin signed her name to the Ms. campaign: “We Have Had Abortions.” The campaign called for an end to "archaic laws" limiting reproductive freedom, they encouraged women to share their stories and take action. Unknown. Prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [3]
Dora Carrington 1893–1932 English painter and decorative artist, associated with the writer Lytton Strachey. She disliked children and feared childbirth, and had an abortion when she became pregnant during an affair. Illegal [40]
Shirley Clarke 1919–1997 American experimental and Independent filmmaker. Prior to Roe v. Wade, Clarke signed her name to the Ms. campaign: “We Have Had Abortions.” The campaign called for an end to "archaic laws" limiting reproductive freedom, they encouraged women to share their stories and take action. Unknown. Prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [3]
Dorothy Fadiman 1939 – Oscar-nominated American documentary filmmaker, director, and producer. Fadiman had an illegal abortion in 1962 after becoming pregnant while at Stanford University. She was blindfolded throughout the procedure, hemorrhaged and ended up on the intensive care ward of Stanford hospital. Fadiman's abortion experience was the catalyst behind making the documentary film: When Abortion Was Illegal: Untold Stories. Illegal [41]
Nancy Grossman 1940 – American artist known for her wood and leather sculptures of heads. Signer of the "We Have Had Abortions" campaign by Ms. magazine. Unknown. Prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [3]
Hannah Höch 1889–1978 German Dada artist, and one of the originators of photomontage. She had an affair with Raoul Hausmann, another Dadaist, who was married and refused to leave his wife. Höch wanted marriage and children, but both times she became pregnant by Hausmann, in 1916 and 1918, she had an abortion. Illegal [42]
Lucy Jarvis 1917 – American television producer. Signer of the "We Have Had Abortions" campaign by Ms. magazine. Unknown. Prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [3]
Frida Kahlo 1907–1954 Mexican artist who painted many portraits, Self-portraits and works inspired by the nature and artifacts of Mexico. Underwent therapeutic abortions Unknown [43]
Ursula Kübler 1928–2010 Swiss ballerina and actress. Kübler signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Ariane Mnouchkine 1939 – French stage director. Mnouchkine signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Sharon Osbourne 1952 – English media personality, businesswoman, television host, talent competition judge, music manager, live promoter, and author. Had an abortion at 17, later regretting the decision. Legal [44]
Irene Peslikis 1943–2002 American Feminist artist, activist, and educator. In 1969, was an organizer and participant of the Redstocking abortion speak-out at Washington Square Methodist Church in New York City. Illegal [45]
Gabrielle Roth 1941–2012 American dancer and musician who created the 5Rhythms approach to movement in the late 1970s. Had an abortion after becoming pregnant while at college. Unknown [46]
Suze Rotolo 1943–2011 American artist, and the girlfriend of Bob Dylan from 1961 to 1964. She became pregnant by him in 1963 and had an abortion. Illegal [47]
Sonia Rykiel 1930–2016 French fashion designer and writer. Rykiel signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Nadine Trintignant 1934 – French film director, producer, editor, screenwriter, and novelist. Signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Agnès Varda 1928–2019 Belgian-born French film director, photographer and artist. Signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]

Music[edit | edit source]

Name Lifetime Comments Legality Reference
Toni Braxton 1967 – American singer, songwriter, pianist, record producer, actress, television personality, and philanthropist. Had an abortion in her early 30s after discovering she was pregnant with then-boyfriend Keri Lewis. In her memoir Unbreak my Heart, Braxton discusses her abortion and guilt, saying that her son Diezel's autism was "God's payback." Legal [48]
Judy Collins 1939 – American singer and songwriter. Signed her name to the Ms. campaign: “We Have Had Abortions” which called for an end to "archaic laws" limiting reproductive freedom, they encouraged women to share their stories and take action. In 1982, wrote the song "Mama Mama" about a mother of five and her ambivalence over her decision to abort an unintended pregnancy. Unknown. Prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [49][50][51][52]
Dalida 1933–1987 Egyptian-born Italian-French singer, model and actress. In 1967, she became pregnant by a 22-year-old Italian student and had an abortion that left her infertile. Unknown. Prior to legalisation of abortion in France. [53]
Ani DiFranco 1970 – American singer, musician, poet, songwriter, and activist. Had abortions at age eighteen and twenty which inspired the song "Lost Woman Song" in 1990. Legal [54]
Brigitte Fontaine 1939 – Singer of avant-garde music. Fontaine signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Jean Grae 1976 – American hip hop recording artist, emcee, producer, actress, and comedian. Her song "My Story" is autobiographical and paints a vivid picture of her experience getting an abortion at age 16. Legal [55]
Kathleen Hanna 1968 – American punk singer, musician, artist and feminist activist. Had an abortion aged 15, that she paid for with money she earned while working at McDonald's. Legal [56]
Lil' Kim 1974 – American rapper, singer, songwriter, model, and actress. Had an abortion after getting pregnant with Biggie Smalls. Legal [57]
Nicki Minaj 1982 – Rapper, singer, songwriter, actress, and model. Had an abortion as a teenager, later rapping about the experience on a mixtape track called "Autobiography” Legal [58]
Anika Moa 1980 – New Zealand recording artist and television presenter. Had an abortion at age 20, which she wrote about in the song In The Morning. Legal [59]
Stevie Nicks 1948 – American singer and songwriter. In 1979, Nicks had an abortion after becoming pregnant with Don Henley. The experience prompted the Fleetwood Mac song "Sara Legal [60]
Sinéad O'Connor 1966 – Irish singer-songwriter. In 1991 had an abortion after things didn't work out with the father. She later wrote the song My Special Child about the experience. Legal [61]
Cat Power 1972 – American singer-songwriter, musician, occasional actress, and model. Wrote "Nude as the News" about the abortion she had at the age of 20. Legal [62]
Natalia Przybysz 1983 – Polish rhythm and blues singer. Admitted she had had an abortion in 2015, leading to public criticism in Poland. Illegal [63][64][65]
Robyn 1979 – Swedish singer, songwriter and record producer. Had an abortion in her teens which she referenced in two songs on the album My Truth. The album was never released in the US, partially due to these references. Legal [66][67]
Mandy Sayer 1963 – Australian street performer-turned-writer. During her marriage to Yusef Komunyakaa she terminated a pregnancy against his wishes Legal [68]
Rosalie Sorrels 1933–2017 American folk singer-songwriter. Had an abortion at age 16 and later became pregnant again after being raped and was sent to a home for unwed mothers to have the baby. Malvina Reynolds later wrote "Rosie Jane" in 1975 about Sorrels' unplanned pregnancy and facing a condescending doctor. Illegal [69][70]
Rozonda Thomas 1971 – American dancer, singer-songwriter, actress, and television personality. Became pregnant aged 20, but had an abortion due to career aspirations and outside pressures. Later, on her TV show, she revealed that she regretted the decision. Legal [71]

Politics[edit | edit source]

Name Lifetime Comments Legality Reference
Heidi Allen 1975 – British Change UK politician, serving as Member of Parliament for South Cambridgeshire since 2015. In June 2018, during a debate in the House of Commons on changing the abortion laws in Northern Ireland following a referendum in the Republic of Ireland which would amend the Constitution of Ireland to allow terminations, Allen said that she had an abortion for health reasons when she was younger. Legal [72]
Marama Davidson New Zealand politician, Member of the New Zealand Parliament, 3rd Female co-leader of the Green Party. Had an abortion as a teenager, and has called for liberalisation of abortion law, better sex education, improved access to contraception, and more support for adoption. Legal [73]
Wendy Davis 1963 – American lawyer and Democratic Party politician from Fort Worth, Texas. In the 1990s, she had two abortions due to one of the fetuses having a severe brain abnormality and the other an ectopic tubal pregnancy. Legal [74]
Teresa Fedor 1956 – American Democratic member of the Ohio House of Representatives who represents the 45th District. Received an abortion in her 20s after she was raped while serving in the military. Legal [75]
Lucy Flores 1979 – American politician from Nevada. Received an abortion at age 16, deciding it wasn't the right time to become a parent. Flores would later receive death threats for saying that she had an abortion. Legal [75]
Pamela Harriman 1920–1997 English-born American political activist for the Democratic Party and diplomat, serving as the 58th United States Ambassador to France. In 1952, some years after her divorce from her first husband, while living in France and having an affair with Gianni Agnelli, she had an abortion in Switzerland at his insistence. Illegal [76]
Jackie Speier 1950 – American politician who currently serves as U.S. Representative for California's 14th congressional district. Suffered a miscarriage at 15 weeks and made the decision to have a dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedure in her second trimester. Legal [77]
Molly White 1958 – American Conservative political activist who is a former Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives. White had two abortions due to family coercion she ending up regretting. She ran on an anti-abortion platform after becoming to abortion in 1992. She has introduced a bill to criminalize abortion coercion; lobbied for passage of parental-consent laws and mandatory medical ultrasonography screening prior to an abortion. Legal [75][78][79]

Sports[edit | edit source]

Name Lifetime Comments Legality Reference
Billie Jean King 1943 – American former World No. 1 professional tennis player. Had an abortion in 1971, feeling it wasn't the right time for parenthood.[80] Although King's abortion was revealed in Ms. magazine by husband Larry King without her consent, she would later speak openly about it. Unknown. Prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [81][82]
Sanya Richards-Ross 1985 – Jamaican-American former track and field athlete. Had an abortion two weeks before the 2008 Games in Beijing and has said she doesn't know another female athlete who has not had an abortion. Legal [83]

Writing[edit | edit source]

Name Lifetime Comments Legality Reference
Patricia Bosworth 1933 – American journalist and biographer, memoirist, and former actress. Received an abortion at an underground abortionist in Manhattan in 1958 after being cast in The Nun's Story. Shortly after, she boarded a plan to Rome where she began to hemorrhage. Illegal [84]
Kay Boyle 1902–1992 American novelist, short story writer, educator, and political activist. Illegal [85]
Susan Brownmiller 1935 – American feminist journalist, author, and activist. Prior to Roe v. Wade, Brownmiller signed her name to the Ms. campaign: “We Have Had Abortions.” The campaign called for an end to "archaic laws" limiting reproductive freedom, they encouraged women to share their stories and take action. Unknown. Prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [3]
Simone de Beauvoir 1908–1986 French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist. de Beauvoir signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [86]
Eileen Chang 1920–1995 Chinese writer, who became pregnant to American screenwriter Ferdinand Reyher. He proposed, and they married in 1956, but he was more than 20 years older than she was, and did not want children, so she had an abortion. Unknown. Prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [87]
Deborah Copaken 1966 – American writer and photojournalist. She had two abortions, at age 17 and 34, both times while using birth control, and wrote about her experience in an essay for The Atlantic titled Three Children, Two Abortions. Legal [88]
Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel 1943 – American historian and author in the fields of art, architecture, historic preservation, and public policy in the U.S. Signer of the "We Have Had Abortions" campaign by Ms. magazine. Unknown. Prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [3]
Marguerite Duras 1914–1996 French novelist, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, and experimental filmmaker. Duras signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Linda Ellerbee 1944 – American journalist. Spoke out about her abortion in the 1991 book, The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion. Illegal [4]
Gael Greene 1933 – American restaurant critic, author and novelist. Signer of the "We Have Had Abortions" campaign by Ms. magazine. Unknown. Prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [3]
Lillian Hellman 1905–1984 American dramatist and screenwriter known for her success as a playwright on Broadway, as well as her left-wing sympathies and political activism. Signer of the "We Have Had Abortions" campaign by Ms. magazine. Illegal [89]
Elizabeth Janeway 1913–2005 American author and critic. Signer of the "We Have Had Abortions" campaign by Ms. magazine. Illegal [3]
Jill Johnston 1929–2010 American feminist author and cultural critic who wrote Lesbian Nation in 1973 and was a longtime writer for The Village Voice. Signer of the "We Have Had Abortions" campaign by Ms. magazine. Illegal [3]
Ingrid Jonker 1933–1965 South African poet. After her marriage had ended, she had relationships with two other writers, became pregnant, and had an abortion in the early 1960s. Illegal [90]
Anne Lamott 1954 – American novelist and non-fiction writer. Wrote in the LA Times of having abortions. Unknown [91]
Ursula K. Le Guin 1929–2018 American author. Spoke out about her abortion in the 1991 book, The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion, and in her 1997 collection of essays, Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places. Illegal [4]
Violette Leduc 1907–1972 French author. Leduc signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Cynthia Leive 1967 – Journalist, media leader and advocate for women. Had an abortion as a college freshman. Legal [13]
Claudine Monteil 1949 – French writer, women's rights specialist, historian, and a former French diplomat. Monteil signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1975. Illegal [10]
Jennifer Roback Morse 1953 – American economist, writer and Catholic social conservative. Had an abortion and divorced her first husband in the 1970s; later regretted her abortion, and returned to the Catholic faith of her youth. Unknown [92]
Cathy Newman 1974 – English journalist and presenter of Channel 4 News. Terminated a pregnancy after discovering the fetus had a rare condition that would impact its quality of life if it survived pregnancy and delivery at the 20-week scan. Legal [93]
Anaïs Nin 1903–1977 French-Cuban American diarist, essayist, novelist, and writer of short stories and erotica. Had an abortion in the 1960s after becoming pregnant with Arthur Miller. She wrote about the experience in Incest: From a Journal of Love. Illegal [94]
Grace Paley 1922–2007 American short story author, poet, teacher, and political activist. Spoke out about her abortion in the 1991 book, The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion. Illegal [4]
Dorothy Parker 1893–1967 American poet, writer, critic, and satirist. In the early 1920s, after separating from her husband, she had a number of affairs, including with journalist and playwright Charles MacArthur, who was also married but separated. Reluctantly, she had a legal, paid, hospital abortion, and fell into a depression that led to her first suicide attempt. Legal [95]
Letty Cottin Pogrebin 1939 – American author, journalist, lecturer, and social activist. Had an abortion in the 1960s. Illegal [96]
Marthe Robert 1914 –1996 French essayist and translator. Robert signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Françoise Sagan 1935–2004 French playwright, novelist, and screenwriter. Signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Anne Sexton 1928 –1974 American poet known for her highly personal, confessional verse. Signed the "We Have Had Abortions" campaign by Ms. magazine. Illegal [3]
Alix Kates Shulman 1932 – American writer of fiction, memoirs, and essays, and one of the early radical activists of second-wave feminism. In the 2005 film Speak Out: I Had an Abortion, she spoke about having had multiple abortions due to the failure of the birth control devices she used. Unknown [97]
Susan Sontag 1933–2004 American writer, filmmaker, philosopher, teacher, and political activist. Signed the "We Have Had Abortions" campaign by Ms. magazine. Unknown. Prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [89]
Karrine Steffans 1978 – American author, most notably of the Vixen series of books and former video vixen. During her marriage to third husband, actor Christopher Short, Steffans had two abortions due to concern over his drug and alcohol addictions and abuse within the relationship. Steffans had a third abortion with an ex boyfriend. Legal [98]
Carola Stern 1925–2006 German journalist and author. Appeared as one of 28 women under the banner We've had abortions! (Wir haben abgetrieben!) on the cover page of the West German magazine Stern on June 6, 1971. In that issue, 374 women publicly stated that they had had pregnancies terminated, which at that time was illegal. Illegal [1]
Barbara Tuchman 1912 –1989 American historian and author. Signed the "We Have Had Abortions" campaign by Ms. magazine. Unknown. Prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [89]
Irene Vilar 1969 – Puerto Rican American editor, literary agent, environmental advocate, and author. In her memoir, Impossible Motherhood: Testimony of an Abortion Addict, she discusses her 15 abortions in 17 years. After the books publication, Vilar received death threats Legal [99]
Alice Walker 1944 – American novelist, short story writer, poet, and activist. Illegal [100]
Rebecca Walker 1969 – American writer, feminist, and activist. Had an abortion at 14 Legal [101]
Susana, Lady Walton 1926–2010 Argentinian-born wife of the English composer Sir William Walton. Had an abortion shortly after her marriage at Walton's insistence, as he did not want any children Illegal [102]
Lindy West 1982 – American writer, comedian and activist. Detailed her abortion experience in Glamour magazine. Legal [103]
Maurine Whipple 1903–1992 American novelist, short story writer and former teacher. After a short teaching post in the early 1930s, she was raped and subsequently had an abortion. Illegal [104]
Monique Wittig 1935–2003 French author and feminist theorist who wrote about overcoming socially enforced gender roles and who coined the phrase "heterosexual contract." Signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Name Lifetime Comments Legality Reference
Gloria Allred 1941 – American women's rights attorney. In the 1960s, Allred was raped at gunpoint in Mexico, upon her return to the United States, she had an illegal abortion. Illegal [105]
Grete Beier 1885–1908 The last woman publicly executed in the Kingdom of Saxony. Secretly engaged to one man, and publicly engaged to another, she became pregnant to the secret fiancé in 1906, and had an abortion. She subsequently faked a will, stole money and jewellery, and murdered her public fiancé, disguising it as suicide. After the theft was discovered, she was also charged with having an illegal abortion, murder and conspiracy to commit murder, and was beheaded for the murder. Illegal [106]
Hortense Calisher 1911–2009 American writer of fiction. Prior to Roe v. Wade, Calisher signed her name to the Ms. campaign: “We Have Had Abortions.” The campaign called for an end to "archaic laws" limiting reproductive freedom, they encouraged women to share their stories and take action. Illegal [3]
Jacqueline Ceballos 1925 – American feminist and activist and is the former president of New York Chapter of the National Organization for Women. Prior to Roe v. Wade, Ceballos signed her name to the Ms. campaign: “We Have Had Abortions.” The campaign called for an end to "archaic laws" limiting reproductive freedom, they encouraged women to share their stories and take action. Illegal [3]
Lucinda Cisler 1938 – American abortion rights activist, Second Wave feminist, and member of the New York-based radical feminist group the Redstockings. Prior to Roe v. Wade, Cisler signed her name to the Ms. campaign: “We Have Had Abortions.” The campaign called for an end to "archaic laws" limiting reproductive freedom, they encouraged women to share their stories and take action. Unknown. Prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [3]
Deirdre Conroy c. 1963 Irish woman who was aged 39 and the mother of two sons when she became pregnant with twins. Tests revealed that one twin had died by 14 weeks, and the other had a fatal foetal abnormality. Denied an abortion in Ireland, she travelled to Northern Ireland for a termination, and brought a case in the European Court of Human Rights, D v Ireland, complaining about the need to travel abroad. The court dismissed the case, saying that D had not complied with the requirement to exhaust domestic remedies by initiating an action in the High Court of Ireland, and, if necessary, in the Supreme Court. Legal (in limited, specific cases) [107]
Françoise d'Eaubonne 1920–2005 French feminist, who introduced the term "ecofeminism." d'Eaubonne signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Karen DeCrow 1937–2014 American attorney, author, and activist and feminist. Signer of the "We Have Had Abortions" campaign by Ms. magazine. Unknown. Prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [3]
Christine Delphy 1941– French sociologist, feminist, writer and theorist. She was a co-founder of Mouvement de Libération des Femmes (Women's liberation movement) in 1970. Delphy signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Joan Dunlop 1934–2012 British-American women's health advocate and activist. Had an abortion as a young woman in England, and her experience "fueled her campaign to improve women's reproductive choices." Illegal [108]
Ruth Ellis 1926–1955 British model and nightclub hostess, and the last woman to be hanged in the UK. Had one abortion after becoming pregnant through her work as a nightclub hostess, and a second a few years later during an affair with the man she later shot and killed, who at the time she became pregnant was engaged to another woman. Illegal [109]
Els von Eystett fl.1469–1471 15th-century German prostitute, accused of having an abortion while working at a brothel in Nördlingen, acquitted after a trial showed that the brothel manager's wife had forced her to drink an abortifacient. Charged with having an illegal abortion; acquitted on evidence of coercion by employer. [110]
Dian Fossey 1932–1985 American primatologist and conservationist known for her work with mountain gorillas. In 1970, while studying for her PhD at Darwin College, Cambridge, she had an abortion, later saying, "you can't be a cover girl for National Geographic magazine and be pregnant." Later had a second abortion. Unknown. First abortion, in 1970, was prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [111]
Gisèle Halimi 1927 – Tunisian lawyer, feminist, and Essayist. Halimi signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971. Illegal [10]
Mary Hamilton (lady in waiting) d. 1719 Scottish lady-in-waiting of Empress Catherine I of Russia, and a royal mistress of Tsar Peter the Great of Russia. She was executed for abortion, infanticide, and theft and slander of Empress Catherine. Illegal. Executed for abortion and other crimes. [112]
Donna Hylton 1964 – Jamaican-American convicted of murder and kidnapping for her role in the kidnapping, rape, torture, and murder of New York businessman Thomas Vigliarolo in 1985. In 1982, she was coerced into terminating a pregnancy by her husband and his mother. They divorced shortly after. Legal [113]
Hazel Hawke 1929–2013 First wife of Bob Hawke, the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia, whom she married in 1956. She had an illegal termination before they were married to allow Bob the best chance of winning a Rhodes scholarship to attend University College, Oxford, in 1953, as they were only awarded to unwed candidates. Illegal [114]
Abby Johnson 1980 – American anti-abortion activist. She had two abortions prior to having her daughter. While working at Planned Parenthood as a clinic director, she resigned after watching an abortion on an ultrasound. Her memoir, Unplanned, was made into a movie in 2019. Legal [115][116]
Christine Keeler 1942–2017 English model and dancer who had an abortion during an affair with a British Secretary of State for war, known as the Profumo Affair, in 1961. Keeler discussed her abortion in the autobiographical book Secrets and Lies. Illegal [117]
Katharine, Duchess of Kent 1933 – Member of the British royal family. Reluctantly had an abortion in 1975 due to contracting German measles while pregnant. Legal [118]
Jamie Otis 1986 – American reality TV personality. She had her first abortion at age 18 in order to finish college and provide a better future for herself and her siblings. She later had a second abortion while attending nursing school. In 2019, she discussed her abortions in an essay for People. Legal [119]
Dorothy Pitman Hughes 1938 – Feminist, child-welfare advocate, African-American activist, public speaker, author, pioneering African-American small business owner. Signer of the "We Have Had Abortions" campaign by Ms. magazine. Unknown. Prior to nationwide legalization of abortion in the U.S. [3]
Alveda King 1951 – American activist, author, and former state representative for the 28th District in the Georgia House of Representatives; also a niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. She has had two abortions, and is a pro-life activist and spokesperson for Silent No More. Unknown [120]
Katherine Oppenheimer 1910–1972 German-American biologist, botanist, and a member of the Communist Party of America. Had an abortion after ending her first marriage in 1933; she told friends that she had discovered that her husband was a homosexual and a drug addict. Illegal [121]
Janet O'Sullivan Irish pro-choice campaigner. Legal. O'Sullivan traveled from Ireland, where abortion was illegal at the time, to the UK to have an abortion in the mid-1990s. [122]
Brunhilde Pomsel 1911–2017 German personal secretary to Joseph Goebbels. Shortly before her death she revealed that she had been in love with a man named Gottfried Kirchbach, who had a Jewish mother, and that they planned to leave Germany together. She became pregnant, but had an abortion after a doctor advised her the pregnancy might kill her because she had a serious lung complaint. Legal in cases of grave danger to the life of the mother [123]
Amy Richards 1970 – American activist, organizer, writer, television producer, feminist, and art historian. When pregnant with triplets, she terminated two fetuses, and gave birth to the third. Legal [124]
Cecile Richards 1957 – American pro-choice activist who served as the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Had an abortion when married, having three kids already. Legal [80][125]
Gloria Steinem 1934 – American feminist, journalist, and social political activist who became nationally recognized as a leader and a spokeswoman for the American feminist movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Had an abortion at 22 when the procedure was illegal and began speaking out about it. Illegal [126]
Janet Street-Porter 1946 – English media personality, journalist, editor and broadcaster. Had an abortion whilst at school studying for her A-levels in the early 1960s. Illegal [127]
Hettie Wheeldon 1891–1920 British socialist and antiwar campaigner, tried for plotting to kill the Prime Minister. She was engaged and became pregnant in 1917, but had an abortion, "declaring no man was going to tie her down". Illegal [128]
Susan Wicklund 1954 – American former abortion provider. Had an abortion in 1976, and says that the poor treatment she received inspired her to make sure that other women would have better and more respectful reproductive health care. Legal [129]

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See also[edit | edit source]


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