Chelsea Handler Shares Experience of Having 2 Abortions as Teenager in Essay

Chelsea Handler uses experiences from her life to illustrate the importance of access to abortion in a new essay.

In a personal essay for Playboy’s “Freedom Issue,” Handler opens up about two abortions she had at age 16 – a subject she has long been candid about.

As a teen, Handler says she got pregnant after having unprotected sex with her boyfriend. “I just thought, ‘Why not?’ I can have a baby. Maybe I’ll have twins and give them rhyming names,” she details. “Of course, the idea that I would have a child and raise it by myself at that age, when I couldn’t even find my way home at night, was ridiculous. My parents recognized that, so they acted like parents for one of the very first times in my life and took me to Planned Parenthood.”

“I happened to f–k up twice at the age of 16,” she wrote in the essay. “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.’”

Handler goes on to reveal that she didn’t have just one abortion that year, but two, and could barely afford the second one — scraping “together the $230 to pay Planned Parenthood” for the “safe abortion.”

“Getting unintentionally pregnant more than once is irresponsible, but it’s still necessary to make a thoughtful decision,” she writes.

“I doubt this is something America will ever agree on. Again, it’s like racism and sexism: People will be racist if they’re innately built that way, but whether they can act on their racism or not is a separate issue. There are people who think women shouldn’t hold high-powered positions, or who think Obama is Muslim, and it’s okay for them to have those thoughts; they just can’t act on them in a civilized society,” she wrote. “It’s okay if you think it’s not right for women to have abortions—but it’s not your problem, because we decide.”.

Regardless, the comedian also thinks that people should stop and accept that deciding to not be a parent is the right move for some.

“We have 7.3 billion people on this planet,” she wrote. “Anybody who carefully decides not to become a parent—let alone a bad parent, which is what I would have become—should be applauded for making a smart and sustainable decision.”

The essay comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s Monday decision to strike down a controversial Texas law that it said created an “undue burden” on women’s right to an abortion.

“The Freedom Issue,” on newsstands Monday, also features essays from Patton Oswalt, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Killer Mike.