Jessica Wakeman
June 28, 2016 5:09 am

One in three women in the United States will have an abortion before age 45. But despite how frequently the people around us end pregnancies — either wanted or unwanted ones — our society is pretty hush-hush about the experience. Having an abortion is not something to be ashamed of, but that doesn’t mean that it’s openly and widely discussed. That’s why we’re grateful for talk show host Chelsea Handler for writing an essay in Playboy about having not one, but two, abortions when she was 16.

Chelsea became pregnant by a bad-news boyfriend “who was not someone I should’ve been having sex with in the first place, never mind unprotected sex,” she wrote. When she realized she was pregnant, she actually thought of becoming a teenaged mother. And while that’s certainly a decision that’s right for some women, Chelsea’s parents could see that their daughter wasn’t mature enough yet for all the responsibilities of parenthood. Chelsea wrote:

Then she got pregnant again. “I didn’t have just one abortion; I had two in the same year, impregnated by the same guy,” she wrote. “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.”

Planned Parenthood, which provides health care services, including abortion, to millions of people, helped the then-16-year-old. While it may have been financially difficult to pay for the second abortion, Chelsea was still able to have one at Planned Parenthood, it seems, with some ease. Many women across the country — like in Texas, where the Supreme Cout recently struck down restrictions on abortion clinics that were found to place an “undue burden” on women — don’t have access like Chelsea did and it can make the difficulties — emotional, financial — of ending a pregnancy so much harder.

As an adult, Chelsea doesn’t regret not becoming a parent 25 years ago. “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,” she wrote. She admitted that getting unintentionally pregnant more than once was “irresponsible,” but “it’s still necessary to make a thoughtful decision.” Chelsea continued:

We’re really grateful that Chelsea Handler (nowadays, a devoted dog mom to a couple of pooches) is talking this candidly about getting pregnant unintentionally twice while still in high school. Becoming a parent is an extremely important decision that shouldn’t be undertaken lightly. Clearly, not becoming a mother (and being tied to a guy with whom she had an unhealthy relationship) was the best decision for her. Thank you, Chelsea, for sharing this!

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