Chelsea Handler Opens Up About Having 2 Abortions At Age 16

In a June 2016 essay for Playboy magazine, talk-show host Chelsea Handler opens up about having two abortions at age 16.

"When I got pregnant at the age of 16, getting an abortion wasn't the first idea that popped into my unripened brain," Chandler writes. "I was going through a very bad stage in my life. I hated my parents and I was having unprotected sex with my boyfriend, who was not someone I should've been having sex with in the first place, never mind unprotected sex. I wasn't really playing with a full deck of cards, and when I got pregnant I just thought, Why not? I can have a baby. Maybe I'll have twins and give them rhyming names!"

After Handler and her parents determined she was too young to raise a baby at that age, they went to Planned Parenthood, where she had an abortion. "I felt parented, ironically, while I was getting an abortion. And when it was over, I was relieved in every possible way," she wrote.

Handler said she had a second abortion later that year after getting pregnant with her boyfriend again. "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," she writes. "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," Handler adds. "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."

Handler—who credits the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade for allowing her to "live my life without an unplanned child born out of an unhealthy relationship"—wrote her essay in response to states passing laws that limit women's access to abortion clinics. "It's infuriating to hear politicians make bogus promises about overturning this ruling that has protected us for more than 40 years," she writes. "It's infuriating to hear them pander to the Christian right with promises they have no chance of keeping...And it's even more infuriating to watch politicians find ways to subvert Roe v. Wade, passing lesser laws that close clinics or restrict abortion access for women."

"It's okay if you think it's not right for women to have abortions—but it's not your problem, because we decide," she concludes.

Just days after her essay was published by Playboy, the Supreme Court struck down regulations implemented in Texas that would have greatly reduced the number of abortion clinics in the state.