For many, abortion is a taboo topic, and that means people who have considered the procedure rarely share their experiences. But comedian Chelsea Handler has never been one to avoid controversial conversations. Case in point: This stellar, super-candid essay in Playboy in which Handler writes about having two abortions at 16. We love that she doesn’t mince words here. Handler calls herself irresponsible but doesn’t regret her decision:
When I got pregnant at the age of 16, getting an abortion wasn’t the first idea that popped into my unripened brain.
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! 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 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*ck 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.