Actor and activist Alyssa Milano has been at the forefront of fighting for women’s rights and now Milano is using her own history to shine a light on the need for women’s autonomy over their own bodies. In the latest episode of her podcast Alyssa Milano: Sorry Not Sorry, Milano bravely revealed that she had two abortions in the early 1990s.
Milano said that she had two abortions within months of each other in 1993 when she was in her early 20s. “I knew at that time, I was not equipped to be a mother, and so I chose to have an abortion,” said Milano as per People. The actor decided to share her story at a time when the US is putting terrifying restrictions on women’s healthcare access. “I chose. It was my choice. And it was absolutely the right choice for me.”
The actor, who had just wrapped her long run on the hugely successful sitcom Who’s The Boss, was beginning the next phase of her career in films and said “It was not an easy choice. It was not something I wanted, but it was something that I needed, like most health care is.” Milano revealed that she was in a long-term relationship at the time of her first abortion, though she declined to name her partner. “I was in love for the first time, in the breathless way you can only be in love when you are young,” said Milano. “It was huge, overwhelming even. It filled every part of living. And it was a joyful and exciting and powerful time in my life,” adding that she “was not ready to be a parent.”
The actor was taking Accutane at the time of her first abortion, adding that the acne medication is known to cause birth defects. Calling the decision devastating, Milano said “I was raised Catholic and was suddenly put in conflict with my faith. A faith I was coming to realize empowered only men to make every single decision about what was allowed and what was not allowed.”
Milano said that following her first abortion, she continued to have a sexual relationship with her partner. “I refuse to allow anyone else’s bulls—- morality to force me into a life of pre-marital celibacy. I refuse to live in the narrative that sexual pleasure is for men and that women exist to deliver that pleasure. My body gives me pleasure. Nobody will say that he was at fault for enjoying sex with me, but you can be damned sure that the men enacting these laws think less of me for deriving the same pleasure from him,” said Milano.
Although the actor used birth control, months later she found that she was once again pregnant. “I had done what I knew to do to prevent pregnancy and was still pregnant, so once again I made the right decision to end that pregnancy,” said Milano.
Like many women, Milano struggled with her decision to have an abortion, but she says that while the process was emotionally and mentally painful, she does not regret her decision. “I would not have my children — my beautiful, perfect, loving, kind and inquisitive children who have a mother who was so very, very ready for them,” said Milano, who shares children Elizabeth, 4, and Milo, 7, with husband Dave Bugliari. “I would not have my career. I would not have the ability or platform I use to fight against oppression with all my heart. I would never have met my amazing husband, David, whose steadfast and immeasurable love for me sustains me through these terrifying times.”
The response to Milano’s personally history has been mixed on social media, with some commending the actor for helping destigmatize abortion and continue to fight for women’s rights. Others have responded to Milano’s podcast with anger and hate, showcasing why many women are often scared to share their abortion experience. But Milano thankfully appears unfazed even with knowing the response that awaited her story.
“Fifteen years after that first love had fizzled, my life would be completely lacking all its great joys. I would never had been free to be myself — and that’s what this fight is all about: freedom. Freedom from oppression. Freedom for women to have the audacity to be equally sexual beings as men. Freedom for women to live the life they were meant to have, not just the life that is thrust upon them by a pregnancy that cannot exist in their life.”