Rita Moreno Opens Up About Having Botched Abortion Before Roe V. Wade

Rita Moreno is sharing her own experience of America before abortion was protected.

In an interview with Variety, the Oscar-winning “West Side Story” star opened up about getting an abortion when she got pregnant while dating Marlon Brando.


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The pregnancy happened before the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, which enshrined a constitutional right to abortion.

“Marlon found a doctor through some friends,” the 90-year-old recalled. “He was a real doctor — Marlon paid him $500 — as opposed to something in a back alley.”

She continued, “Marlon took me to the hospital. I had what they told me was a ‘disturbed pregnancy.’ The doctor didn’t do anything really, except make me bleed. In other words, he didn’t do it right. I didn’t know it then, but I could have died. What a mess. What a dreadful mess.”

Now, with the current Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Moreno fears her experience, and worse ones, will become more common for people seeking abortions in states where they are not legal.

“I can see that thing happening now and going back to back alleys,” she said. “I’m really nervous and frightened and horrified that this is taking place. I can’t believe that some of those people are telling us what to do with our bodies.”


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Looking back on the 1973 ruling, Moreno recalled, “I was jubilant.”

“Hilary Clinton warned everybody about this,” she added. “I’m not shocked because I saw it coming but I’m stunned.”

She continued, “I think about the young girls. Taking it to the most extreme, girls who get pregnant because of rape or incest. Unfair isn’t a strong enough word, but it’s unfair.”

Finally, Moreno added, “We loud mouths are going to have to get busy. There are many of us. I’m thinking what are we going to do about this? If anything, this has reactivated us.”

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