Iconic Puerto Rican actress, Rita Moreno, 90, shared how in 1973 she became pregnant while dating fellow Hollywood legend Marlon Brando and the subsequent trauma from her abortion. The Oscar winner is speaking out about her experience in the aftermath of the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The landmark Supreme Court decision of the same year, that until last week ensured every woman in the United States the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
Not only is Moreno discussing her “botched abortion,” but she’s also speaking out against the Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling, which has been met with disapproval by the majority of American citizens, according to a poll conducted by CBS News/YouGov. “I’m not shocked because I saw it coming but I’m stunned,” Moreno told Variety in an interview after the reversal.
Moreno said that Brando urged her to get an abortion after finding out that she was pregnant and found a “real doctor” through friends whom he paid $500 — as opposed to something in a back alley,” which she said she recalls feeling “jubilant” about.
Despite the fact that her abortion was performed by an actual medical professional, Moreno shared that she started bleeding some time after she returned home from the procedure. It turned out that the doctor didn’t correctly perform the procedure.
“Marlon took me to the hospital. I had what they told me was a ‘disturbed pregnancy,’” Moreno says. “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.”
That’s exactly the type of scenario she says she fears women will face once again now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. “I can see that thing happening now and going back to back alleys,” Moreno 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,” she says, noting that she’s “depressed,” after the latest Supreme Court decision.
The day the Supreme Court ruling was announced, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attended an abortion-rights rally and she opened up about her experience with sexual assault, explaining that she vividly recalls the relief she felt knowing she would have a choice if it turned out that her rape had resulted in a pregnancy.
“I myself, when I was about 22 or 23 years old, was raped while I was living here in New York City,” she said to a crowd gathered in New York’s Union Square Park. “I was completely alone. I felt completely alone. In fact, I felt so alone that I had to take a pregnancy test in a public bathroom in midtown Manhattan,” Ocasio-Cortez explained. “When I sat there waiting for what the result would be, all I could think was thank God I have, at least, a choice. Thank God I could, at least, have the freedom to choose my destiny.” Her pregnancy test was negative, but her sentiments echo Moreno’s: whether you are concerned about an unwanted pregnancy or not, this issue should matter to all of us.
“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,” Moreno said. “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.”