Rita Moreno Recalls Her Botched Abortion Before Roe v. Wade

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, actress Rita Moreno opened up about how her abortion went horrible wrong when she was pregnant with Marlon Brando’s child.

By Ashley Joy Parker Jun 25, 2022 5:24 PMTags
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Following the Supreme Court's historic overturning of Roe v. Wade this week, Rita Moreno detailed her own experience of having an abortion, long before the 1973 landmark ruling.

In an interview with Variety, the 90-year-old actress recalled getting pregnant while she was dating Hollywood icon Marlon Brando, who died in 2004

"Marlon found a doctor through some friends," Moreno shared on June 24. "He was a real doctor—Marlon paid him $500—as opposed to something in a back alley."

Despite seeking real medical help, the West Side Story star said she began to bleed once she returned home. As it turned out, the doctor didn't complete the abortion procedure.

"Marlon took me to the hospital. I had what they told me was a ‘disturbed pregnancy,'" Moreno said. "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."

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This isn't the first time Moreno has shared her experience with abortion. She first told her story in her 2011 book Rita Moreno: A Memoir. Then, in her 2021 documentary, Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for it, Moreno touched on her fear for women in the future.


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"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."

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."

While Moreno remembers feeling "jubilant" when Roe v. Wade established women's constitutional right to abortion in the United States, today she feels "depressed" after the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the ruling.

"Hilary Clinton warned everybody about this," she said. "I'm not shocked because I saw it coming but I'm stunned."

Despite the setback, Moreno isn't feeling defeated just yet. 

"We loud mouths are going to have to get busy," Moreno said. "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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