Rita Moreno Recalls Her Near-Death Experience From a Botched Abortion Before Roe v. Wade: ‘What a Dreadful Mess'

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In light of the recent, heartbreaking news of Roe v. Wade being overturned, legendary actress Rita Moreno wants people to know what can happen if abortions are performed illegally again. She bravely opened up about her past botched abortion story, which almost cost her her life.

On June 24, Moreno opened up to Variety about her terrifying abortion story that went wrong. She said how her then-boyfriend Marlon Brando, whom she dated from 1954 to 1962, found a doctor through friends that could perform the illegal procedure. “He was a real doctor — Marlon paid him $500 — as opposed to something in a back alley.”

However, the procedure still went horribly wrong, and she bled profusely. “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,” she said. “What a mess. What a dreadful mess.”

The West Side Story actress also recalled being “jubilant” when abortions were legalized in 1973, and the recent news has broken her heart. “I’m not shocked because I saw it coming, but I’m stunned. 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.”

But while she’s “depressed” over the recent news, that won’t stop her from fighting. “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.”

She first discussed her harrowing botched abortion story in her 2011 memoir called Rita Moreno: A Memoir. The Spanish edition is available on Amazon.

Rita Moreno: Memorias

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On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned the landmark case of Roe v Wade, which legalized abortion back in 1973. In a 6-to-3 ruling, news broke that our country was eliminating the constitutional right to abortion.

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