Rita Moreno Speaks About a Botched Abortion She Had Before Roe V. Wade: 'I Could Have Died'

On Friday, the Supreme Court reversed the landmark Roe v. Wade case, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion

Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty

Rita Moreno is telling her own abortion story and speaking out about her fears for those who will be forced to get unsafe abortions after the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

The Supreme Court overturned the landmark case in a 6-to-3 ruling on Friday, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion.

Following the decision, Moreno, 90, spoke about her abortion experience after finding out she was pregnant with her then-boyfriend Marlon Brando.

The West Side Story actress fell pregnant before women were given the right to an abortion in every state in 1973's Roe v. Wade, she told Variety on Friday.

Brando told her to get an abortion and "found a doctor through some friends," she told the outlet. "He was a real doctor — Marlon paid him $500 — as opposed to something in a back alley."

However, once at home she suffered bleeding, later finding out the abortion was incomplete.

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

She remembered being "jubilant" when abortions were first legalized via Roe v. Wade, but now says she is "depressed" by the Supreme Court's decision.

"Hilary Clinton warned everybody about this," the star told the outlet. "I'm not shocked because I saw it coming but I'm stunned."

Continued Moreno: "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."

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She concluded by saying she's ready "to get busy" with her fellow "loud mouths."

"There are many of us. I'm thinking what are we going to do about this? If anything, this has reactivated us."

The Supreme Court's ruling reverses nearly 50 years of precedent and will completely change the landscape of women's reproductive rights by giving individual states the power to decide whether to allow the procedure. It is estimated that nearly half the country will enact near-total bans in the coming months. The decision will divide the country, with most blue states allowing abortion and most red states severely limiting it.

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"We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion. "The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision."

"It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives," Alito wrote. The 78-page opinion was backed by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, three of whom were appointed by President Trump.

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