The very personal issue of abortion is also one of the most publicly — and hotly — debated. Even nearly 40 years after the Roe v. Wade decision made it legal for women to terminate their pregnancies, there are those who are determined to see the ruling overturned, and those who are equally determined not to let it happen.
When you’re a parent, the discussion becomes even more emotional. You know everything that’s involved in pregnancy and child-rearing, and you want to make a better world for your children, whether by helping preserve women’s rights or by helping women explore abortion alternatives.
While many famous Hollywood parents keep their opinions private — perhaps fearing backlash from fans — others are proud to express their views on either side. For instance, Maggie Gyllenhaal, who just had her second daughter, once told Glamour, “My mother … taught both my brother and me that it is everyone’s responsibility as a citizen and as a person in the world to fight for what you believe in. And what I believe very strongly in is that every woman has the right to decide what she can do with her body.”
On the other side of the argument are celebs like The Middle‘s Patricia Heaton, who frequently speaks out against abortion. “Every 36 seconds in America, a woman is forced to lay her body down, forced to choose abortion out of a lack of practical resources and emotional support,” she is known to have said. “Abortion is a reflection that society has failed women.”
Then there are those whose beliefs are more complex — they may support the right to keep abortion safe, but wouldn’t choose it for themselves. That’s the case with Kourtney Kardashian, who faced a difficult choice when she became pregnant with her son, Mason Disick. As she told People, “I believe every woman should have the right to do what they want, but I don’t think it’s talked through enough.” After much research and deep thought, she decided that she was ready to become a mother.
We’ve put together a short list of some of the more recognizable faces in the pro-life/pro-choice debate. Whether you agree with them or not, they’ve taken a very public stand on their beliefs.
PRO-LIFE: Patricia Heaton 1 of 12She manages a family in real life as well as on The Middle, and she's active in the anti-abortion group Feminists for Life. "The early feminists were pro-life," she once said in an interview with Bill O'Reilly.
Heaton explains her views in an interview
PRO-CHOICE: Amy Poehler 2 of 12The Parks & Recreation star, and mother of two young sons, is a fervent supporter of Planned Parenthood, even writing an email in response to local efforts to defund the organization. She also recently came back on Saturday Night Live to poke fun at Virginia's latest proposed anti-abortion legislation with funnyman Seth Meyers.
Read Poehler's email about why Planned Parenthood is "awesome."
PRO-LIFE: Margaret Colin 3 of 12The Gossip Girl actress is another active member of Feminists for Life. She has said during a 2002 congressional briefing in Washington, DC, "Abortion hasn't fixed the litany of problems that women were promised would be resolved."
See quotes from Colin and other pro-life celebs here
PRO-CHOICE: Whoopi Goldberg 4 of 12Whoopi and View cohost Elisabeth Hasselbeck frequently argue over the abortion issue. According to Ms. magazine, she has marched for choice and details the story of her own abortion in The Choices We Made: 25 Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion.
PRO-LIFE: Elisabeth Hasselbeck 5 of 12The View host and mother of three is firm in her belief that life begins at conception, but she has admitted to being torn about the issue of making abortion illegal. While speaking with the NY Daily News she has said, "I am a person that does believe that life begins at conception, but I also don't believe that the government should tell women what to do with their bodies."
See what else she has to say about the issue
PRO-CHOICE: Gwyneth Paltrow 6 of 12The actress and mother of two was among celebrities who made videos protesting proposed cuts to funding of Planned Parenthood during the spring of 2011. She and her mother, Blythe Danner, also wrote a letter on behalf of the organization, saying, "... We cannot stand idly by as birth control, family planning and basic health care come under attack," as conservative news source LifeNews reported.
PRO-LIFE: Kathy Ireland 7 of 12The supermodel and designer was once pro-choice, but changed her views at age 18, after studying medical texts and concluding that life begins at conception. "... This is not a women's issue, but a human rights issue," she has said to FOX News.
Ireland explains her views here
PRO-CHOICE: Susan Sarandon 8 of 12Sarandon is almost as famous for her activism as she is for her acting. One of the causes she supports is a woman's right to choose, which she calls a "civil rights issue." In the video, Sarandon says, "I support the Supreme Court decision that says that an abortion is a decision, a very difficult decision, to be made privately, in conjunction with her religious beliefs, her doctor, her responsibility to her family."
See an interview Sarandon once gave on the subject
PRO-LIFE: Kirk Cameron 9 of 12The former Growing Pains star has become equally well known for his acting as he is for his outspoken views against abortion and homosexuality. He is opposed to abortion even in cases of rape or incest, saying, "Anyone who is ultimately willing to murder a child, even to fix another tragic and devastating situation ... isn't taking the moral high road."
See an interview with Cameron about his views on abortion from CNN
PRO-CHOICE: Julianne Moore 10 of 12The actress, children's book author and mom of two has been an activist for choice for many years. When Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement and then-President Bush was deciding on a successor, Moore said, "The days and weeks ahead are going to affect reproductive choice for decades to come."
See who else supports Planned Parenthood
PRO-LIFE: Michelle Duggar 11 of 12Michelle, her husband Jim Bob and their family of 19 children speak out frequently against abortion. In fact, this fall they'll be participating in the 180 Conference, an event aimed at helping fellow Christians teach pro-life values.
Learn more about the 180 Conference here
PRO-CHOICE: Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy 12 of 12The power Hollywood couple, parents of two daughters, once appeared at a NARAL event in which they sang a song asking legislators to respect women's right to choose. Huffman also gave a speech saying, "We are here to defend someone else's right to choose differently from us ... And because of this amazing, wonderful country, we have freedom to choose: our religion, our political party and what happens to our bodies."
Watch their video here
[Photos: via PacificCoastNews.com]
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