Kerry Washington wants women to know they are not alone when it situs slot pragmatic comes to making difficult decisions about their bodies.
The Emmy-nominated star and mother of three, 46, writes in her new memoir, Thicker Than Water, that she had an abortion when she was in her 20s.
“I struggled a lot in the beginning with whether or not to include my abortion story,” Washington tells PEOPLE in next week’s issue. “At first I wasn’t really sure how it fit into this story of my life. But I started to feel like it was really important for me to share this.”
Kerry Washington Thicker Than Water
Thicker Than Water by Kerry Washington.
In her book, Washington looks back on a time early on in her career, not long after the success of Save the Last Dance in 2001 and her landing the lead role in Spike Lee’s 2003 dramedy She Hate Me. Then in her 20s, she had a romantic encounter that led to an unplanned pregnancy.
Washington writes that she gave a false name to her doctors to protect her privacy as her career was taking off. While speaking with the nurses and undergoing the procedure, she admits she felt shame as well as a degree of hypocrisy, having spent years as a sexual health educator in her teens.
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“This story had so much to do with my understanding of myself and the world as my career unfolded,” she says.
Another reason she chose now to share her experience: “It’s just so important to me that abortion is not a bad word, and that my abortion is not another thing on the list of things that I’m ashamed of.”
Washington adds, “We’re at a moment where it’s really important to be telling the truth about our reproductive choices because some of those choices are being stripped away from us.”
Kerry Washington and Nnamdi Asomugha
Kerry Washington and Nnamdi Asomugha. BRUCE GLIKAS / GETTY IMAGES
For more on Kerry Washington’s life story and new memoir, pick up this week’s issue, out Friday.
“I’m telling my truth about my life, excavating some of my secrets,” she explains, “I don’t want my not telling it to make anybody think there is shame to be had.”
Washington now shares three children — a teenage stepdaughter as well as daughter Isabelle, 9, and son Caleb, 6 — with her husband of 10 years, Nnamdi Asomugha, 42.