Kerry Washington is sharing her story.
In her new memoir Thicker Than Water, out Tuesday, the “Scandal” star reveals that early in her career she had an abortion.
“I struggled a lot in the beginning with whether or not to include my abortion story,” she told People of her choice to include the story in her book. “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.”
In the book, Washington recalls the early period in her career, after finding success in 2001’s “Save the Last Dance” and Spike Lee’s 2003 film “She Hate Me”.
At the time, still in her 20s, the actress had a romantic encounter that resulted in an unplanned pregnancy, which she decided to abort.
But as Washington tells it in the book, in order to protect her privacy and her career, which was on the upswing, she gave the doctors a false name, though she admitted to feeling shame over doing so.
In her teens, she had spent years educating others about sexual health, and keeping the abortion a secret felt like hypocrisy, Washington says in the book.
“This story had so much to do with my understanding of myself and the world as my career unfolded,” Washington told People.
But now, the 46-year-old believes her story is worth sharing, explaining, “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.”
She added, “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.”
Washington is now mother to three children — a daughter, son and stepdaughter — with husband Nnamdi Asomugha.