“This Is a Form of Health Care. This Is Okay”: Why Kerry Washington Wrote About Her Abortion

The actor’蝉 new memoir Thicker Than Water is out September 26.
kerry washington
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As Kerry Washington’蝉 star was on the rise in her 20s, she had an abortion, she writes in her new memoir, Thicker Than Water. The story of the pregnancy and her decision to end it is one of several personal moments that the actor shares in the book. As she’蝉 promoted the memoir in the run-up to its publication, Washington has been candid about her decision to make such intimate stories public.

This week, Washington told People that she struggled with whether to include the abortion in the book, but ultimately realized, “This story had so much to do with my understanding of myself and the world as my career unfolded.”

In the book, set to be published September 26 by Little, Brown Spark, an imprint of Hachette, Washington writes that after her breakout in Save the Last Dance in 2001, but before Spike Lee’蝉 She Hate Me in 2004, she ended an unplanned pregnancy. Out of concern for her nascent career, she writes, she gave a false name to the doctors and felt an inordinate amount of shame since she had been a teen sexual health educator.

Speaking with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America on Sunday, the actor said, “We stay in our circles of shame because we don’t talk about it. So, I challenged myself to try to write about my experience having an abortion to sort of let go of the shame about having an abortion and say, like, ‘This is what—this happens. A lot of women do this. This is a form of health care. This is okay.’”

Washington, who has three children with her husband, Nnamdi Asomugha, touches on several more transformative moments in her life, including how she found out that the man she believed to be her father, Earl Washington, was not her biological parent. After she agreed to appear on PBS and Henry Louis Gates Jr.’蝉 Finding Your Roots, her family told her.

She wrote, too, of her history with disordered eating.

“By the time I got to college, my relationship with food and my body had become a toxic cycle of self-abuse that utilized the tools of starvation, binge eating, body obsession, and compulsive exercise,” Washington writes in her memoir, according to People.

“The first time that I actually got on my knees and prayed to some power greater than myself to say, like, ‘I can’t do this; I need some help,’ was with my eating disorder,” Washington said.