NPR's Dee Dee Bridgewater Shares the Story of Her Illegal Abortion

Dee Dee Bridgewater, Grammy and Tony award-winning jazz singer and host of NPR's JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater, shares her powerful story about the abortion she had in 1968.


At the time, abortions were illegal. Bridgewater talks about what she had to go through to get the procedure:

Forty-one years ago, the Supreme Court recognized our right to reproductive choice. Many young women today have no idea how it was to find yourself in a situation where you needed to get an abortion and you had nowhere to go.

It was 1968. And I found myself in a situation where I had to have an abortion. I had a girlfriend who had a friend who was a nurse. And she said that she would give me the abortion. I had to meet her in a hotel room.

I remember being very humiliated, to the point that today, I haven't thought about this for years. Thinking about it makes me want to cry.

She took out a long, rubber hose. I'll never forget. She made me lie down on the bed and she inserted this hose. And she said 'you're going to have to keep this hose in your body for the next couple of days.

And two days later, I remember starting to hemorrhage.

I had to be rushed to emergency. I just remember this excruciating pain.

After she shares her story, she offers a firm call to action:

I don't think it is right that our politicians can choose for women what our reproductive choices are. I am appalled that they are trying to take away the rights we fought so hard for.

It's time to stand up. It's time to draw the line. So today, I am drawing that line. I am saying to all women, stand up for your rights. You are the one who should decide what you will do with your body. To take away our reproductive choice can hurt you. To raise your voice will not.

Heartbreaking, powerful stuff. Let's not forget how right she is about our reproductive rights being whittled away, and how vital it is, now more than ever, that we do stand up.


Aviva Rosenthal

Just to play DA for a moment, what if abortion were legal, but consequences had to be faced, like, say, having to do a crash course on fetal development and birth control, then doing a year's community service in a day care facility? I know a lot of women who have had abortions, nice safe legal ones, and not one of then was not traumatized. This combined with therapy might help with the process, as well as acting as a more serious deterrent. Cause let's face it. We're killing small babies here. It should be legal, because sometimes it's absolutely necessary, but we should all be trying one fuck of a lot harder not to get pregnant.
Respond, but keep it civil. I'm super interested in what people think about this, and it would be a shame to have it deteriorate into a hate fest.