“I didn’t know it then, but I could have died.”
Rita had an abortion before the 1973 Roe decision, when she was dating Marlon Brando in the ’50s and early ’60s. In a 2011 memoir, she wrote that the abortion was forced by Marlon during their eight-year relationship.
“Marlon found a doctor through some friends,” Rita recalled to Variety. “He was a real doctor — Marlon paid him $500 — as opposed to something in a back alley.”
However, following the procedure, Rita began to bleed and had to go to the hospital. “I had what they told me was a ‘disturbed pregnancy,'” she continued. “The doctor didn’t do anything really, except make me bleed. In other words, he didn’t do it right. I didn’t know it then, but I could have died. What a mess. What a dreadful mess.”
“I can see that thing happening now and going back to back alleys,” she said, adding that she was “jubilant” when Roe V. Wade came first came into effect. “I’m really nervous and frightened and horrified that this is taking place.”
Although Rita wasn’t entirely surprised by the ruling, she understandably feels “shocked” and “stunned.” Still, she is thinking of what comes next. “We loud mouths are going to have to get busy,” Moreno said. “There are many of us. I’m thinking what are we going to do about this? If anything, this has reactivated us.”
You can learn more about how to still access abortion in the US here and how to donate to abortion funds here.