Sharon Osbourne and Penny Marshall’s Abortions: Regret vs. Indifference

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 5, 2012   |   3:40PM   |   Washington, DC

Why do some women who have abortions regret their decisions while others come away from them regretting what they’ve done, wishing they could undo the decision and not wanting other women to follow in their footsteps.

Kristen Walker at the Live Action blog explores this further in a post about the difference in reactions between rocker wife and television persona Sharon Osbourne and Penny Marshall, the star of TV’s “Laverne and Shirley.”

As Walker notes, here is Mashall’s recalling of her abortion:

From Fox News:

In 1963 I got pregnant. I had a kid. Abortion was illegal. I was 40 something years old. I had a kid already, my womb wasn’t crying out. I talked to my brother (Garry Marshall). We made the pros and cons. I had a kid already. Joe Pesci offered to be the father. I didn’t want to do that to him. It was more do I want this other person in my life, for the rest of my life.

Here’s what Marshall told ET:

“It was my life that I was dealing with and so I have a right to an opinion,” she said of her decision to terminate the surprise pregnancy. “I already had a kid — it wasn’t like it was my first kid.”

“I didn’t wish I hadn’t [had the abortion],” said Marshall. “[Up until then] I was one of the few people who said, ‘No I’d never did that’ [sic] — every friend I had had done that. But they should have the right.”

Walker notes the much different experience from Osbourne:

Then there are the other, even sadder confessions, from those like Sharon Osbourne:

The former “Osbournes” star said she suffered three miscarriages after having an abortion at the age of 17 due to damage sustained by her cervix. The 59-year-old mother of three said, “Everybody has something in the closet, and I reckon the best policy is always to be honest, then it can’t come back to haunt you.” Calling her abortion “the worst thing I ever did,” she states that should would “never recommend” the procedure to anyone.

Sharon’s story gets worse:

I was two months gone when I realised. I went to my mum and she said, without pausing for breath: ‘You have to get rid of it.’

She told me where the clinic was, then virtually pushed me off. She was so angry. She said I’d got myself in this mess, now she had to get me out.

But she didn’t come. I went alone. I was terrified. It was full of other young girls, and we were all terrified and looking at each other and nobody was saying a bloody word. I howled my way through it, and it was horrible.



The pro-lifer writer responds this way:

“This vivid story of a young woman going alone to a clinic full of terrified girls and “howling” her way through the awful procedure is no doubt closer to the average abortion narrative than a Hollywood star trying to save Joe Pesci some trouble. Still, both confessions are tragic: Sharon Osbourne’s because she recognizes the damage done to her own body and psyche, if not the destruction of her child, and Penny Marshall because, after all this time, she just does not get it.”

The question then becomes, why? Why don’t these two women process their abortions in a more similar way. Likely some women try to block out what happened, while others processing their grief and guilt better.

What we do know is most women regret their abortions:

A British pro-life group placed advertisements in six women’s magazines there to gather the experiences of women who had abortions and find out their reaction to their decision years down the road. More than 82 percent of the women who responded indicated they deeply regretted their abortion decisions.