"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," Kerry Washington said of her abortion story, which she details in her new memoir, 'Thicker Than Water.'
In an interview with People Monday, the Scandal alum revealed she had an abortion. While she admitted that she struggled on whether to include the story in her book, Washington said she felt it was a "really important" one to share.
"I struggled a lot in the beginning with whether or not to include my abortion story," Washington told the magazine. "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."
The unplanned pregnancy, which Washington details in her memoir, happened early on in her career, not long after the success of Save the Last Dance in 2001 and her lead role in Spike Lee's 2003 dramedy She Hate Me.
After a romantic encounter in her 20s, the now 46-year-writes, per the outlet, that she made the decision to terminate the pregnancy.
Giving doctors a false name to protect her privacy as her career was taking off, Washington admitted that while speaking with the nurses and undergoing the procedure, she felt shame as well as a degree of hypocrisy, after spending years as a sexual health educator in her teens.
"This story had so much to do with my understanding of myself and the world as my career unfolded," she said before explaining why she waned to reduce the stigma surrounding the word "abortion."
"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," Washington shared.
It's something that the longtime actress said is especially important during a time where reproductive rights are being stripped from women in this country, with states like Texas and Alabama issuing a near-total-ban on the procedure.
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"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," she added.
Washington, who is now a mom to daughter Isabelle, 9, and son Caleb, 6, as well as a teenage stepdaughter, whom she shares with husband, Nnamdi Asomugha, said she didn't want not telling the story to make anyone think there's "shame to be had" when it comes to having an abortion.
"I'm telling my truth about my life, excavating some of my secrets," Washington explained. "I don't want my not telling it to make anybody think there is shame to be had about this choice."
Kerry Washington's Thicker Than Water: A Memoir is scheduled for release on September 26