Roe v Wade: Rita Moreno recalls being sent to botched abortion by Marlon Brando

Rita Moreno has recalled the moment Marlon Brando sent her to have an abortion when she became pregnant while the two were dating.

Some readers may find details in this article upsetting

The 90-year-old West Side Story actor was in a tumultuous eight-year relationship with the late Godfather actor after meeting in 1954 on the set of the Napoleon biopic Désirée.

Speaking in Variety on Friday (24 June) – shortly after the US Supreme Court overturned the 1973 landmark Roe v Wade decision – Moreno revealed details of her botched abortion.

“Marlon found a doctor through some friends,” she said.

“He was a real doctor – Marlon paid him $500 – as opposed to something in a back alley.”

After the procedure, Moreno remembers she was bleeding. Apparently, the doctor hadn’t performed a full abortion. “Marlon took me to the hospital. I had what they told me was a ‘disturbed pregnancy,’” she explained.

“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.”

Rita Moreno at the Academy Awards (Getty Images)
Rita Moreno at the Academy Awards (Getty Images)

The actor first disclosed her abortion in her 2011 book Rita Moreno: A Memoir and again in her 2021 documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for it.

“I can see that thing happening now and going back to back alleys,” Moreno said.

“I’m really nervous and frightened and horrified that this is taking place. I can’t believe that some of those people are telling us what to do with our bodies.”

“I’m not shocked because I saw it coming but I’m stunned,” she added of the Supreme Court ruling. “We loud mouths are going to have to get busy. There are many of us. I’m thinking what are we going to do about this? If anything, this has reactivated us.”

Moreno’s voice joins many other actors, authors, singers, politicians and celebrities who have expressed their distress at the Court’s decision to end the constitutional rights to abortion.