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Rita Moreno recalls botched abortion before Roe, says she's 'frightened' by reversal

“I can’t believe that some of those people are telling us what to do with our bodies," the Oscar-winning actress said.
Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno speaks onstage at the Puerto Rican Day Parade Celebration during the 2021 Tribeca Festival in New York on June 13, 2021.John Lamparski / Getty Images for Tribeca Festival file

Oscar-winning actress Rita Moreno said she is "frightened" after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, recalling how she underwent a scary botched abortion before it became legal in 1973.

Moreno, 90, told Variety that she found out she was pregnant while dating actor Marlon Brando. She said Brando arranged for her to see a doctor he found "through some friends."

"He was a real doctor — Marlon paid him $500 — as opposed to something in a back alley," she said.

After returning home, Moreno said she started bleeding and had to go to the hospital. She found out that the doctor did not correctly perform the abortion.

"I had what they told me was a ‘disturbed pregnancy,'" Moreno told Variety. "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."

The "West Side Story" actress said with SCOTUS reversing federal abortion rights could lead to women "going back to back alleys."

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

She added: "I think about the young girls. Taking it to the most extreme, girls who get pregnant because of rape or incest. Unfair isn’t a strong enough word, but it’s unfair."

The court on Friday ruled to overturn Roe, sparking protests across the country. About half the states have already indicated they would move to ban abortions.

Moreno recalled how she was "jubilant" when Roe first passed, and is "depressed" following Friday's ruling. She told Variety that she now plans to get together with some of her fellow "loud mouths" 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," she said.