Uma Thurman Shares She Had an Abortion as a Teen In Light of Texas's New Law
Weeks after Texas passed a bill banning abortions after six weeks, proving that although the state can’t be messed with, it’ll certainly mess with you if you become pregnant, actress and certified badass Uma Thurman has spoken out on the issue, penning an OpEd for the Washington Post condemning the law and opening up about her “darkest secret” – that she had an abortion as a teen.
“I have followed the course of Texas’s radical antiabortion law with great sadness, and something akin to horror,” Thurman explained in her heartfelt essay. "Now, in the hope of drawing the flames of controversy away from the vulnerable women on whom this law will have an immediate effect, I am sharing my own experience. You might not be interested in the opinions of an actress, but given this new outrage, I feel it is my responsibility to stand up in their shoes," she continued.
While living out of a suitcase in Europe early in her acting career, Thurman shared that she was “accidentally impregnated by a much older man” and “struggled” with deciding which option was best for her. “I wanted to keep the baby, but how?” she recalled. As she grappled with her decision, the star says she called her parents for guidance, in what she says was the "the first time” she ever spoken to her parents about sex. As a family, they talked through the logistics of her choices, determining the best course of action.
“My mother was gravely ill in the hospital. My father went to her bedside to discuss my options," Thurman said of the call, which she described as being “terrible for all of us." “They asked me about the status of my relationship — it was not viable — and warned me how difficult it would be to raise a baby as a teen on my own. My childish fantasy of motherhood was soundly corrected as I weighed answers to their very precise questions. I was just starting out in my career and didn’t have the means to provide a stable home, even for myself. We decided as a family that I couldn’t go through with the pregnancy, and agreed that termination was the right choice," the star recalled, adding that her “heart was broken nonetheless.”
After coming to this conclusion – one Thurman describes as being “the hardest decision" of her life -- the star says she went through with the procedure at a doctor's office in Cologne, Germany, where she was administered a local aesthetic and listened as the doctor, “a kind man” broke down “every step of the process as it happened.”
“It hurt terribly, but I didn’t complain,” she recalled. “I had internalized so much shame that I felt I deserved the pain.” Yet after the procedure, Thurman says an offhanded comment seemingly helped her cope.
“My fingers were tightly locked across my chest, and when the procedure was done the doctor looked down at me said, ‘You have beautiful hands — you remind me of my daughter,’” she said. “That single gesture of humanity is seared in my mind as one of the most compassionate moments I have ever experienced. In his eyes, I was a person, I was a daughter, I was still a girl.”
Although the star is now a mother of three kids, which she says are “her pride and joy," the actress says she stands by her choice. "The abortion I had as a teenager was the hardest decision of my life, one that caused me anguish then and that saddens me even now, but it was the path to the life full of joy and love that I have experienced," she wrote.
Considering her personal experience with the issue, Thurman didn't mince words when discussing Texas's new measure. “The Texas abortion law was allowed to take effect without argument by the Supreme Court, which, due in no small part to its lack of ideological diversity, is a staging ground for a human rights crisis for American women,” she explained. “This law is yet another discriminatory tool against those who are economically disadvantaged, and often, indeed, against their partners. Women and children of wealthy families retain all the choices in the world, and face little risk.”
The star ended her moving essay with some words of wisdom to others facing a similar situation to the one she endured years ago. “To all of you — to women and girls of Texas, afraid of being traumatized and hounded by predatory bounty hunters; to all women outraged by having our bodies’ rights taken by the state; and to all of you who are made vulnerable and subjected to shame because you have a uterus — I say: I see you,” Thurman wrote. “Have courage. You are beautiful. You remind me of my daughters.”
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