Texas legislators recently signed a draconian new law that criminalizes abortion after six weeks, a time when most women don’t even realize they’re pregnant.
Uma Thurman is responding to the law in an op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post, describing the legislation as “a human rights crisis for American women.”
In the op-ed, the “Pulp Fiction” star admits she followed the course of the “radical” law “with great sadness, and something akin to horror.”
She writes: “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 continues by revealing she became “accidentally impregnated by a much older man” while working as an actress in Europe during her late teens. Recalling that she “wanted to keep the baby,” her family circumstances were difficult at the time, with her mother “gravely ill in the hospital.”
“My father went to her bedside to discuss my options. We had never spoken about sex before; this was the first time, and it was 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,” she writes. “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. My heart was broken nonetheless.”
Admitting there is still “so much pain in this story,” Thurman describes her teenage abortion as “my darkest secret until now.”
Now that she’s a 51-year-old mother of three, she still looks back at the experience as being “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. Choosing not to keep that early pregnancy allowed me to grow up and become the mother I wanted and needed to be.”
Admitting she has “nothing to gain from this disclosure, and perhaps much to lose,” she writes that she decided to come forward because she sees the Texas law as “a staging ground for a human rights crisis for American women,” particular those who are disadvantaged.
“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,” she adds. “I am grief-stricken, as well, that the law pits citizen against citizen, creating new vigilantes who will prey on these disadvantaged women, denying them the choice not to have children they are not equipped to care for, or extinguishing their hopes for the future family they might choose.”
She concludes by writing, “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. Have courage. You are beautiful. You remind me of my daughters.”