Only days after losing her mother, Naomi Judd, Ashley Judd is honouring her ahead of Mother’s Day.
Ashley used the moment to bring attention to the leaked Roe v. Wade documents in an op-ed for USA Today.
“This Sunday is abruptly, shockingly, my first Mother’s Day without my mama,” Ashley wrote. “It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I was supposed to visit her on Sunday, to give her a box of old-fashioned candy, our family tradition.”
Ashley continued to explain how motherhood happened to Naomi “without her consent.”
“Because my mother was stolen from me by the disease of mental illness, by the wounds she carried from a lifetime of injustices that started when she was a girl,” Ashley said. “She experienced an unintended pregnancy at age 17, and that led her down a road familiar to so many adolescent mothers, including poverty and gender-based violence.”
She continued, “Forgive me if my grief isn’t tidy. When I think about my mother, I am awash in the painful specifics. It’s a little easier, this Mother’s Day, to think about mothers in the collective, to wonder whether we value them.”
Ashley pointed out how over 800 women die a day in pregnancy and childbirth “from causes for which solutions are affordable and achievable.”
She questioned if society values mothers with the U.S. having “one of the highest maternal death rates in the developed world”, on top of deaths from “violence and despair.”
“ A study last year found that some of the top causes of death among pregnant women in the United States were homicide, suicide and overdose,” she said.
“Motherhood should always be a choice,” Ashley said.
“My mama was a legend. She was an artist and a storyteller, but she had to fight like hell to overcome the hand she was dealt, to earn her place in history. She shouldn’t have had to fight that hard to share her gifts with the world,” Ashley wrote.
She concluded, “This Mother’s Day, I choose to honour my mama for the person she was, a mother and so much more. And I ask you to honour your own mother, if you are lucky enough to have her. Honour her for more than her labour and sacrifice. Honour her for her talents and dreams. Honour her by demanding a world where motherhood, everywhere, is safe, healthy – and chosen.”