Uma Thurman opens up about her teenage abortion to support women through the Texas ban

'Choosing not to keep that early pregnancy allowed me to grow up and become the mother I wanted and needed to be.'
September 22, 2021 3:48 p.m. EST
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Uma Thurman is opening up about a deeply personal experience in the hope that it will draw attention and support for women in Texas. People who can get pregnant have effectively been denied access to abortion care thanks to a new law that bans abortion-inducing drugs after seven weeks of pregnancy and medical abortions as early as six weeks after fertilization.

"I started my acting career at 15, working in an environment where I was often the only kid in the room," wrote Thurman in an op-ed for the Washington Post (via People). "In my late teens, I was accidentally impregnated by a much older man. I was living out of a suitcase in Europe, far from my family, and about to start a job. I struggled to figure out what to do."

With the support of her parents, Thurman decided to terminate the pregnancy. "My heart was broken nonetheless," she wrote. The actor describes the experience as being a physically and emotionally painful one. "It hurt terribly, but I didn't complain. I had internalized so much shame that I felt I deserved the pain," she admitted.

Thurman, who has three children (two with Ethan Hawke and one with French financier Arpad Busson) said that her choice, however, allowed her to become the mother that she is today.

"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. "Choosing not to keep that early pregnancy allowed me to grow up and become the mother I wanted and needed to be."

In addition to denying access to care, the Texas law also sets up a framework allowing ordinary citizens to pursue legal action against anyone seen assisting a woman who is seeking an abortion — this could range from medical doctors to taxi drivers. Uber and Lyft have already pledged to pay legal fees for any of their drivers who come up against this new legislation. One San Antonio doctor has already come forward in the media to say he has performed an illegal abortion, writing that he “acted because I had a duty of care to this patient, as I do for all patients, and because she has a fundamental right to receive this care.”

Thurman ended her piece with a message to the women of Texas and the US in general who, she says, have been unconstitutionally denied their rights.

“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. "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."

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