In a new op-ed criticizing the restrictive Texas abortion ban, Uma Thurman revealed her own experience with abortion as a teenager. Although she felt shame over the decision at the time, Thurman also acknowledged that it was the right choice for her—and it’s one she now feels no regret over.
“I have followed the course of Texas’s radical anti-abortion law with great sadness, and something akin to horror,” Thurman wrote in The Washington Post. “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.”
Thurman related that she started her acting career young, at 15, and was “accidentally impregnated by an older man” in her late teens. After talking over her options with her family, they decided together that it would be best to terminate the pregnancy. “My heart was broken nonetheless,” she wrote.
Thurman underwent an abortion procedure in Germany, she revealed. Although she had “internalized so much shame” around her choice to end the pregnancy, she appreciated the kindness of the doctor who performed the procedure while explaining each step of the process—and still saw her as a human being deserving of compassion.
“There is so much pain in this story. It has been my darkest secret until now. I am 51 years old, and I am sharing it with you from the home where I have raised my three children, who are my pride and joy,” she wrote. “I conceived my beautiful, magical children with men whom I loved and trusted enough to dare to bring a child into this world. I have no regrets for the path I have traveled.”
Thurman also conveyed her understanding and support for people who might make a different decision. And it’s true that people may feel a wide range of emotions when considering an abortion, as well as during and after the termination of a pregnancy. But, above all, Thurman argues that taking the possibility of choice away from pregnant people in Texas “is a staging ground for a human rights crisis” that will disproportionately impact those who are already poor and vulnerable. And, as recent research shows, getting an abortion is not a threat to women’s mental health—but being denied one is.
“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,” Thurman wrote. “Choosing not to keep that early pregnancy allowed me to grow up and become the mother I wanted and needed to be.”
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