08.12.2021

Uma Thurman recounts her ‘heartbreaking’ abortion in an essay condemning Texas ban

It was her first time discussing this experience publicly, and Uma was clear that she viewed this article as her “responsibility” to speak up about what she had been through, as a means of “drawing the flames of controversy away from the vulnerable women on whom this law will have an immediate effect”.

Hollywood actress Uma Thurman has written an emotional, damning essay opposing the near-total abortion ban in Texas, which came into effect at the beginning of September.

As part of this powerful piece for the Washington Post, she detailed her own story of having a termination when she was “accidentally impregnated” as a teenager, and how it broke her heart.

After describing the decision making process she went through with her family as to whether she should go through with the pregnancy (“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.”), Uma writes frankly about the experience of having the abortion itself and her heartbreaking decision to not vocalise her pain while it was happening: “I had internalised so much shame that I felt I deserved the pain.”

She talks through the complexities of this decision to terminate a pregnancy, the pain that came with it but also the space it gave her to grow into the adult she was meant to be.

“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.”

She also points out the wider issues at the forefront of US government decision making, calling the Supreme Court “a staging ground for a human rights crisis for American women” and going on to express her sadness at the polarising effect this has had. “I am grief-stricken, as well, that the law pits citizen against citizen, creating new vigilantes who will prey on these disadvantaged women”.

Above all, Uma’s essay feels like a call to arms, asking all who see the injustice that comes with the latest change in Texas abortion legislation to unite. “To all of you who are made vulnerable and subjected to shame because you have a uterus – I say: I see you,” she wrote. “Have courage. You are beautiful.”

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