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Uma Thurman Wrote an Emotional Essay About Having an Abortion as a Teenager

Actor Uma Thurman wrote an essay about the abortion she had when she was a teenager, which she calls her “darkest secret until now.”

In The Washington Post op-ed, Thurman calls the Texas abortion law a “discriminatory tool against those who are economically disadvantaged” as well as “a staging ground for a human rights crisis for American women.” Thurman shared her own story “in the hope of drawing the flames of controversy away from the vulnerable women on whom this law will have an immediate effect.” 

The Texas law, which went into effect September 1, bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. “Many people do not realize they are pregnant until after six weeks,” according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Approximately 85%–90% of people who obtain abortions in Texas are at least six weeks into pregnancy, meaning this law would prohibit nearly all abortions in the state.”

The law will also allow anyone to bring a civil lawsuit against any abortion provider or anyone who helps someone get an abortion. The Supreme Court declined to act on a request to block the law.

Thurman was accidentally impregnated in her late teens by an older man. After discussing the best way forward with her family, she decided to terminate the pregnancy because she did not have the means to raise a child on her own. Thurman describes the abortion itself as a painful procedure, but, she said, “I had internalized so much shame that I felt I deserved the pain.”

In 2018, Thurman spoke to the New York Times about a rape she experienced when she was 16 years old by a man 20 years her senior. 

In the darkness, Thurman sees some light. “I have no regrets for the path I have traveled. I applaud and support women who make a different choice,” she wrote in the Washington Post essay. “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. 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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