Uma Thurman: ‘The Texas abortion law is a human rights crisis for American women’

by on September 23, 2021 · 8 comments

in Women's Rights

Opinion by Uma Thurman / Washington Post / September 21, 2021

I have followed the course of Texas’s radical antiabortion law with great sadness, and something akin to horror. 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. You might not be interested in the opinions of an actress, but given this new outrage, I feel it is my responsibility to stand up in their shoes.

I started my acting career at 15, working in an environment where I was often the only kid in the room. 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. I wanted to keep the baby, but how?

I telephoned home. My mother was gravely ill in the hospital. My father went to her bedside to discuss my options. We had never spoken about sex before; this was the first time, and it was terrible for all of us. They asked me about the status of my relationship — it was not viable — and warned me how difficult it would be to raise a baby as a teen on my own. 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. We decided as a family that I couldn’t go through with the pregnancy, and agreed that termination was the right choice. My heart was broken nonetheless.

An older female friend in Germany offered to help me. In her doctor’s office in Cologne, I was given a local anesthetic and had an abortion. I lay awake on the table while the doctor, who was a kind man, explained every step of the process as it happened. It hurt terribly, but I didn’t complain. I had internalized so much shame that I felt I deserved the pain.
My fingers were tightly locked across my chest, and when the procedure was done the doctor looked down at me said, “You have beautiful hands — you remind me of my daughter.” That single gesture of humanity is seared in my mind as one of the most compassionate moments I have ever experienced. In his eyes, I was a person, I was a daughter, I was still a girl.

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. My life has been extraordinary, at times filled with heartbreak, challenge, loss and fear — just like so many women’s lives — but also marked, like theirs, by courage and compassion. 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. I applaud and support women who make a different choice. 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.

I have nothing to gain from this disclosure, and perhaps much to lose. In revealing the hole that this decision carved in me, I hope that some light will shine through, reaching women and girls who might feel a shame that they can’t protect themselves from and have no agency over. I can assure you that no one finds herself on that table on purpose.

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. This law is yet another discriminatory tool against those who are economically disadvantaged, and often, indeed, against their partners. Women and children of wealthy families retain all the choices in the world, and face little risk.

I am grief-stricken, as well, that the law pits citizen against citizen, creating new vigilantes who will prey on these disadvantaged women, denying them the choice not to have children they are not equipped to care for, or extinguishing their hopes for the future family they might choose.
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.

Uma Thurman is an actress and mother.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page September 23, 2021 at 4:00 pm

Wow, that was powerful.


sealintheSelkirks September 23, 2021 at 5:33 pm

Yes it was, Geoff.

All of this, the most abhorrent rightwing reactionary vicious ethically repugnant policies talked of in the last few decades by these cognitively-challenged right wing religious fundies, realist paranoia whispers that it will get so much worse as the Republicans continue to jury-rig voting in their minority party favor through state legislatures. They already own the unSupreme Court, a majority of governors, federal appeals court judges.

What could a Jew do when standing in front of a Nazi court in the 1930s/40s? Beg for mercy to someone you disgust and thinks of you as a cockroach? Now we have plenty of 18th Century thinkers for judges that sees these women as evil murderers. No mercy for them, either, I’m betting.

Wait until Texas executes the first woman sentenced to death for an abortion ‘murder’…and her doctor. And the father who allowed it. And the other family members who helped…and now the taxi driver who drove her there or maybe the bus driver, eh? Think it won’t happen, couldn’t happen in ‘america?’ This is not a snark.

This is where this is going, people, where extreme fanaticism always leads to. People are so frightened by the thought of suicide bombers but are these people any different? Both are just religious fundamentalist fanatics! People of ‘The Book’ as they call themselves.

Include the unSupreme Court ‘justices’ (and I use that term loosely) who of course will choose to not discuss it when the 1st case comes before them because, after all, this is what they have publicly supported for decades, the end of Roe vs Wade, and if it takes a little collateral damage to achieve their twisted dream since 1973, they’ll do it.

Didn’t the US torture of innocent Iraqis at the Abu Griab torture prison teach us anything about how little we’ve changed since the fanatic religious hung women for Witchcraft?

Notice that the right to your own body seems to go no farther than the anti-mask & vaccination crowd…who tend to support the taking away of body rights for other women. Hypocrisy is endemic and it doesn’t seem to be causing much cognitive dissonance as I had hoped. Heads are not exploding for some reason. Too bad.

The article below fits here.


The Texas Taliban Wing of the Republican Party
In total control of the state, Republicans have a free hand that they’ve used to enforce extremism.

originally from Chicago Sun-Times


Woman ADULT FEMALE September 24, 2021 at 9:09 pm

So glad she did not erase the word woman as the ACLU strangely does recently. It is women’s rights, not womb bearers or whatever the “woke” says to erase women.


Frank Gormlie September 25, 2021 at 7:28 am

If it’s a human rights crisis for women, it’s a human rights crisis for men.


Mandy Havlik September 25, 2021 at 9:44 am

Good morning Frank. I am curious about this comment you made. How is lack of access to abortion a human rights crisis for men? Please explain. Thank you.


Frank Gormlie September 25, 2021 at 11:19 am

Because men can no longer stand or sit by when women’s rights are abused. The lack of abortion facilities is an issue for men. It’s not just a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue.


Mandy Havlik September 25, 2021 at 11:22 am

Thank you Frank! I appreciate your support for women. You are absolutely correct! Have a great weekend.


sealintheSelkirks September 25, 2021 at 12:06 pm

Solidarity. What you do to this person you do to me. Just because men don’t carry that collection of cells and have a uterus doesn’t mean that empathy can’t exist.

My ex in 1984 had ribs broken in a karate tournament. Literally kicked in and the woman competitor was disqualified for it. Then she found out she was pregnant and the doc said she shouldn’t/couldn’t carry it because she needed to heal instead since as she swelled the broken bones wouldn’t set properly. A serious healthy & woman’s safety issue. WE chose to terminate but they wouldn’t let me sit with her during the procedure…. that still bothers me thinking about it.



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