Uma Thurman laid bare her 'deepest secret' in support of women's free choice
Uma Thurman is one of the many U.S. celebrities speaking out against the 'Heartbeat Law' in the state of Texas. This new law makes it very difficult to get an abortion and almost entirely prohibits it in Texas.
Thurman joined others protesting the law by revealing what she called "my darkest secret." She did so through an op-ed in The Washington Post.
Uma Thurman's article for the Post stated that the 'Texas abortion law is a human rights crisis for American women.' She clearly and emphatically argued against the new conservative law, as it limits the freedom for women to make decisions about the termination of pregnancies inside their own bodies.
The "darkest secret" of Uma Thurman was that she had an abortion when she was a teenager. The actress had gotten pregnant at a young age, and the circumstances of the moment led her to decide to have an abortion. It was a difficult episode in her life, which she now felt she had to share with the world.
In her early days as an actress, at "the end of my adolescence," as she describes it, Uma Thurman was working in Europe, far from her family. It was there that she became pregnant "by accident" with a man who was many years her senior.
Uma Thurman's world came crashing down on her. "I wanted to keep the baby, but how?" Hundreds of doubts in her head drove the adolescent to call her parents and discuss the situation with them.
They talked about her relationship with the father of the baby, how she was going to take care of it as a teenager, and after much discussion, they decided that a termination of the pregnancy was the least of all bad options.
Uma Thurman underwent the procedure in the German city of Cologne. "It hurt me terribly," she recalled, "but I did not complain. I had internalized so much shame that I felt I deserved the pain."
Thankfully, the actress had a great doctor. Their kindness during the treatment was "one of the greatest moments of compassion I have ever experienced," she wrote.
For Uma Thurman, it was "the most difficult decision of my life." Yet, she adds, it was also "the path to life full of joy and love that I have experienced. Choosing not to keep the early pregnancy allowed me to grow up and become the mother I wanted and should be."
Luckily for Uma Thurman, that trauma, although she has never been able to forget it, is now a thing of the past. Today, she is a proud and happy woman who has raised three children: Maya Ray (pictured) and Levon Roan Thurman-Hawke in her marriage with Ethan Hawke, and Luna Thurman-Busson together with Arpad Busson.
"I am 51 years old," she wrote, "and I am sharing it with you from the home where I have raised my three children, who are my pride and joy.”
Uma Thurman did not seek compassion, praise, or publicity with her statement: "I have nothing to gain and perhaps a lot to lose with this revelation."
Instead, the actress wanted to offer a little bit of strength to "women and girls who might feel a shame that they can't protect themselves from and have no agency over."
Her mentioning of 'agency' was a direct reference to the political decisions that the Texas state government had taken.
Uma Thurman emphasizes one of the new law's most striking points: it allows people to tip-off others who had an abortion and claim an indemnity - even if the pregnancy was caused by a violent assault.
Furthermore, citizens can accuse and sue anyone who helped a person in the process of an abortion. This may be interpreted so broadly that even an Uber driver who drove a woman to a clinic can now be sued by other Texas citizens.
"I am grief-stricken," Uma Thurman wrote, "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."
With her article, Uma Thurman wanted to emphasize that the issue of abortion is one of economic inequality.
"This law is yet another discriminatory tool against those who are economically disadvantaged, and often, indeed, against their partners," she said.
Poor people are often unable to afford contraceptives, nor do they have the money to travel to another state and get an abortion there. "Women and children of wealthy families retain all the choices in the world, and face little risk."
Offering the women and girls of Texas "some light," Thurman wrote:
"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."
The new law passed in Texas aims to curb abortion after decades of liberal policies. It's been criticized by President Biden himself and even by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
The law prohibits termination of pregnancy beyond six weeks - a moment in which a fetal heartbeat can be detected but in which many women won't even realize they are pregnant. In addition, the law makes no exception for pregnancies coming out of abuse.
Apart from the president and medical experts, a large movement of women around the world has protested this law. On October 2, there's a big 'Women's March' in all 50 states of the U.S. On that day, one month after the passing of the law, demonstrations are held in support of reproductive rights.
Uma Thurman has always been a strong activist for women's reproductive rights. In the current protests, activists have dressed up as the actress in one of her iconic roles, that of 'The Bride' in 'Kill Bill'. We may see the actress herself actively participating in the October 2 march.
Uma Thurman is strongly aware of the struggles women face throughout their lives. Some time ago she revealed the abuses to which she was subjected by Harvey Weinstein, whom she met as a result of participating in the film 'Pulp Fiction' (1994). We can expect her to remain committed to the protection of women's rights and hear more from the actress about this and other political issues.