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Uma Thurman tells of personal teenage abortion crisis as she rails against Texas ban

Actor Uma Thurman has hit out against Texas’ abortion laws in a new op-ed column forThe Washington Post.

The Texas law was passed by the state legislature in May and bans abortions when fetal cardiac activity is detected – long before many women are even aware that they’re pregnant. The legislation is one of the most stringent abortion laws in the US.

Thurman said that she has followed the implementation of the law “with great sadness and something akin to horror” before sharing her own experiences “in the hope of drawing the flames of controversy away from the vulnerable women on whom this law will have an immediate effect.”

In the column, Thurman went on to explain that as a teenager, she was impregnated by “a much older man” while away from home and acting in Europe.

Thurman said: “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?”

Thurman goes on to explain how she sought advice and help from her family. “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,” Thurman said.

“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.”

Speaking about the Texas abortion ban, Thurman called it “a human rights crisis”.

She continued: “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.”

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In Texas, abortion providers are prohibited from performing an abortion if they can detect fetal heart tones, something the ban describes as “cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac”. The law allows no exceptions for rape or incest.

The law is now in effect but is being challenged in court.

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