At this year’s Women In The World summit, Ashley Judd shared why she’s protesting Georgia’s new abortion bill, and opened up about why the issue is so personal for her. Discussing her own experience with abortion, Judd emphasizes how grateful she is to have had access to proper care, and reveals that the alternative would have been “[co-parenting] with her rapist.”
Judd has been increasingly vocal on women’s rights in recent years, and notably played a huge role in exposing Harvey Weinstein’s decades of sexual assault and harassment in 2017. In the New York Times exposé that kicked off a flurry of over 60 other Weinstein victims and survivors coming forward, Judd shared her own experience with Weinstein, who propositioned her in a bathrobe at what she’d been told was a business meeting. Despite this experience, Judd has since shown compassion toward Weinstein: to the extent, anyway, that she believes “there is hope and help for everyone.”
As a “three-time rape survivor,” Judd has spoken before about the idea that “democracy starts with our skin,” and her belief that every woman has the right to choose what happens to her body. “One of the times that I was raped,” the actress shared, “there was conception. And I’m very thankful I was able to access safe and legal abortion. Because the rapist, who is a Kentuckian, as am I, and I reside in Tennessee, has paternity rights in Kentucky and Tennessee. I would’ve had to co-parent with my rapist.”
In a 2016 speech at the DNC, Judd clarified that parental rights may be terminated in such cases — but only if “the attacker is convicted of sexual assault.” “As we’ve seen lately,” Judd added at the time, “[this] is not always easy to achieve.”
The abortion bill Judd now opposes, the fetal heartbeat bill, would ban abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected, a milestone typically found six weeks into pregnancy. At six weeks, many women do not yet know that they’re pregnant. Actress Alyssa Milano shared a letter protesting this bill back in March, and stars including Ashley Judd, Amy Schumer and Mandy Moore have signed their names. Back in 2016, Judd said she couldn’t “imagine a world in which the law would have required her to make a different choice than she did,” regarding her own abortion. Now that the women in Georgia are facing that world, Judd is doing everything in her power to fight back.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).