At a recent Women in the World summit held in New York City, actress Ashley Judd spoke out about her own abortion and why she'll always be a staunch advocate for women's abortion rights.
Judd spoke to the gathered crowd about how, if she had not had access to legal abortion, she would have had to co-raise a child with her rapist:
"As everyone knows, and I'm very open about it, I'm a three-time rape survivor. And one of the times I was raped, 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."
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Having been there herself, Judd vowed to stand up for women in similar situations:
"So having safe access to abortion was personally important to me and, as I said earlier, democracy starts with our skin. We're not supposed to regulate what we choose to do with our insides."
According to the National Conference of State Legislature, if Judd's rape had ultimately led to a criminal conviction, the rapist would lose his visitation and custody rights, but Judd didn't clarify whether or not that was the case.
@Jezebel Your cool in my book ashley— ReAlmSoFLuNaCy (@ReAlmSoFLuNaCy)1555060456.0
.@AshleyJudd brilliant on stage talking about how she chose abortion after being raped—and if she hadn’t, her rapis… https://t.co/OvzHODu6Hm— Cindi Leive (@Cindi Leive)1554991358.0
With many conservative state legislatures passing bills to make access to abortion more and more difficult for women (and even, in many cases, criminal), Judd has used her voice to speak out for women's rights, adding her name to a letter of opposition to Georgia's Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act.
The letter was also signed by Debra Messing, Mandy Moore, Amy Schumer, Ben Stiller and Don Cheadle.
Thank you to @sethgreen, @DavidArquette @AshleyJudd @michaelaWat @kellyoxford @pamelarackguest and @jamesocromwell… https://t.co/0xn3LTYjIu— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa Milano)1553819701.0
Panel moderator Katie Couric brought up the bill, asking the panelists:
"It's starting to feel a little like The Handmaid's Tale, isn't it?"
Judd has spoken up for women many times in the past, going on record by name as the first woman to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault harassment, and later suing him for intentionally harming her career in Hollywood as retaliation for denying his sexual advances.
@NPR My love and support goes out to @AshleyJudd.— George Jobson (@George Jobson)1547149364.0
.@AshleyJudd got honest in protest of the abortion ban. https://t.co/EDipZGj9bH— SheKnows (@SheKnows)1555021776.0
When asked about the status of her suit, Judd gave an update:
"Everybody's been talking about whether the sexual harassment piece has been dismissed, but it's actually going to be heard by the ninth circuit court of appeals.
And what that language is about is whether or not as a producer it was criminal for him to sexually harass me. It's not disputed whether or not he did, even he admits to that."
Twitter showered Judd with accolades for her strength and courage:
@people Well said, Ashley! No one should have the right to make that decision for you!— Marie (@Marie)1555017084.0
@people Everyone loves to have an opinion on a subject they know nothing about. Until you get impregnated by a rapi… https://t.co/iuYFhJoMhQ— Kecru4 (@Kecru4)1555014665.0
@kecru4 @people @AshleyJudd The fact that people so easily say "no she should have risked her life to carry to term… https://t.co/2Lp1aq1CeH— double stuffed (@double stuffed)1555022742.0
@ETCanada @AshleyJudd WOW 3X!!! I applaud you for remaining strong. Not giving up on life. Karma. They will get the… https://t.co/FUtnuDkAYj— BDD8 (@BDD8)1555029823.0
Well done, Ashley Judd, you're inspiring people everywhere to stand up for their rights and make a better world!