The actress delivered the powerful statements at the Women in the World summit in New York in April, speaking of how thankful she is to have had access to safe and legal abortions at the time.
While Ashley Judd is mostly hailed for her prowess as an actress, not many know that the 51-year-old is also an avid political activist. Apart from being heavily involved in election campaigns for decades now, pledging her alliance to the Democratic party on a number of occasions, the star is also a passionate advocate for women and reproductive rights. The pro-choice celeb is quite outspoken about the need for affordable abortion access and during the Women in the World summit in New York in April, she shared her personal experience of getting an abortion.
According to a report by PEOPLE, Judd spoke on the subject while explaining why she was protesting the infamous Georgia "heartbeat" bill. Speaking to moderator Katie Couric, the actress said, "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."
"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," Judd added. This wasn't the first time the Someone Like You star opened up about her sexual assault. Prompted by a sea of Twitter trolls abusing and insulting her online for posting a negative tweet about a specific March Madness basketball play, Judd penned a powerful essay about violence against women in 2015 in which she first revealed her sexual assault story.
In the essay titled 'Forget Your Team: Your Online Violence Toward Girls and Women Is What Can Kiss My Ass,' Judd wrote, "The summer of 1984 was tough for me. I experienced two rapes by an adult and systematic molestation from another adult, who also had another man in the room watching." A few years later, the actress became one of the first to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, going on to sue him in April 2018 for allegedly torpedoing her career by spreading "false and malicious statements" about her "professionalism as an actor" after she rebuffed his sexual advances.
Speaking of the lawsuit at the summit, Judd said, "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." Weinstein, however, denied Judd's claims shortly after she filed the lawsuit, with a representative claiming that he'd only tried to help her.
"The most basic investigation of the facts will reveal that Mr. Weinstein neither defamed Ms. Judd nor ever interfered with Ms. Judd’s career, and instead not only championed her work but also repeatedly approved her casting for two of his movies over the next decade," said the representative in a statement. While she waits for the court's decision on the case, has continued her fight for women's and reproductive rights in the country, becoming one of the dozens of celebrities who signed Alyssa Milano's letter protesting the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, a bill that passed in the Georgia Senate.