Ashley Judd speaks out against reversal of Roe v Wade in Mother’s Day tribute to late Naomi Judd

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Ashley Judd has reflected on her first Mother’s Day without her own mom, Naomi Judd, just one week after the country music star’s death on 30 April. While paying tribute to her mother, Judd spoke up on the important topics of motherhood, mental health, and a woman’s right to choose.

In an essay for USA Today published on 6 May, Judd questioned how society values mothers after a leaked draft opinion showed the Supreme Court’s intention to overturn Roe v Wade, a decision that enshrined the legal right to an abortion nationwide almost 50 years ago.

“This Sunday is abruptly, shockingly, my first Mother’s Day without my mama,” the Divergent actress began the essay. “It wasn’t supposed to be this way. We were supposed to have sweet delight in each others’ easy presence. Instead, I am unmoored. But my heart is not empty. It is replete with gratitude for what she left behind. Her nurture and tenderness, her music and memory.”

She explained that her heart is also filled with “incandescent rage” over the mental health issues her mother had “carried from a lifetime of injustices that started when she was a girl”.

In 2020, Naomi Judd revealed to Country Music Success Stories that she gave birth to her first daughter, Wynonna Judd, after she had been “date-raped” 1964, the summer before her senior year of high school.

“But motherhood happened to her without her consent,” Ashley Judd wrote. “She experienced an unintended pregnancy at age 17, and that led her down a road familiar to so many adolescent mothers, including poverty and gender-based violence.”

The Golden Globe nominee used her mother’s unintended pregnancy to create awareness for the issues faced by mothers around the world, including gender-based violence and childbirth mortality rates.

“Our country, the richest in the world, has one of the highest maternal death rates in the developed world – with Black and indigenous women two to three times more likely to die,” she said, citing a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“So often, motherhood happens because of violence, because of neglect, because schools and health systems fail to provide reproductive health information, because they fail to teach the right of individuals to make their own choices about sex and contraception,” Judd said.

Ashley Judd’s essay comes after a leaked opinion draft indicated that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority will uphold a Mississippi law criminalising abortion care at 15 weeks of pregnancy. Politico published the leaked draft opinion on 2 May, which appeared to be authored by Justice Samuel Alito.

The draft opinion stated that Justice Alito, along with Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, voted to overturn key rulings Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey after hearing oral arguments in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he wrote in the draft. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives”.

The impact of such a decision would outlaw abortion throughout the US and would allow states to create their own laws surrounding abortion.

Naomi Judd died at the age of 76 on Saturday, 30 April after a long battle with mental illness. The country music star was represented by her daughters Wynonna and Ashley at her induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame on 1 May, just one day after they announced her death. Judd was also married to her husband, Larry Strickland, since 1989.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting