The actress explained why she was protesting a bill that would ban abortion as soon as a heartbeat can be heard

By Rachel DeSantis
April 11, 2019 02:06 PM

Ashley Judd will continue to be an outspoken advocate for abortion because, she says, it’s what saved her from having to raise a child with her rapist.

The actress, 50, explained her reasoning for protesting a new Georgia bill that would ban abortion as soon as a heartbeat can be heard Thursday at the Women in the World summit in New York.

“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,” she told moderator Katie Couric. “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.”

Ashley Judd
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Added Judd, “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.”

It remains unclear if the alleged rape resulted in a conviction, which would have prevented the attacker from having custody or visitation rights in both Kentucky and Tennessee, according to the National Conference of State Legislature.

Judd in March added her name to a letter shared by Alyssa Milano that protested the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, which the Georgia Senate recently passed, according to the New York Times. The letter also received support from stars like Debra Messing, Mandy Moore, Amy Schumer, Ben Stiller and Don Cheadle.

“It’s starting to feel a little like The Handmaid’s Tale, isn’t it?” Couric asked as she brought up the bill.

Judd has spoken publicly about her abortion in the past, as well as her experiences with sexual assault and harassment.

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty

She was among the first to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, and in April 2018 sued him for allegedly torpedoing her career by spreading “false and malicious statements” regarding her “professionalism as an actor” after she rebuffed his sexual advances.

RELATED: Harvey Weinstein’s Lawyers Say He Had a ‘Bargain’ with Ashley Judd That Allowed Him to Touch Her

“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,” Judd said of the lawsuit at the summit. “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.”

Harvey Weinstein, Ashley Judd
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Shortly after she filed suit, Weinstein denied having blacklisted Judd from Hollywood, with a representative saying in a statement: “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.”