Ashley Judd Makes A Poignant Tribute To Her Late Mother Amid Roe V. Wade Uncertainty

Just days after making a comeback at the CMAs, country star Naomi Judd's life was cut short. Fans were devastated to hear the news of the 76-year-old's death on April 30 from her youngest daughter. Ashley Judd tweeted, "We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory."

In the aftermath of Naomi's sudden death, the fate of reproductive rights in the United States was thrust into the national spotlight. On May 2, a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion revealed that a majority of the justices favored reversing Roe v. Wade. Politico reported that the draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito would overturn the landmark decision, which protects a woman's right to choose to have an abortion. According to Politico, the court's conservative justices agree with Alito in overturning case, including Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas.

Despite grieving for her mother, Ashley has taken to the press to bring poignant attention to the issue of reproductive rights with a column in USA Today on Mother's Day.

Ashley Judd said Naomi Judd's lack of choices led to lifelong struggles

Just one week after the tragic death of Naomi Judd, Ashley Judd paid tribute to her mom in USA Today. Ashley wrote about how her mother's teenage pregnancy led Naomi down a road that included "poverty and gender-based violence." Ashley wrote that, while she was grieving Naomi, she also felt "incandescent rage" because her mother's death was ultimately caused "by the wounds she carried from a lifetime of injustices that started when she was a girl." The "Divergent" star wrote that her mother "experienced an unintended pregnancy at age 17," and urged readers to honor Naomi by making "motherhood safe and healthy for all women."

The Judd family matriarch was open about her struggle with severe depression and childhood sexual abuse. Naomi was an ambassador for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), writing a book about her mental health struggles in 2016. Naomi also took to Instagram to encourage others to speak out. "Only by telling the truth will we stop the stigma," she wrote. "I've told my story. And now you can tell yours. You are not alone."

In a 2020 interview on Candy O'Terry's "Country Music Success Stories" podcast, the country star shared that she got pregnant with eldest daughter Wynonna the first time she had sex. Naomi said when she called the father to say she was pregnant, she never heard from him again, via the New York Post. Ashley subsequently emphasized the need for reproductive choice and how even her successful mother struggled with this lack of freedom as a young woman.