“I lost my grandmother because she died during an illegal botched abortion,” Turturro told Rolling Stone. “So that informs me on the whole history of abortion. And I was very interested in that [subject] because the death certificate says ‘manic depressive psychosis — contributory: exhaustion.’ It doesn’t say ‘botched abortion.’”
Turturro said his mother told him the real story behind the death of his grandmother, Rosa, while he explored his Sicilian heritage for the PBS series Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates. While pregnant with her seventh child in 1927, Rosa took an herbal tonic that was promised to “take care of” the pregnancy.
“My grandmother went into septic shock that evening, on fire from the poison burning inside,” Turturro said.
The actor, also known for his roles in O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Barton Fink, said he fears abortion restrictions will bring other families similar pain.
Turturro noted that his mother lost “her mother, her home, her family, her sense of safety and security, and most of her childhood” as a result of the botched abortion.
“The right to choose affects us all,” Turturro added. “A woman must have the right to plan her life as she sees fit. Abortion is a terribly difficult decision for anyone, but it is a personal one and needs to be protected. I wonder what my mother’s life would have been like if abortion had been legal and her mother had the support of a group such as Planned Parenthood. What would have happened had Rosa lived?”
Last month in a 6-3 decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, the Supreme Court overturned Roe and returned abortion rights policy to the states.