Democratic lawmakers shared the personal stories behind their past abortion decisions at a meeting of the House Reproductive Rights Oversight Committee on Thursday.
Representatives Cori Bush of Missouri, Barbara Lee of California and Pramila Jayapal from Washington testified at the committee hearing and also shared details about their earlier abortions during an exclusive interview with MSNBC on Wednesday.
During her testimony, Lee described how, in the days leading up to the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion in the United States, she had to go to a “back alley clinic to Mexico with a family friend to receive the procedure, an experience that terrified her.
“I was one of the lucky ones, Madam Chair. Many girls and women of my generation have died from unsafe abortions… My personal experience has shaped my belief in fighting for people’s reproductive freedom,” Lee said during the hearing.
After experiencing severe postpartum depression after a previous pregnancy, Jayapal said she too decided to terminate her pregnancy.
“Whether the choice to have an abortion is easy or difficult, whether there are traumatic situations or not, none of that should be the problem. The choices we make as pregnant women about our own bodies are simply nobody’s business,” Jayapal said.
Bush, who also shared her experience in an interview with Vanity Fair and at a rally earlier this month, discussed her decision to have an abortion following a sexual assault when she was 17. .
“To all black women and girls who have had abortions and who will have abortions, we have nothing to be ashamed of. We live in a society that has failed to legislate love and justice for us,” said Bush during the work of the committee.
The hearing considered Texas law SB8, which prohibits abortions after six weeks and allows private citizens to sue anyone accused of aiding or abetting an illegal procedure.
The Supreme Court, which decided earlier this month not to block the Texas law, will also hear arguments Dec. 1 that could challenge the Roe v Wade decision, another critical moment that has brought to the fore conversations about reproductive rights.
The committee hearing examined Texas law and other potential barriers to abortion access.