Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) spoke Thursday about their own abortions at a House Oversight Committee hearing on the right to abortion.
Why is this important: Congress is assessing the state of abortion rights in the United States after a Texas law took effect earlier this month that bans abortions as young as six weeks, which the Supreme Court allowed to remain in place.
What they say : Bush said she became pregnant when she was 17 after being raped by a man who was “maybe 20” at a church youth convention in Mississippi.
- She missed her period a few weeks later, aged 18, and found out at a clinic that she was nine weeks pregnant: “Choosing to have an abortion was the hardest decision I’ve ever had. never made. But at 18, I knew it was the right decision for me. It was liberating, knowing I had options.”
- “So to all black women and girls who have had and will have abortions, we have nothing to be ashamed of… We deserve, we demand better, we deserve better.”
Jayapal decided to terminate her pregnancy when she was already a mother. The MP talked about her first child, Janak, who had suffered serious health problems since birth in India.
- Her first marriage didn’t work out and after finding her current partner, she decided she wasn’t ready to have another child. Despite birth control, she became pregnant.
- With the support of her partner, she chose to abort, calling the decision ‘the hardest I’ve ever made in my life, but it was my choice, and that’s what must be preserved for every person. pregnant”.
Lee said she was 16 when she got pregnant, and at the time was unsure what was going on since sex education was not offered at her Catholic school. She had “a clandestine abortion in Mexico”.
- After I missed her period, “I didn’t know what to do. Now, at that time, mind you, it’s the mid-1960s, women and girls were told that if you didn’t get your period, you had to take quinine pills, sit in a water bath, or use a clothes hanger if nothing else has worked.”
- Lee said she was “one of the luckiest” to have survived: “A lot of girls and women of my generation didn’t survive, they died from unsafe abortions. … My personal experience shaped my belief in fighting for people’s reproductive freedom.”
The other side: Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) shared the story of her mother, who suffered a stroke while pregnant with her first baby. When she became pregnant with Cammack, her doctor recommended she have an abortion, citing health issues, but she decided against it.
- “Every woman’s story is different, and these decisions aren’t easy. But I’m grateful every day that there are resources available for my mom. Because in that moment, she chose life. and those resources were available to her as a single mom,” Cammack said.
Do not forget : In December, the Supreme Court is due to consider a case about a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks, which could potentially overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that ruled a woman had a constitutional right to an abortion.