On Thursday, Sept. 30, Democratic lawmakers shared their personal abortion stories at a meeting of the House Reproductive Rights Oversight Committee.
The hearing assessed Texas law SB8, which prohibits abortions after six weeks and allows private citizens to sue anyone accused of having one or helping someone obtain the procedure.
The Supreme Court decided earlier this month not to block the law. He will hear arguments Dec. 1 that could challenge the Roe v. Wade, another vital moment that brought conversations about reproductive rights to the fore.
Representatives Cori Bush, Barbara Lee and Pramila Jayapal testified at the committee hearing and shared details of their experiences.
During her testimony, Lee described having to go through the terrifying process of traveling to a “back alley clinic” in Mexico with a family friend to receive the procedure, in the 1960s, before Roe v. Wade did not legalize abortion in the United States. only 16 at the time.
“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 beliefs to fight for people’s reproductive freedom,” Lee said.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California) talks about her teenage abortion in the mid-1960s.
“I grew up in El Paso, Texas, and went to a Catholic school. So, of course, growing up, sex education was non-existent… And because of that, I honestly didn’t know how you got pregnant.
— Felicia Sonmez (@feliciasonmez) September 30, 2021
Lee, who is now a mother of two sons and a grandmother of five, said that although she shared her story at the hearing, she doesn’t think these decisions are anyone’s business. , especially not that of politicians.
Lee hoped her story would help reduce the stigma surrounding reproductive care and highlight the real risks of the country reverting to the days before Roe v. Wade.
After going through intense postpartum depression and suicidal thoughts after a previous pregnancy, Jayapal said she also decided to terminate a pregnancy.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal: “After discussions with my partner, who was totally supportive of the choice I had made, I decided to have an abortion…for me, terminating my pregnancy was not an easy choice, hardest thing I’ve done in my life, but it was my choice.” pic.twitter.com/YYVogXGNe2
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 30, 2021
“For me, terminating my pregnancy was not an easy choice — the hardest I’ve made in my life. But that was my choice, and that’s what should be preserved for every pregnant person,” Jayapal said.
Bush, who also told his story in a vanity lounge interview and at a rally earlier this month, discussed her choice to have the procedure following a sexual assault that occurred when she was underage.
Shortly after graduating from high school in the summer of 1994, 17-year-old Bush went on a religious trip to Jackson, Mississippi. During the trip, she met a 20-year-old man through mutual friends.
The two flirted and he asked to visit her room. She invited him in, expecting them to just talk and laugh. But instead, she was sexually assaulted, leaving her confused, embarrassed and blaming herself.
A few months later, when Bush noticed her period never came, she tried to reach out to the man, but she never heard from him. She later found out she was nine weeks pregnant and started to panic.
“Choosing to have an abortion was the hardest decision I have ever made, but at 18 I knew it was the right decision for me,” adding that it was liberating to know that she had options.
Bush took a moment to acknowledge her fellow black girls and women who have gone through something similar and who face discrimination in health care.
To all black women and girls who have had or are going to have abortions – know this: we have nothing to be ashamed of. We live in a society that has failed to legislate love and justice for us.
But we deserve better.
We demand better.
We deserve better. pic.twitter.com/lZkpucCQ9v
— Congressman Cori Bush (@RepCori) September 30, 2021
“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,” she said.