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Congresswomen Share Their Experiences With Abortion At Congressional Hearing

By: Kuhu Badgi — Political Editor

Democratic representatives Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Cori Bush of Missouri, and Barbara Lee of California spoke to a House Committee about their personal experiences with abortion last Thursday, September 30th with the purpose of condemning the recent measures to restrict abortion across the United States. 

Senate Bill 8 bans abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy and authorizes private citizens anywhere in the United States to sue anyone who assists a person in getting an abortion anywhere and creates a bounty system that can entitle plaintiffs to a $10,000 award. The three congresswomen detailed their experiences choosing to receive an abortion. Their testimonies emphasized the difficulties faced by women, particularly women of color when seeking out reproductive care. 

Chairwoman Carolyn Mahoney voiced her objection to Senate Bill 8 in Texas and the importance of abortion access. “If we do nothing, the consequences will not be limited to Texas. The Supreme Court allowed this dangerous law to go into effect, and already medical facilities in surrounding states are receiving numerous calls from Texans in urgent need for abortion care.”

During her testimony, Congresswoman Cori Bush shared her personal decision to have an abortion as a teenager after sexual assault. “Choosing to have an abortion was the hardest decision I had ever made, but at 18 years old I knew it was the right decision for me,” 

“It was freeing knowing I had options, even still it took long for me to feel like me again until most recently when I decided to give this speech. So to all the Black women and girls who have had abortions and will have abortions, we have nothing to be ashamed of,” she added.

Congresswoman Jayapal also chose to have an abortion after suffering from Postpartum depression as a result of her first pregnancy. 

“I consulted with my doctors who told me that any future pregnancy would likely be high risk to me and to the child. I very much wanted to have more children, but I simply could not go through that again. For me, terminating my pregnancy was not an easy choice. But it was my choice. And that is what must be preserved for every pregnant person.” 

Barbara Lee explained that many women were forced to have illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade in 1973 and detailed her own experiences having a “back-alley” abortion in Mexico. “I am sharing my story even though I truly believe it is personal and no one’s business. But I am compelled to speak out because of the real risks of the clocks being turned back to those days before Roe versus Wade. To the days when I was a teenager and I had a back-alley abortion in Mexico.”

“A lot of girls and women in my position didn’t make it. They died from unsafe abortions. In the 1960s, unsafe septic abortions were the primary killer. The primary killer of African-American women,” she added.

Lee says that placing restrictive bans on abortion would not eliminate them entirely, but rather place pregnant individuals in a position where dangerous procedures are necessary. 

Bush ended her testimony that abortion “should not be a partisan thing. It should be about humanity.”

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