Congressional members share own abortion stories at hearing

Congressional members share own abortion stories at hearing


Three Democratic members of Congress on Thursday offered deeply personal testimony about their own abortions as a congressional committee examined how to respond to conservative states that are passing laws limiting abortion access.

Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri said she was raped on a church youth trip. Rep. Barbara Lee of California said she received a “back-alley” abortion in Mexico after a teenage pregnancy. And Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington said she opted for an abortion after being told her pregnancy would be high risk for her and the baby.

“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,” Bush told the House Committee on Oversight Reform.

The hearing comes weeks after a Texas law took effect that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy with no exception for rape or incest. Other conservative states are considering similar measures.

Meanwhile, a federal appeals court is weighing the fate of a Missouri law that bans abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy, also with no rape or incest exceptions. And, the U.S. Supreme Court in December will hear arguments over a Mississippi law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The hearing also looked at what the federal government can do to ensure abortion access. Options include ending the Hyde Amendment, which restricts government funding for most abortions, and passing a law guaranteeing a woman’s right to an abortion. The House passed that measure last week, but Republican opposition would almost certainly doom it in the Senate.

Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, a Democrat from New York, said the majority of Americans support abortion rights.

“But with a hostile Supreme Court, extremist state governments are...

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