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In a moving and powerful statement at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Threats to Reproductive Rights in America,” actress and talk show host Busy Philipps reiterated her stance on abortion and reminded Congress that it must be a woman’s choice alone.
“I am many things. I am a mother of two wonderful girls,” she said in her speech addressing reproductive rights at the Capitol on Tuesday morning. “I am a wife. I am a daughter…I am also the one in four women in this country who have had an abortion.”
She said she was compelled to share her story after Georgia passed one of the most restrictive anti-abortion bills last month.
In her speech on Tuesday, Philipps recalled her decision to abort a pregnancy when she was 15 years old in Arizona.
“It was not a decision that I made lightly but I have never for one moment doubted that it was the right decision for me,” she said, detailing the vast differences between what she had to do then versus what she would have to do now for the procedure, one of which would be to justify her reasoning to the state about why she would want the abortion under the new legislation.
“Here is mine. It is my body, not the state’s,” she said. “Women and their doctors are the ones that are in the best position to make informed decisions about what is best for them—no one else.”
The testimony came just a few weeks after Philipps shared her experience on her network show Busy Tonight.
Philipps’ hashtag #YouKnowMe went viral last month after she called on people to share their experiences of abortion to show how many of us know people who have gone through a procedure. It was an effort to undo the shame women are put to for making choices about their bodies, a point Philipps repeated during her Tuesday speech.
“I’ve had many medical procedures, but no one has ever called me “brave” for talking about them. Abortion is healthcare and should not be treated as different from any other form of healthcare,” she said later in her speech.
“The ‘why’ doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter,” she said. “Choices that a human being makes about their own bodies should not be legislated by strangers who can’t possibly know or understand each individual circumstances or beliefs.”
Her speech was once again instantly popular on social media:
Thank you @BusyPhilipps for telling your story and standing with all women of all types to fight to keep control over our own bodies.— jon moxley is everywhere (@waitng4thtdance) June 4, 2019
We shouldn't have to fight for our rights, but since we have to, we all need to stand together for what is right.
Love her. I am saddened that she has to state the fact that she's a wife and mother to get forced birthers to recognize her humanity and right to not be forced through a pregnancy.— Claudia Barrett (@shrillandchill) June 4, 2019
Unbelievably inspiring 😢!!! Perhaps we can make those hypocritical @GOP douchebags undergo the same process of shaming and demeaning treatment when they want a vasectomy or some viagra - to include giving Congressional testimony. 🖕 @LouieGohmertTX1— Captain Crunch (@Captain07990940) June 4, 2019
“These bans will not stop abortion from happening but they will drive women and girls and people into the shadows, which is what this has always been about: shaming and controlling women’s bodies,” she said.
“Why is it brave to speak to an experience that millions of people around the world throughout history have gone through?” she asked, in reference to many who called her “brave” for sharing her experience.
She later engaged in an argument with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who is anti-abortion, when he asked, “Would you agree that somebody who has survived an abortion has a right when she’s born to life, to control over her body where someone else doesn’t take her life?”
“Although I played a doctor on television, sir, I am actually not a physician,” she responded according to the Daily Beast.
“But you’ve given very compelling testimony and you’ve obviously given these issues a lot of thought,” Gohmert responded.
“Yeah, I think that it’s something that’s very important,” she said. “I don’t believe that a politician’s place is to decide what’s best for a woman. It’s a choice between a woman and her doctor.”
“What about a baby and their doctor?” he asked.
“I’m not speaking about birth, sir, I’m speaking about abortion,” Philipps reiterated.
Other law and medical professionals also testified against the abortion restrictions on Tuesday, HuffPost reported.
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H/T the Daily Beast
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque