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Democrat Cori Bush reveals she had an abortion after being raped as a teenager: ‘I am not ashamed’

Congresswoman details assault in Vanity Fair interview

Wednesday 29 September 2021 21:33 BST
Rep Cori Bush, a freshman Democrat from Missouri
Rep Cori Bush, a freshman Democrat from Missouri (Getty Images)

Rep Cori Bush, a freshman Democratic lawmaker who has made a name for herself fighting to extend a federal ban on evictions in Congress, revealed on Wednesday that she had an abortion following a rape that occurred when she was a teenager.

Ms Bush detailed the attack in an interview published in Vanity Fair on Wednesday, and pledged to talk in more detail about her experience at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Thursday.

“Tomorrow, I will share a story that I’ve never fully told publicly before. I am testifying at the Oversight Committee hearing on abortion care and I will share that when I was 17, I was raped, became pregnant, and got an abortion. And I am not ashamed,” she wrote on Twitter.

In her interview with Vanity Fair, Ms Bush explains that the rape occurred when she was 17, and attending a church camp in Jackson, Miss. After she shared to a mutual friend that she was romantically interested in an older counselor, who she said was in his early 20s, the young man asked to come over to Ms Bush’s room to socialise.

According to the congresswoman, the two talked for a while before the man suddenly began taking her clothes off and got on top of her.

“I just remember I was laying there and I just didn’t know what was happening … I couldn’t make it make sense,” she told Vanity Fair, adding of the encounter: “all of a sudden we went from talking to, he was on top. He was like taking my clothes off ... He’s having sex, penetrating me”.

On Thursday, the Oversight panel is set to have a discussion regarding “the urgent need to expand abortion rights and access”. The hearing comes on the heels of the implementation of a ban on abortions after six weeks in the state of Texas, as well as a court challenge launched by Mississippi seeking to overturn Roe V Wade and end the Supreme Court-established right to an abortion nationwide.

Democrats have reacted to the recent events with alarm; progressives in particular are pushing the Biden administration to either expand the Supreme Court and weaken its conservative majority, or codify abortion rights into federal law; both prospects look highly unlikely given current political realities in Washington.

The recent decision by the conservative-dominated Supreme Court to allow Texas’s ban to go into effect has only emboldened progressives who argue that the Court should be expanded to prevent a rollback of women’s rights.

Ms Bush joined those calls as recently as April, tweeting “expand the Court”, after President Joe Biden announced the formation of a panel to explore potential reforms to the Court.

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