The fight to to remove S.B. 8, a law that criminalizes abortions in the state of Texas after six weeks, continues on Capitol Hill. This week, Rep. Cori Bush added her name to the long list of public figures that has spoken out against the state law. While testifying before her colleagues in Washington, D.C., Bush shared a moving story about how she had an abortion at 18 years old.
According to a report from CNN, Rep. Cori Bush recalled a church trip to Jackson, Mississippi shortly after she graduated from high school. While on the trip, the congresswoman says she was invited to spend time with a 20-year-old "friend of a friend" who she had been flirting with. Bush accepted the offer under the impression that the two would spend time talking and joking. Tragically, that is not what took place.
"But the next thing I knew, he was on top of me, messing with my clothes, and not saying anything at all. 'What is happening?' I thought. I didn't know what to do. I was frozen in shock, just laying there as his weight pressed down upon me. When he was done, he got up, he pulled up his pants, and without a word -- he left. That was it. I was confused, I was embarrassed, I was ashamed," Bush said.
Bush was a victim of what had taken place, but she struggled to process what had happened and blamed herself.
"I was 18. I was broke, and I felt so alone. I blamed myself for what had happened to me," Bush explained.
Weeks later, she attempted to contact the "friend of a friend" because she had missed her period. Not long thereafter, she realized that she was pregnant. As a teenager without the financial stability or maturity needed to raise a child, Bush began to panic because she didn't she feel she was ready to raise a child.
"How could I make this pregnancy work? How could I, at 18 years old and barely scraping by, support a child on my own? And I would have been on my own," Bush continued.
Those around her also did not make the situation better. Bush mentioned that a friend said her baby would be "jacked up" because it would be malnourished. Meanwhile, others told her to have the child and then give it up for adoption.
"I was being talked to like trash and it worsened my shame," Bush continued.
Nine weeks into her pregnancy, Bush was left with an incredibly difficult decision. The Missouri lawmaker told her colleagues that "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 also noted that it was "freeing" to know that she had the option to get an abortion.
Under current Texas law, those in Bush's predicament would have had to leave the state to have an abortion.
"To all the Black women and girls who have had abortions or 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. So we deserve better. We demand better. We are worthy of better," Bush said.
"So that's why I'm here to tell my story."
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
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