WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), House Oversight Committee Member and Chair of the Pro Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Taskforce, participated in a House Oversight Committee hearing to examine the threat posed by abortion bans and other extreme anti-choice policies being pursued by Texas and other states.
In her opening statement, Rep. Pressley underscored the urgency of the Senate passing the Women’s Health Protection Act, which she co-led with Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), and thanked her colleagues Reps. Cori Bush (MO-01), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Barbara Lee (CA-13) for sharing their abortion stories before the committee. Rep. Pressley also questioned witnesses about the racial and economic impact of abortion bans, the need to repeal the Hyde Amendment, and the spillover effects that abortion bans like the one in Texas pose on broader abortion access.
A full transcript of Rep. Pressley’s opening remarks at the Oversight Committee hearing is available below, and a full video is available here. To watch her question line with hearing witnesses, click here.
Transcript: Rep. Pressley Remarks at Oversight Committee Hearing on Abortion Rights and Access
House Committee on Oversight and Reform
September 30, 2021
Thank you, Madam Chairwoman, for convening this critically important hearing today.
Let me make it plain. Abortion care is a constitutional right. And this Pro-Choice Democratic majority House, Senate, and White House can and must do everything possible to protect and guarantee and it as such.
We find ourselves in the midst of an unprecedented wave of coordinated attacks on our reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy, and Texas’s horrendous and extreme SB8 abortion ban underscores the urgency of this moment.
The year 2021 has been the most devastating for abortion rights in American history. In the midst of an ongoing global pandemic that robbed us of more than 690,000 lives and disproportionately impacted our most vulnerable and Black and brown communities, anti- abortion legislators in 47 states focused on legislating hurt and harm to push this critical health care out of reach.
These misguided bans will not actually prevent all abortions. They simply put safe, and necessary abortion care out of reach for our most vulnerable. Specifically, our lowest income sisters, our queer, trans and non-binary siblings, Black Latinx, AAPI, immigrants, disabled and Indigenous folks. And none of this is happenstance.
It is precise. Like the roots of the anti-abortion movement, these bans are rooted in patriarchy and white supremacy. They perpetuate cycles of poverty and economic inequality and exacerbate many of our starkest health disparities. Enough.
SCOTUS had the chance to call SB8 for what it is: a blatant violation of the constitutional rights of nearly 7 million Texans of reproductive age. But from voting rights, to housing, to reproductive rights, it is clear: the Supreme Court is no longer on the side of justice, nor is it on the side of the people.
It is critical that Congress legislate and combat these attacks once and for all. I was proud to see the house take swift action to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act last week, legislation that I co-led alongside my friend and colleague, Representative Chu, that will finally codify the right to abortion care.
We must legislate as if the lives and livelihoods of our most vulnerable constituents depend on it, because they do.
The Senate and the White House must act swiftly to pass this bill and sign it into law. It has been 30 days since the Texas law went into effect and each day that goes by without Congressional action, more and more people are denied their constitutional right to critical abortion care.
So Madam Chair, thank you for making this hearing a top priority. I would like to thank my sisters in service who are joining us here today.
Thank you for sharing your stories. Thank you for your vulnerability. Thank you for being unapologetic in your storytelling and standing in your truth. By doing so you create the space for others to do the same. And help us do the work of dispelling the shame and stigma that has clouded abortion for far too long.
And while I greatly appreciate your bravery, I also look forward to a day where people no longer have to relive their trauma in order to advance justice.
Thank you to the activists, experts and providers joining us today. Thank you to our staffs. For speaking truth to power and ensuring that Congress remains steadfast in our efforts to affirm reproductive rights and justice for all. I’m proud to be your partner in this fight.
Thank you. I yield.