Busy Philipps laid bare the details of her abortion at 15 years old during a congressional hearing on threats to reproductive rights in America on Tuesday.
The actress and talk show host was one of eight witnesses who testified in front of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, days after Louisiana became the eighth state to pass highly-restrictive legislation banning abortions after six weeks – taking direct aim at Roe v Wade.
‘I had my abortion when I was 15 years old, in my home state of Arizona in 1994,’ she told the group of six
‘It was not a decision I made lightly. But I have never for a moment doubted that it was the right decision for me. But so much has changed – in Arizona and other states – since then.’
Busy Philipps opened up about the abortion she underwent at age 15 while testifying at a congressional hearing on threats to reproductive rights in America on Tuesday (above)
Phillips continued: ‘If I were that 15 year old girl in Arizona today, legally I would have to get parental consent.
‘I would be forced to undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound, to go to a state-mandated in-person counseling, designed solely to shame me into changing my mind, then take a state-mandated 24-hour time out to make sure I really knew what I wanted.
‘And finally, I would be forced to give the state a reason WHY. Well, here is mine: my body belongs to me, not the state. Women and their doctors are in the best position to make informed decisions about what is best for them. No one else.’
Philipps first revealed that she’d had an abortion on her E! show ‘Busy Tonight’ last month after Georgia’s ‘heartbeat bill’ was signed into law.
‘The statistic is that 1 in 4 women will have an abortion before age 45,’ she said, as tears filled her eyes. ‘That statistic sometimes surprises people. And maybe you’re sitting there thinking: “I don’t know a woman who would have an abortion.” Well, you know me.’
When Alabama passed an even more restrictive bill the following week – the most restrictive in the nation – Philipps took to Twitter and asked other women to share their stories as well.
‘If you are also the 1 in 4, let’s share it and start to end the shame,’ she wrote. ‘Use #youknowme and share your truth.’
The tweet quickly blew up, sparking a viral social media campaign as thousands of women answered Philipps call with deeply personal stories.
Philipps revealed her own abortion at 15 and defended the rights of ‘women and their doctors’ on her late night talk show on May 7 after Georgia’s ‘heartbeat bill’ was signed into law
The actress sparked a massive social media campaign when she called on women to share their own abortion stories under the hashtag #youknowme last month
The actress received widespread public praise for her candor and openness on the air. In front of Congress on Tuesday, she explained why the attention made her uncomfortable.
‘In the week after I shared my story on my show, women were coming up to me on the street, in the supermarket and at the gym with tears in their eyes, thanking me for my bravery,’ she said.
‘But the word bravery didn’t sit right with me. Why is it brave to speak to an experience millions of people in the world throughout history have gone through?
‘And then I realized. It is considered brave because as women we have been taught to feel shame about our bodies from birth.
‘In my life I have had many medical procedures. But no one has ever called me “brave” for talking about them. Abortion is health care, and should not be treated as different from any other health care.’
‘I am so sad that we have to sit here in front of a row of politicians and give deeply personal statements because the “why” shouldn’t matter. I am a human being who deserves autonomy in this country that calls itself free.’
At Tuesday’s hearing Philipps discussed how her experience seeking out an abortion would be very different today given the influx of legislation restricting the procedures in many states
The actress faced off with Texas Republican Rep Louie Gohmert (right), telling him: 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’
Philipps remained calm and steady throughout the hearing, even when confronted by Texas Republican Rep Louie Gohmert, a staunch opponent of abortion.
Gohmert began his allotted time for questioning by addressing Melissa Ohden, who founded The Abortion Survivors Network after living through a failed procedure in 1977.
He then turned to Philipps, asking: ‘Would you agree that somebody who has survived an abortion, like Melissa Ohden, has a right once she’s born to life, to control over her body where someone else doesn’t take her life?’
Philipps replied: ‘Although I played a doctor on television, sir, I am actually not a physician.’
When pressed to extend her answer, she said: ‘I think that it’s something that is very important. 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.’
Gohmert countered: ‘What about a baby and the doctor? That’s my question.’
‘I just wondered how far your feeling about that went. Because once she’s born, would you agree that she is a person in being?’
Philipps said: ‘I’m not speaking about birth, sir. I’m speaking about abortion.’