Politics

Speier makes heartfelt statement about abortion experience

Friday, February 18, 2011

Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier gave a heartfelt speech Thursday night about her own experience with abortion during a debate at the U.S. House of Representatives over funding for the women's health services group Planned Parenthood.

She described her experience in the 1990s of having to evacuate a 17-week pregnancy after the fetus slipped down from her uterus and could not survive.

"That procedure that you just talked about is a procedure that I endured. I lost a baby," she said to Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey.

Smith had just given a graphic description of the procedure used to evacuate second-trimester fetuses to argue against giving federal funding to Planned Parenthood, which performs abortions. The group is already prohibited from using federal funds for the procedures.

"For you to stand on this floor and suggest as you have that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought is preposterous," she said.

Speier released a statement today saying that a woman's health and abortion procedures should not be politicized.

"For some, describing a procedure like the one I endured is nothing more than talking points," she said. "But for millions of women like me it's much more - it's something that will always be part of us."

The Pence amendment, which Speier and Smith were debating, was passed in the House today by a significant margin. If signed into law, it would prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

"Planned Parenthood provides vital services to women, including family planning and cervical cancer screenings," Speier said. "These sorts of policies would turn back the clock on women's health and reproductive rights."

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