I don’t want to be talking about abortion. To start, I grew up in a loving home where these things just weren’t discussed in polite or mixed company. But also, I’d rather be talking about the critical ways we need to move our country forward — reducing polarization, increasing equity, shoring up our global competitiveness in manufacturing and technological innovation, and maintaining our national security in the face of complex and dynamic threats.
But no. We must talk about abortion. I must talk about abortion.
Monday, January 22, marks the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade — when the Supreme Court issued the landmark decision that gave women the Constitutional right to make their own choices that were best for them and their families. As a result of that monumental decision, women in Pennsylvania and across America could manage their own health care, free from government interference for nearly five decades.
This all changed when Donald Trump brought his extreme agenda into the White House and set out to erode our judicial system, appointing 234 conservatives to the federal bench, including three to the Supreme Court. It was these nominations, alongside willing partners in a Republican-controlled U.S. Senate who confirmed these justices, that dismantled half a century of women’s reproductive rights by overturning Roe v. Wade.
This November, we must fight to protect the fundamental values Pennsylvanians hold dear — just like we did in 2020 and every year since.
This is a legacy that former President Trump is proud of. He has repeatedly, and proudly, boasted that he was responsible for “killing” Roe v. Wade and opening the doors for draconian abortion bans across the country. We’ve heard this cruelty from Trump for years; he’s even called for there to be punishment for women who get abortions. We should give credit where credit is due: Donald Trump is responsible for 1 in 3 women of reproductive age now living under an abortion ban in the United States. These laws hurt both women and doctors and have forced some women to flee their home states for care.
As a veteran, I also know these laws hurt our military readiness and by consequence our national security. Since Roe was overturned, approximately 40 percent of active-duty service women are now stationed in states where abortion reproductive care is restricted or severely restricted. Service women and men are now forced to navigate a patchwork of regulations to get care for themselves, their spouse, or their dependents.
Thanks to the leadership of PA Democrats, women in our state — so far — have largely been protected from these cruel attacks on reproductive rights that Donald Trump and his allies have lodged across the country. Pennsylvanians are fierce defenders of our freedoms, and while we are protected for now in PA, women in states across the country do not have the same autonomy. If Trump is re-elected, those very freedoms will be at an even greater risk, perhaps even at a national level.
Campaigning on a promise to ban abortion nationwide and restrict reproductive care in all 50 states, Trump is leading the charge to destroy women’s rights to make their own healthcare decisions. This is what’s at stake in 2024, and it cannot be understated.
The Biden-Harris ticket is the only ticket that will fight to protect abortion and women’s fundamental right to make their own healthcare decisions. Since taking office, President Biden and Vice President Harris have staunchly defended our rights in the face of relentless Republican attacks. President Biden has called on Congress to codify the protections of Roe into federal law, which would restore the rights women have relied on for nearly 50 years, and his administration is working tirelessly to protect access to reproductive health care and safeguard patient privacy.
This November, we must fight to protect the fundamental values Pennsylvanians hold dear — just like we did in 2020 and every year since. Pennsylvanians will stand up against Trump’s extreme and dangerous plans for our country by sending President Biden and Vice President Harris back to the White House so they can continue fighting for us and for our freedoms.
U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan was elected to Congress in 2018 alongside a historic number of women, flipping her district from red to blue. She is the first woman to represent Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District. Houlahan serves on President Biden’s 2024 national advisory board and lives in Chester County with her husband.
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