Actress Busy Philipps gave an emotional testimony before Congress on Tuesday detailing her own decision to get an abortion as a teen and condemning the recent swarm of state restrictions on the procedure.
Speaking to the House Judiciary Committee during a hearing focused on the legislation, Philipps said she has no regrets about her decision to get an abortion at 15 in Arizona ― a choice she revealed on her E! network show “Busy Tonight” last month. Today, state laws there would make it much more difficult for her to access that health care, she lamented to the panel of lawmakers.
“If I were that same 15-year-old in Arizona today, legally I would have to get parental consent,” she said. “I would be forced to undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound, go to a state-mandated in-person counseling session designed solely to shame me into changing my mind and then take a state-mandated 24-hour time-out to make sure I really know what I wanted. And finally, I would be forced to give this state a reason why.”
The only “why” women should have to provide, Philipps continued, is that she has bodily autonomy.
“I am so sad that we have to sit here in front of a row of politicians and give deeply personal statements,” she continued. “Because the ‘why’ doesn’t matter. It should not matter. I am a human being that deserves autonomy in this country that calls itself free, and choices that a human being makes about their own bodies should not be legislated by strangers who can’t possibly know or understand each individual’s circumstances or beliefs.”
Tuesday’s hearing also included a number of law and medical professionals testifying against abortion restrictions and comes after Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi and Missouri all passed extreme measures limiting when the procedure can be performed.
She later sparred with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who pressed her about whether a baby who survived an abortion has a right to live. Children born under those extremely rare circumstances, reproductive rights and physicians’ groups say, already have laws in place to protect them, and invoking the scenario during abortion ban debates only acts as a distraction.
Philipps, who once played Dr. Hope Bobeck on the NBC hit “ER,” was armed with a quick comeback: “While I played a doctor on television, sir, I am actually not a physician.”