Cori Bush reveals she had abortion after being raped as a teen

The Missouri congresswoman says "choosing to have an abortion was the hardest decision I had ever made."

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Rep. Cori Bush delivered emotional testimony about being sexually assaulted as a teenager and getting an abortion during a congressional hearing on abortion rights on Thursday. 

The House Oversight Committee hearing was called by the Democratic chair Carolyn Maloney to “examine the threat to abortion rights and access” in the wake of the controversial six-week abortion bill in Texas, CNN reports. 

Cori Bush
Cori Bush (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Prior to the hearing, Bush spoke about the experience in an interview with Vanity Fair. The Missouri Democrat recounted being assaulted at age 17 during an annual church trip to Jackson, Mississippi. That’s when she met a 20-year-old man who was a “friend of a friend.”

The two hit it off so well that when he asked to visit her room, she agreed, naively believing that they would simply chill and talk. 

“But the next thing I knew, he was on top of me, messing with my clothes, and not saying anything at all. ‘What is happening?’ I thought. I didn’t know what to do. I was frozen in shock, just laying there as his weight pressed down upon me. When he was done, he got up, he pulled up his pants, and without a word — he left. That was it. I was confused, I was embarrassed, I was ashamed. I asked myself, was it something that I had done?” Bush recalled.

A few months after the trip, Bush found out she was nine weeks pregnant. She turned 18 before she had the abortion, she told Vanity Fair.

“I was 18. I was broke, and I felt so alone. I blamed myself for what had happened to me,” Bush said.

“How could I make this pregnancy work? How could I, at 18 years old and barely scraping by, support a child on my own? And I would have been on my own,” she continued. 

Bush said she was unsuccessful in her attempts to contact the man who raped her, and when a mutual friend informed him about the pregnancy, he laughed. 

“So then I realized, Okay, I’m on my own with this thing,” she told the magazine, noting that’s when she decided to have an abortion.
U.S. Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) becomes emotional during a news conference on the eviction moratorium at the Capitol on Aug. 3, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

At the abortion clinic, Bush encountered a mob of angry anti-abortion protestors.

“I remember thinking…You’re yelling at me, but you don’t know my story. You’re not going to help me with this baby if I had the baby. I felt like there was no mercy, coming from people that didn’t even know me,” Bush told Vanity Fair.

Bush wanted her story to resonate during her address.

“To all the Black women and girls who have had abortions or will have abortions, we have nothing to be ashamed of. We live in a society that has failed to legislate love and justice for us. So we deserve better. We demand better. We are worthy of better,” Bush said at Thursday’s hearing. “So that’s why I’m here to tell my story.”

Bush said “choosing to have an abortion was the hardest decision I had ever made, but at 18 years old, I knew it was the right decision for me,” adding that it “was freeing knowing I had options.”

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