Women In Congress Wear All White In Support Of Abortion Access

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Members of Congress’s Democratic Women’s Caucus wore all white on Wednesday in a show of solidarity against Republicans and their efforts to crack down on abortion access now that they have control of the House.

The caucus, chaired by Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), described the action as a way of showing “our collective resistance to the extreme MAGA Republicans’ anti-abortion agenda.”

Wearing all white, as many congresswomen did during Donald Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address, is a nod to the women’s suffrage movement of the early 1900s, when women fighting for the right to vote assembled in white clothing ― a fashion statement they thought to be inconspicuous on a single person but powerful en masse.

Congresswomen gathered in white Wednesday as the GOP-led House passed two bills sympathetic to the anti-abortion movement: a condemnation of attacks on anti-abortion groups and a requirement that health care workers provide lifesaving care to infants in the extremely rare instance of one surviving an abortion attempt. Neither is expected to go up for a vote in the Senate, which Democrats still control.

Critics questioned why House conservatives wouldn’t also pass protections for abortion providers, which are well-established targets of right-wing violence. They also noted that protections for newborns who survive an abortion already exist.

Frankel denounced the GOP’s priorities Wednesday, tweeting that “while Republicans are focused on criminalizing abortion & letting wealthy tax cheats off the hook, Democrats are here to lower costs, create better-paying jobs, & make our communities safer.”

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) was among those who wore white. She spoke before the chamber Wednesday about her traumatic experience being forced to carry and give birth to a dead fetus pre-Roe v. Wade.

“I had to learn how, first of all, to handle the immense grief that comes with losing a child and the fact that the corpse of that child was still within me,” she recalled. “I cried every night and all day. My little body was wretched with pain, weakness and frailty.”

Wilson said she “almost died” and noted that the flesh of the fetus she was forced to continue carrying had entered her bloodstream, putting her at risk for toxic shock syndrome.

Wednesday’s bills may be a small taste of what’s to come. Anti-abortion groups are pressuring the House GOP to pass nationwide abortion restrictions, including a ban on the procedure at about six weeks of pregnancy and a ban on abortions after a fetus receives a Down syndrome diagnosis. Other proposals include a ban on prescribing abortion pills via telemedicine and the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

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