Busy Philipps testifies for Congress: Why is it brave to reveal a medical procedure?

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It’s been almost three weeks since Busy Tonight ended and I still visit her YouTube channel hoping to see something there. Busy is funny, blunt, and an outspoken advocate for women’s rights. In other words she’s one of us. Busy opened up on her show last month about her abortion at the age of 15, which she also wrote about in her memoir. She did this in response to the ridiculous anti-choice laws that are being passed throughout the US. Busy testified yesterday in front of the House Judiciary Committee along with a panel of other women, some brought together by The National Women’s Law Center. The topic was threats to reproductive rights. Her speech was powerful yet matter-of-fact and I got goosebumps watching it. Here’s some of what she said. You can see her speech in full in the YouTube video below.

On her abortion
If I were that same 15-year-old in Arizona today, legally I would have to get parental consent. 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.

I am so sad that we have to sit here in front of a row of politicians and give deeply personal statements. 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.

On people calling her brave
In the week after I shared my story on my show, women were coming up to me on the street, in the supermarket and at the gym with tears in their eyes, thanking me for my bravery. But the word bravery didn’t sit right with me. Why is it brave to speak to an experience millions of people in the world throughout history have gone through? And then I realized. It is considered brave because as women we have been taught to feel shame about our bodies from birth. In my life I have had many medical procedures. But no one has ever called me ‘brave’ for talking about them. Abortion is health care, and should not be treated as different from any other health care.

[Quotes via CBS News and Huffington Post]

One of the panelists on the other side of the “debate” (it’s not a f’ing debate) was a woman named Melissa Ohden who survived her mother’s abortion. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) questioned Busy about it in a convoluted way. He asked “Would you agree that somebody who has survived an abortion, like Melissa Ohden, has a right once she’s born to life, to control over her body where someone else doesn’t take her life?” That makes zero sense, but these people aren’t known for their logic skills. Busy answered “Although I played a doctor on television, sir, I am actually not a physician.” He pressed her and she said that politicians shouldn’t make this decision, which is between a woman and her doctor, and that she was talking about abortions, not babies, which was perfect. He seemed very confused about the difference. You can see that at about 5:20 into the video below.

Busy tells it like it is and she does not pull punches. Abortion is healthcare, late term abortions are rare, medically necessary and prohibitively expensive and these stupidly named heartbeat bills lack a basic understanding of science. I am scared for the next generation of women, I am scared for my son, and I’m angry that we’re at the point. I only hope it doesn’t go further than it already has. If it does, we are prepared to fight and we are prepared to get even louder.

While it shouldn’t be considered brave to reveal that you’ve had an abortion, which is definitely a medical procedure (that should be free), it was brave of Busy to step up, to speak for us, and to testify in front of Congress.

Here’s her testimony:

This woman in yellow behind Busy is giving me life.
Screen Shot 2019-06-05 at 5.49.18 AM

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46 Responses to “Busy Philipps testifies for Congress: Why is it brave to reveal a medical procedure?”

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  1. Kittycat says:

    I feel so bad for American woman.

    Like what a mess.

    • Ronaldinhio says:

      I too feel sorry for American women. This feels like an erosion of their rights which is gathering pace

      British and Irish Women are also denied abortion when living in Northern Ireland. They never, ever had the right to an abortion and no-one is granting it to them anytime soon

    • joro says:

      Clearly a good portion of American women don’t feel sorry for themselves/don’t love themselves because they keep voting trash representatives.

      *Never forget 53% of white women voted for Trump.

      • anon says:


      • Ader says:

        And let us not forget about the slew of people-pleasing, liberal women who socially appease these Republicans. Recently, I was at a gathering, and one “savior liberal” woman simpered: “Oh, we shouldn’t talk negatively about such things because everyone has a different opinion.” No. Validating the views of anti-choice, forced-birth women….allowing space for them feel comfortable in their oppressive views…is ALSO not OK.

  2. Becks1 says:

    I do think she is brave for speaking out, knowing what the response of the anti-abortion activists will be.

    • otaku fairy... says:

      This. Things should already have progressed enough that revealing a medical procedure shouldn’t require bravery. For now though, women and girls are targets for manipulation, harassment, exploitation, abuse, and worse over the abortion issue, and anti-choicers as well as other people who allow patriarchal morality to do their thinking and feeling for them are part of that risk.

    • lucy2 says:

      I thought that too. I’m grateful she and the other women were willing to do this.

    • pinetree13 says:

      Exactly what I wanted to say. By revealing you’ve had an abortion you are putting your life endanger. There are scores of men that would feel justified in murdering a woman whose had an abortion. It’s dangerous revealing you’ve had one. She IS brave. She is doing a great thing by coming forward. I admire her.

  3. wendywoo says:

    Why aren’t these same foetus-obsessed-lawmakers being consistent and making embryo cold-storage false imprisonment?

    • Victoria says:

      Don’t give them any ideas!

    • Elkie says:

      Because an in-vitro embryo isn’t in a woman’s body, (therefore there’s no woman to deny the basic right to autonomy). The sponsor of the Alabama bill explicitly said the first part.

      You don’t think for a second that the GOP are going to target bills at the kind of women who can afford to spend a third of the average Alabama annual wage on one round of IVF, did you?

  4. Alissa says:

    I’m scared for my kids. my stepson is 23 and my step daughter is 18. my stepson and his girlfriend had to have an abortion last year because of an unplanned pregnancy that neither of them were ready for. my husband was a teen parent to my stepson, so my stepson knew very clearly that he did not want a child when he was not ready and too young for it. I worry that these options will be taken away from them.

  5. OriginalLala says:

    I can’t believe it’s 2019 and we are still begging for basic bodily autonomy….

  6. Elkie says:

    The Religious Right love the “Unborn” because they don’t need food stamps, healthcare, schooling, shelter, a liveable wage, etc… and the moment they do, they’re oh-so-conveniently no longer “Unborn”.

    I have no more f**ks to give, I gave them all to the precious embryos…

    • Coco says:

      A fetus is easy to defend because they can’t say anything, don’t need anything (besides a host). Once they are actually human beings with needs they are easier to ignore because it’s someone else’s problem now. It’s gross how backwards it all is.

      • sunnydaze says:

        A fetus is, in a weird twisted way, very similar to a parasite. In fact, more to the point about a host, one could argue that the ability of a woman to carry the baby of another as a surrogate makes the parasite argument even stronger. Aside from an actual parasite having to belong to a host of a different species, the rest is pretty true – they derive nutrients at the expense of the host. What’s even weirder about that argument is that *technically* a parasite, upon infecting the host, is likely more advanced than a fetus at its earliest stages. It’s such a weird discussion to have but I swear to god it’s one worth having because it forces us to reflect on how irrationally special human beings often think they are – that carrying an unwanted baby would magically lead a woman to live up to every possible potential where she could rise out of poverty, would “pull herself up by the bootstraps” and happily work several jobs, that all her trauma would be wiped away, and we don’t need prevention because women are capable of doing these things on their own with the right motivation. That a baby solves everything because unconditional love, and if a woman is struggling its because she’s lazy or a bad person and then deserves it. Babies are not magical. Women are not magical, and both need to stop being treated as though they are.

      • Coco says:

        I’m 8.5 months pregnant and this baby could not have developed without me. It’s really hard, taxing, and nutrients are getting leached from my body…and this something I wanted to happen! It’s totally a host/parasite situation. Pregnancy and childbirth can be dangerous and life threatening and no one should be forced to give birth, full stop, but especially as a way to punish women for having sex and to control our bodies. I’m lucky I’ve been able to make reproductive choices that are best for me and my family and my pregnancies have been healthy with all the financial, medical, and emotional support in the world. Many women simply don’t have that and we cannot ask them to make their lives worse off when we can’t understand their situations. We are not magical vessels. We are people who should have autonomy over our own bodies, especially with how difficult pregnancy and childbirth can be for many.

      • Tweetime says:

        @Coco exactly! I’m 6 months pregnant and desperately wanted and love this baby. And I’ve had the privilege to have a relatively easy pregnancy, a supportive workplace, time off, benefits, accessible healthcare, and a good partner. Even with these supports, I don’t believe that the toll this baby has taken on my body is something that he/she has an inherent RIGHT to. I voluntarily choose to go through this and if I had opted not to that should be entirely my right to autonomy over my own body.
        Abortion is healthcare and women have the right to decide what happens to their bodies.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        And some of these laws apply even earlier than “fetus” status (which starts at 9 weeks). Many of these lawmakers are using incorrect terms. They are really embryos or zygotes/blastocysts, not fetuses.

  7. Vv says:

    I’m with you American women!
    I’m from Israel and even though we call ourselves “the only democracy in the middle east” our abortion law is terrible and some hospitals (even government sponsored ones) refuse to perform them except for severe medical cases.
    So fight HARD!

    • Desolee says:

      has it been the same for a while in Israel? I heard it’s becoming more and more right wing because the conservative people there have more kids who become conservatives. Did you guys ever have abortion readily available?

      • Vv says:

        it’s sort of a mess but I’ll try to explain – Benjamin Netanyahu, the PM for 8 yrs, is from the right wing Likud party and they have close ties with the conservatives even though the Likud themselves are more like old time republicans (less government intervention) and couldn’t give a damn. But in order to secure his government he relies on the conservatives who basically blackmail him since they know how desperate he is to stay in power cos the minute he leaves he’s going to be indicted in 3 separate cases of corruption. out of 120 parliament seats the conservatives groups all together won 21 seats!
        Meaning they are 1/6 of parliament but still have a lot of power because they are needed to form a government.
        Abortion law has always been TERRIBLE – you have to pass a committee and the only excuse for not wanting a baby for reasons other than medical is that the baby is a “bastard” under jewish laws (born out of marriage, fathered by someone who isn’t the husband). So many married women lie and say the child is a bastard and everyone accepts it no questions. Plot twist – if you divorce your husband, and even if both of you agreed you didn’t want the baby and you lied to the committee, he can bring it up in divorce proceedings to “prove” you were unfaithful.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Thank you, Vv!

  8. Ninks says:

    I’m usually opposed to celebrities speaking at Congress like this, when the platform should be given to experts on the subject but in this instance I have nothing but admiration for Busy. The more women who tell their story, the more normalised the procedure is and hopefully more people will realise how it’s an issue that affects women from all backgrounds, all socio-economic groups, all relationship status, and every woman of child bearing age.

    • otaku fairy... says:

      I also liked her point about how women shouldn’t have to make personal statements to fight for women’s human rights. We shouldn’t always have to have already experienced the consequences of something personally and physically, to earn the right to talk about not wanting to experience those things down the road or more importantly to not be ok with other girls and women experiencing those things on a personal, physical level already.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I totally agree that women shouldn’t have to expose trauma in order to protect their rights.

        It makes me so angry, because so many of these lawmakers don’t do their homework on their own to learn the truth about these kinds of medical decisions. For example, if they were more educated, they wouldn’t characterize “late term abortion*” they way they do (*doctors will tell you that phrase is medically nonsensical.). They would understand how procedures that occur at different times are for different reasons, all of which are valid.

  9. Betsy says:

    GO BUSY.

    I get murderously angry when forced birth ghouls cry their crocodile tears about late term abortion. Murderously angry. I have *personally* known only one woman who had late term abortion and she very much wanted a child at the end of the pregnancy but she did not get that. Conditions (and there were three issues) were such that there wasn’t even the option for her to complete the pregnancy and deliver a baby to hold while he died. It was “end the pregnancy and remove your uterus or bleed to death in ten minutes,” though this message was delivered very kindly and she was very appreciative of the medical care and sensitivity she received throughout. That was it. Her choice was abort or die. As Busy said, no woman, no woman at all, should have to justify this medical procedure.

    Further to any “pro life” lurkers hate reading this page today: if they can stop us from aborting, what else can they compel women to do? You really want to find out if serving the anti choice devil actually protects when he whips round and forces you to have c-section or to give birth without drugs as Eve was biblically punished for being a woman? You want to be investigated for your miscarriage? You want to be dragged through the mud to prove that you didn’t accidentally have some win before you knew you were pregnant? Do you want to be able to have non procreative PIV intercourse? Because if they strip women of their bodily autonomy regarding abortion, it isn’t going to stop there.

    • Lex says:

      Why stop at abortions at all?

      This man needs a kidney, you’ll give it to him now! Trump needs a blood transfusion so strap someone down and take whatever you need. No bodily autonomy anymore.

      There are more laws protecting corpses than women.

  10. Mindy_dopple says:

    I have never had an abortion but 6 years ago I played a huge part in helping my friend with her illegal abortion. We lived in a border town of Texas at the time, she had no money, couldn’t take the days off work she would need to arrange a safe one and expressed she didn’t know what she would do if she were to remain pregnant. I’m naturally a fixer, I wanted to help desperately so I turned to the internet and essentially found a how to manual for women with access to Mexican pharmacies. It is scary how much information and market there is for our case. We crossed the border and when I asked for ulcer medication for my aunt, the man immediately knew I meant for an abortion. We walked into a pharmacy, he went to a man sitting in a corner with a gold chain and button up patterned shirt, he looked us up and down and nodded. We got the medication we needed and rushed out of there. We followed the instructions I had found, and after a harrowing day, she was no longer pregnant.

    Things could have ended horribly. She could have died. Women will find a way and try anything to gain control of their body and decisions.

  11. Turtledove says:

    “was a woman named Melissa Ohden who survived her mother’s abortion. ”

    Can someone explain what this means?

    • anon says:

      It means anti-choice nonsense

    • Scarlett says:

      Melissa Ohden’s teenage mother tried to abort her at about 31 weeks. I don’t know what it is but by a saline abortion. She was a viable fetus and was alive. Someone adopted her. Now she spends her days telling women they don’t know what’s best for their own body.
      To me, this has nothing to do with anything. Just the old white dudes trying to dramatize this debate.. “What would you say to this baby that just wouldn’t die!”. What I’d say is, most abortions aren’t done at 31 weeks.

    • Scarlett says:

      Three cheers for personal bodily autonomy!

    • Betsy says:

      I just googled saline abortion and that seems like not a commonly used method. At all. For the last 40 years.

      So yeah, to agree with anon, anti choice nonsense.

  12. gelya says:

    I agree with her, I applaud her, & I love her. No one has a right to make a decision for a woman, except that woman. I post here but I don’t post often. I read all the time.

    I was raped when I was a teenager. I got pregnant from that rape. I was allowed to have an abortion but here’s the kicker the rapist went to court arguing that was his child and he was allowed to have his arguments in court. By the time I was able to get the abortion I was very late term. The shock, grief and my young age at the time led me to make decisions I admit I regret today.

    I kept my child and raised him. I loved him with everything inside me. When he became older (teen/college years) he had some issues. I had a terrible fear he could turn out like the man who raped me. I put him in therapy. During therapy his therapist told him he was from a rape. I never told him. I don’t think I would have ever told him. That therapist put my son in a long downward spiral that he never recovered from. My son asked me why I did not get him aborted. He was angry about it. He became violent. Finally, he could not take it any more and now I do not have a son. 🙁

    Now I look back I wish I gave him up for adoption because maybe he would have grown up never knowing how he was conceived. I wish I was not a scared young girl who didn’t know how to fight for her rights in a conservative state. What it really comes down to is that my rapist had more rights than me because Pro-Life advocates advocated for that fetus. They did not care I was a young girl who was a victim of a crime. They protected my rapists rights while I lost all mine.

    The kicker to all of this he got a light sentence for my rape. It was his first offense. He went on after his sentence to rape several women and children. He has now finally been sentenced to prison where he will never get out.

    Pro-Lifer’s do not care about the well being or health of the Mother. They never will. They do not care about the well being of the children and how those children might feel about being born in certain circumstances.

    The brutality of my rape and my hard pregnancy I was never able to have a child again. I lived in fear all my life the “father” would try to get rights. I had to live in hiding. My life was spent trying to protect my child. That is not living and that is not a life.

    I am sorry for the long post. This abortion debate is so heart-wrenching, emotionally traumatic and makes me so ragey right now. I wish lawmaker’s would treat us who have heart breaking abortion stories or assault stories like we are not statistics. My son & I had a close relationship. He could not look at me after he found out without anger, rage and guilt. He decided not living was better than living. He decided to be aborted. Those were some of his last words.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      All of my hugs to you. Thank you for sharing your story so others may learn and reflect. I’m so sorry that you lived through such tragedy. I wish you all the best in your journey forward. Even though so many have failed you, you have a lot of strength. You deserve happiness and joy.

    • Um says:

      I’m so very sorry and I’m sure that these national debates weigh heavy on you. I’m sorry your wounds are re-opened and that you went through all of that.

    • lucy2 says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry for everything you have been through, and I can’t imagine how difficult it all has been, including this current erosion of rights. Take care of yourself as best you can.

    • anon says:

      Sending you love.

    • Usedtobe says:

      Oh good lord. I am sitting here in tears over your story. I can see you have a vested interest in this subject and you have ever right to. All the hugs to you. Thank you for sharing it with us.

      • outoftheshadows says:

        You have all my sympathies, and also I hope you sued the shit out of that therapist and got his license revoked. That was such an obvious breach of confidentiality.

  13. Baltimom says:

    If any of these laws are allowed to stand, the women in these states need to go straight to their nearest Social Security office and file for an SSN after having sex. If you do turn out to be pregnant and it doesn’t last then you should be able to get a death benefit. If you have had a miscarriage or stillbirth and are low income, then file for an SSN and disability. Disability is defined by law as lasting 12 months or more or resulting in death. Don’t worry about bumping someone in real need. They have provisions in place for severely disabled folks. Anyway, your state says you have an actual child from the moment you’ve had sex so you are entitled to certain things. That would include tax exemptions and possibly state assistance. Would love to see these Republicans’ faces if women did that. Drain the coffers, ladies!

  14. iconoclast59 says:

    Maybe there are some lawyers in the commentariat who can help me with this… How are anti-abortion laws NOT violations of the 1st and 13th Amendments? 1st Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” I and many others do not believe that a weeks-old embryo is a “baby,” yet we’re being dictated to by those who do. 13th Amendment: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States…” If you force me to carry a fetus to term, you are literally forcing me into labor. Lawyers, in your opinion, do either of my arguments hold any water?