Recent moves by states to restrict a woman’s ability to get an abortion have ignited debate in the entertainment sphere. That was on display Wednesday, when an actress testified on Capitol Hill.
Who: Busy Philipps, the actress/author/talk-show host, who reacted to the signing of a new “heartbeat bill” in Georgia by sharing her story of having an abortion at age 15 with viewers of her now-canceled E! show “Busy Tonight.” Philipps told her audience that many people think they don’t know a woman who has had an abortion. “Well,” she said, “you know me.”
The outspoken social-media darling is seizing on the viral response to her candor, sharing the hashtag #youknowme and vowing to continue to advocate on the issue.
What: A House Judiciary subcommittee hearing that quickly revealed the political schism over abortion. The panel’s chairman, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) praised Philipps and another woman who was there to testify about her own story, saying it is time to “stop shaming women for their medical histories” while the top Republican, Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, lamented the “murder of millions of pre-born children.”
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the full committee, then accused Johnson of “arrogance.” “The power of the state should not be used by one segment of society to impose its moral or religious beliefs on another,” he said.
Takeaway: Philipps, who lived in Arizona as a teen, described what it would be like for her to get an abortion in that state today — a process that would require a waiting period and for her to explain why she was seeking the procedure. “I am so sad that we have to sit here in front of a row of politicians and give deeply personal statements,” she told the lawmakers. “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.”
At one point, when Philipps was questioned by conservative Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) about whether a baby who survived an abortion has a right to live, she invoked a famous line: “While I played a doctor on television, sir, I am actually not a physician.”