Rep. Cori Bush speaks about her abortion at the age of 17 in a new campaign ad


That’s something voters have rarely heard from a congresswoman, especially in a commercial — outspoken talk about her own abortion.

“When I was 17, I was raped and got pregnant,” says Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) in a new ad that began running two weeks before her Aug. 2 primary at St. Louis’ media market. “This is the beginning of my abortion story. Millions more have their own.”

Bush, a first-term Democrat who faces several key challengers next month, was one of 17 congressmen arrested Tuesday after a pro-abortion protest outside the Supreme Court. She first spoke publicly about her own abortion last year, as a witness at a hearing where several congressmen testified about why they did or did not terminate pregnancies.

“To be clear, forced pregnancy is a crime against humanity,” Bush continues in the 30-second spot. “We will not back down until abortion is legal everywhere and everyone has reproductive freedom.”

Following last month’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Democrats of dozens of races have focused on legalizing abortion in their paid news stories. Most have criticized the court’s conservative majority and advocated codification of the 1973 federal abortion law Roe v. calf decision which Dobbs overturned.

Missouri is one of several Republican-led states to ban abortion following the June 24 decision.

Bush is one of several Democrats who have spoken more personally on the issue. Jamie Cheney, a Democrat running for Congress in New York’s Hudson Valley, released an advertisement on Monday about her decision to terminate a pregnancy after contracting a “very rare immune disease” that would have meant “significant health effects on the foetus”.

“I can’t wait to get on the debate stage and have Marc Molinaro tell me that abortion is not healthcare,” says Cheney, referring to the likely Republican nominee who currently serves as the borough chairperson of Duchess County, NY, that they will face in November.

Missouri State Senator Steve Roberts, a Democrat who will challenge Bush next month, said in a statement to The Post that Bush is an “extraordinary activist” and that he applauds her decision to tell the story. He challenged the first-term incumbent, he said, for failing to effectively defend the rights she spoke about.

“Legislation to protect reproductive health by codifying it into federal law should have been a priority of hers, not a reaction,” Roberts said. “Stunts and promises will never replace the courage to pass legislation and get it on the President’s desk.”

Pro-Choice Missouri, which has supported Bush, said in a statement that Roberts had not been reliable on the issue and criticized his 2018 vote to fund crisis pregnancy centers, which urge women to seek alternatives to abortion.

Lynese Wallace, a senior Bush campaign adviser, said that the abortion issue was “personal” to Bush and that she had “spent years” fighting for reproductive rights. Bush, who ousted a longtime incumbent in 2020, had entered politics as an activist for health care and police reforms.

“People are looking for elected leaders who will feel the impact of this injury as badly as a frightened 17-year-old is today,” Wallace said. “We wish we lived in a world where these ads weren’t necessary.”

Annie Linskey contributed to this report. Rep. Cori Bush speaks about her abortion at the age of 17 in a new campaign ad

James Brien

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