Watch Busy Philipps Testify to Congress: The Reason I Had an Abortion “Shouldn’t Matter”

“I am a human being that deserves autonomy in this country that calls itself free.”

Busy Philipps Congress
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Yesterday, June 4, actress and talk show host Busy Philipps delivered deeply moving testimony to Congress regarding abortion, in which she detailed getting an abortion at the age of 15 while strongly condemning the extreme new abortion restrictions in states like Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Missouri.

Philipps first discussed her abortion on her E! television show, Busy Tonight. “The statistic is that one in four women will have an abortion before age 45,” she said on air, tearing up. “That statistic sometimes surprises people. And maybe you’re sitting there thinking, I don’t know a woman who would have an abortion. Well, you know me.”

Philipps had her abortion in Arizona, and in the years since, the state has adopted a number of draconian measures to discourage women from undergoing the procedure. “If I were that same 15-year-old in Arizona today, legally I would have to get parental consent,” she said when testifying on Capitol Hill. “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.”

But Philipps doesn’t think anyone should ever have to give the state a reason why. She made a simple, powerful point: that every woman should have bodily autonomy in any circumstance. “I am so sad that we have to sit here in front of a row of politicians and give deeply personal statements,” she added. “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.”

Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, a staunchly antiabortion conservative, pressed Philipps on the extremely rare cases of babies who survive abortions, asking the actress if they had a right to live.

Philipps once appeared on ER. And so she hit Gohmert with a sharp comeback.“While I played a doctor on television, sir,” she said. “I am actually not a physician.”