Pramila Jayapal is Fighting Anti-Abortion Laws—With Her Own Abortion Story

In the wake of a slew of extreme anti-abortion laws passing through state legislatures across the country, Rep. Pramila Jayapal spoke up—and told her own abortion story.

In a now-viral video for NowThisNews, Jayapal recounted the story of her first pregnancy with her “miracle child,” Janak. He was born prematurely, and survived despite a number of complications. “I could not go through what I went through for Janak again,” Jayapal said. “It was too hard. It was destroying me.”

Jayapal’s abortion story, of course, isn’t a stand-in for anyone else’s, and she was careful to note that not every abortion decision is made in the wake of such harrowing circumstances. “I want to make it clear that not every woman goes through trauma,” Jayapal declared. Not every decision is difficult. But the choice still has to be of the pregnant person.”

Jayapal’s decision not to talk about her abortion publicly resulted largely from the shame and stigma that surround the procedure. But in this current political moment, she also knew she couldn’t stay quiet—and expressed her concern that the slew of abortion bans being signed into law in states like Alabama, Georgia and Missouri will not end abortion, but only drive it underground and make it exponentially more dangerous.

“I shared my story because I’ve been watching in horror as abortion bans are passed across the country,” she tweeted Tuesday. “You can’t say that we are free if we can’t make fundamental choices about our own bodies.”


Rachel Kennedy is an Editorial Intern at Ms. and Associate Opinion Editor for The Daily Princetonian. A Bostonian by birth and a feminist by choice, she hopes to empower women by sharing their stories. She is particularly interested in covering maternal healthcare, women activists, pop culture, and politics. Rachel currently studies History, Journalism, and African American studies at Princeton University.