Pramila Jayapal: “You Are Absolutely Right to be Terrified”

The U.S. Congress member shares her experience with abortion and the path forward to securing abortion rights in a post-Roe United States.

Kavya Srikanth

July 13, 2022

Pramila Jayapal: “You Are Absolutely Right to be Terrified”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty)

On June 13, 2019, Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) did something she never thought she would do: she talked publicly about her abortion. After staying silent about it for years, even keeping it from loved ones, she wrote about terminating her pregnancy in a New York Times op-ed

“For me, terminating my pregnancy was not an easy choice, but it was my choice,” wrote Jayapal, who became the first Indian American woman elected to Congress in 2016. That is the single thing that has allowed me to live with the consequences of my decisions. And that is what must be preserved, for every pregnant person.” Jayapal later shared her abortion story again and reiterated this sentiment while testifying to the House Oversight Committee. The testimony came in response to Texas’s Senate Bill 8, a bill banning abortion as early as six weeks that became known as the “heartbeat bill.”

Amid her efforts to fight for reproductive rights, we spoke to Jayapal, who was in her hometown of Seattle, about the path forward to securing abortion rights in a post-Roe United States.