Two weeks ago, the House passed the Women's Health Protection Act (H.R. 3755), a bill sponsored by California Representative Judy Chu. Speaker Pelosi brought it to the House Floor in response to Texas' SB 8, but H.R. 3755 does anything but protect women. Instead, it guarantees abortion on-demand in every state across the U.S., undoing state protections for life and destroying any protections for the unborn, no matter how reasonable they may be.
The Women's Health Protection Act and its misleading name are indicative of a larger problem in Washington with deceptive bill labels that have nothing to do with their legislative contents. This bill codifies universal, unlimited access to abortion, prohibiting states from implementing restrictions on when or how an abortion can be performed, including waiting periods, ultrasounds, or limits based on pregnancy stage. It also permanently eliminates pro-life protections including the Hyde Amendment, which protects American taxpayers from paying for abortions with their tax dollars.
Of course, with a Democratic majority in the House too afraid to stand up for what's right instead of what's popular, the bill passed the House along party lines. Those who championed it and commended their colleagues for following the "abortion is healthcare" narrative were quick to move on to the next battle of the fast-moving news cycle, but my pro-life colleagues and I along with millions of pro-life Americans will not easily forget.
You see, I have a unique perspective on the issue. I wouldn't be here today if my mother hadn't given me a chance and instead followed the advice of her doctors and her own family who urged her to abort me. After a stroke at age 27 when my mother was pregnant with my older sister, doctors told her any future pregnancies would be difficult—life-threatening for both her and her baby. Years later when she was pregnant with me—a single mother without much to go on—she knew the stakes were high, deadly even. Against the urging of doctors, my grandmother, and other family members concerned for her wellbeing, she courageously chose life.
Because of my mother's decision, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl 33 years ago. Together, we went from homeless to the House of Representatives in less than a decade. I say "we" went there together because it took both of us. I have a different outlook on life, and it makes sense when you think about it. When you know you aren't supposed to be somewhere, but you make it despite the odds being stacked against you, you see the world a bit differently.
Last week, I told this same story before the House Oversight & Reform Committee alongside three of my Democrat colleagues who told stories about their own abortion experiences. I acknowledge that publicly recounting a difficult and tragic experience is not an easy task and I told my colleagues this as I spoke to them after the panel.
However, the media coverage of this panel is what stood out most to me. The mainstream media—ABC News, NBC News, and CNN—covered the panel and even interviewed my Democrat colleagues before their testimonies before the committee. They discussed why they believe access to abortion is so pivotal, but intentionally left out my story. It is not like I simply showed up to the panel, said a few words, and ducked out; they knew I'd be there long before the on-air lights turned on, the broadcasts roared to life, and the microphones in the hearing room went live. They had every opportunity to reach out to me, to hear my story, to learn my perspective on this very issue, but they forged ahead, afraid to show the other side of a very personal issue: the pro-life side.
It was almost as if my story was a footnote they had to include to make sure they covered the basic aspects of the story, not because they thought it important to ensure all viewpoints are represented. My team even had to reach out to several outlets to ask for corrections in their stories.
Society, and the media, have grown deeply biased against the pro-life narrative. We get drowned out by those chanting in the streets that women's healthcare includes the right to terminate the lives of others. We get shouted down when we dare speak up to share that we believe in the sanctity of life; that we believe life begins at conception and terminating a pregnancy should not be normal. We are vilified by the media that threatens us to back down.
I've been called a traitor by the women of the "tolerant Left" over this issue and have received hundreds of negative phone calls, emails, and social media comments for my vocal pro-life stance. Even so, and as a co-chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus, I won't be silenced. I will continue using my voice to stand up for the most vulnerable among us because everyone deserves a chance at life. After all, I wouldn't be here if my mom didn’t give me one.
Congresswoman Kat Cammack is the youngest Republican woman in the 117th Congress, proudly representing Florida's Third Congressional District. She is a co-chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus.