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House Democrat Cori Bush tells ‘my abortion story’ in campaign ad

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) talks about her abortion after she was raped when she was 17 in a new campaign ad. (Video: Cori Bush for Congress)

It’s something that voters have rarely heard from a member of Congress, especially in a commercial — blunt talk about her own abortion.

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

Bush, a first-term Democrat who faces multiple primary challengers next month, was one of 17 members of Congress arrested on Tuesday after a pro-abortion rights protest outside the Supreme Court. She first discussed her own abortion publicly last year, as a witness at a hearing where several members of Congress testified about why they had or had not terminated pregnancies.

“Let me be clear: Forced pregnancy is a crime against humanity,” Bush continues in the 30-second spot. “We will not yield until abortion is legal everywhere, and everyone has reproductive freedom.”

After last month’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Democrats in dozens of races have centered legalizing abortion in their paid messaging. Most have criticized the court’s conservative majority and endorsed codifying the federal right to abortion created by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which Dobbs overturned.

Missouri is one of several Republican-led states where abortion was banned following the June 24 decision.

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

“I cannot wait to get onto the debate stage and have Marc Molinaro tell me that abortion is not health care,” Cheney says, referring to the likely Republican nominee, who currently serves as the county executive of Duchess County, N.Y., that she will face in November.

Missouri State Sen. Steve Roberts, a Democrat challenging Bush next month, said in a statement to The Post that Bush was an “exceptional activist” and that he applauded her decision to tell the story. He was challenging the first-term incumbent, he said, because she had not been effective in defending the rights she was talking about.

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

Pro-Choice Missouri, which has endorsed Bush, said in a statement that Roberts had not been reliable on the issue, criticizing his 2018 vote in favor of funding for crisis pregnancy centers, where women are urged to seek alternatives to abortion.

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

“People are looking for elected leaders who feel the impact of this violation as strongly as a scared 17-year-old does today,” Wallace said. “We wish we lived in a world where this ad wasn’t necessary.”

Annie Linskey contributed to this report.

Understanding the 2022 Midterm Elections

November’s midterm elections are likely to shift the political landscape and impact what President Biden can accomplish during the remainder of his first term. Here’s what to know.

When are the midterm elections? The general election is Nov. 8, but the primary season is nearing completion, with voters selecting candidates in the New York and Florida primaries Tuesday. Here’s a complete calendar of all the primaries in 2022.

Why are the midterms important? The midterm elections determine control of Congress: The party that has the House or Senate majority gets to organize the chamber and decide what legislation Congress considers. Thirty six governors and thousands of state legislators are also on the ballot. Here’s a complete guide to the midterms.

Which seats are up for election? Every seat in the House and a third of the seats in the 100-member Senate are up for election. Dozens of House members have already announced they will be retiring from Congress instead of seeking reelection.

What is redistricting? Redistricting is the process of drawing congressional and state legislative maps to ensure everyone’s vote counts equally. As of April 25, 46 of the 50 states had settled on the boundaries for 395 of 435 U.S. House districts.

Which primaries are the most competitive? Here are the most interesting Democratic primaries and Republican primaries to watch as Republicans and Democrats try to nominate their most electable candidates.