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“I dare any one of you to judge me.” US lawmaker says she was raped and had an abortion

Quartz logo Quartz 3/27/2015 Hanna Kozlowska
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Democratic Ohio State representative Teresa Fedor got so frustrated during a debate on abortion in the lower chamber of the state’s legislature that she stood up and revealed that she had been raped and terminated the resulting pregnancy.

“You don’t respect my reason, my rape, my abortion, and I guarantee you there are other women who should stand up with me and be courageous enough to speak,” she said. “What you’re doing is so fundamentally inhuman, unconstitutional, and I’ve sat here too long.”

Fedor was raped many years ago, while she was in the military. She said that even some of her family members didn’t know what had happened to her, the Toledo Blade reported.

The so-called Heartbeat Bill that was being discussed in the Ohio legislature would have doctors test for a heartbeat in the fetus, which could be as early as six weeks into the pregnancy. If one is detected, and the doctor proceeds with the abortion, he would face felony charges. If the bill becomes law, it would ban all abortions, except when the pregnancy endangered the mother’s life or health, but including cases of rape and incest.

The bill passed, 50 votes to 44. It will now go to the state senate.

“I dare any one of you to judge me, because there’s only one judge I’m going to face… I dare you to walk in my shoes… This debate is purely political. I understand your story, but you don’t understand mine. I’m grateful for that freedom. It is a personal decision, and how dare government get into my business.”

While she was speaking, a man in the audience appeared to laugh.

“I see people laughing and I don’t appreciate that,” she said. “And it happens to be a man who is laughing.”

Fedor added that this is “serious business” and that she was speaking “for all the women in the state of Ohio who didn’t get the opportunity to be in front of that committee.”

Fedor’s admission came after several other US women lawmakers shared their experiences with sexual assault during legislative debates on abortion in Arizona, Michigan, (both of those bills restricting abortion passed in their respective chambers) and Pennsylvania.

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