Progressive Rep. Cori Bush has revealed that she had an abortion at the age of 18, after falling pregnant when she was raped by a church member during an annual youth delegation trip in the summer of 1994.
Bush, now 45, shared her recollection of the sexual assault in a new interview with Vanity Fair, describing her feeling of ‘guilt’ over the assault and admitting that she is ‘still trying to process’ what happened to her all these years later, revealing that her abortion triggered what she describes as the ‘darkest period of her life’.
According to Bush, her rapist – who she has not named – was a man she believed to be ‘in his early 20s’ who was ‘in a leadership position’ on the Jackson, Mississippi, trip, which took place when she was 17 years old.
The St. Louis, Missouri, native recounted how she and several of the other girls from her church had been ‘swooning over’ the unnamed man – who asked Bush to ‘hang out’ one evening in her hotel room, which she was sharing with another delegation member.
Bush, a mother-of-two, says the two sat on her bed talking for a short time, before the man was ‘suddenly on top’ of her and taking off her clothes, before she could even make sense of what was happening.
‘All of a sudden we went from talking to he was on top. He was like taking my clothes off.… He’s having sex, penetrating me,’ she recalled.
‘I just remember I was laying there and I just didn’t know what was happening… I couldn’t make it make sense.’
Bush says she has no recollection of the man speaking to her after the assault – adding that he just ‘ignored her’ when they saw one another the following day. She does however remember struggling through feelings of confusion and being upset, explaining that she didn’t initially realize she had been the victim of assault.
At the time, she had only been ‘sexually active’ with one other man, her ex-boyfriend from whom she had split shortly before the church trip.
‘I didn’t see that as rape. I felt like I did something—I did something wrong,’ she admitted. ‘I’m still like, truly, really, trying to process it because when he started pulling my pants down, I didn’t fight him back.
‘I didn’t even know what was going on, but I didn’t fight him back, I didn’t tell him stop, I didn’t say no. I just laid there and let him do whatever he wanted to do.’
Weeks after she returned home from the church trip, Bush learned that she was pregnant, news that left her devastated, particularly when she asked a friend from her church to tell her rapist, who she said simply ‘laughed’ in response.
After learning of her attacker’s reaction to her pregnancy, Bush realized she was ‘on her own’, and she made the decision to get an abortion at a local clinic that she found in the yellow pages, having been told by staff that the procedure would cost her $328.
Recalling her experiences at the clinic, which she visited twice in total, Bush says she was initially stunned by the number of anti-abortion protestors who ‘swarmed’ her car when she arrived, explaining that she couldn’t comprehend why they all seemed ‘so angry at her’, particularly when they ‘didn’t even know her story’.
Inside the clinic, Bush recounts facing a similarly jarring experience while taking part in a requisite counselling session, during which she says a white female staff member treated her with ‘hostility’ and ‘anger’.
‘She was almost angry,’ Bush said of the woman, who conceded that abortion was actually the then-teenager’s best course of action because her fetus was underdeveloped.
‘The way she was speaking to me, it was very belittling and degrading. I didn’t know why she was directing all of that onto me.’
She added that the woman’s behavior made her feel as though she wasn’t ‘given an opportunity to make a decision’, admitting that she was stunned at the time that the clinic staff weren’t immediately ‘warm and welcoming’.
When it came time for the procedure itself, Bush describes it as a ‘very, very cold situation’ and she remembers trying to train her eyes on an ‘abstract picture on the ceiling above that recalled a stained-glass window one might see in church’ while it was taking place.
After her abortion, Bush once again was met with yells and screams from pro-life protestors outside of the clinic, who she said showed her ‘no mercy’, something that she found baffling, given that none of them would have likely ‘helped her with [the] baby if she had the baby’.
Bush spent the rest of the day in her bed, struggling with stomach cramps – but it was the following months that she says she found the hardest, explaining that the assault and abortion led to ‘a very, very dark period… the darkest period of my life’.
According to Vanity Fair, Bush first publicly shared that she’d had an abortion earlier this month while speaking at a rally in her hometown, however this latest interview is the first time that she has revealed details about her rape.
Although Bush – who is a member of The Squad alongside fellow progressive Representatives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib – has been outspoken in her support of abortion rights, she has previously declined to reveal her own story.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail