Ilyse Hogue Told Her Personal Abortion Story To The Whole Democratic Party

NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue isn’t afraid to bring up women’s health in any situation. On Wednesday, the reproductive rights queen addressed the Democratic National Convention about the necessity and urgency of ensuring women are able to get the medical care they need. Hogue also told her personal abortion story on the DNC stage, seemingly becoming the first person to do so at a major political party’s convention.

“I made the decision that was best for me  —  to have an abortion  —  and was able to get compassionate care at a clinic in my own community,” Hogue told the huge crowd. “Now, years later, my husband and I are parents to two incredible children.” It shouldn’t be a bold decision to talk about receiving normal medical care, but Hogue’s speech was the most radical of the entire convention, because talking about getting an abortion yourself, on stage in front of the entire Democratic Party, has never been done before.

“About 1 in 3 American women have abortions by the age of 45, and the majority are mothers just trying to take care of the families they already have,” she said. “You see, it’s not as simple as ‘bad girls get abortions and good girls have families.’ We are the same women at different times in our lives, each making decisions that are the best for us.”

This was such a powerful move because abortion has to be openly talked about if we ever hope to erase the dangerous stigmas surrounding the safe medical procedure. Until Tuesday, when Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards addressed the convention, no one at the DNC had even said the word “abortion.” It isn’t a bad word we have to avoid saying in public — in fact, it’s essential we say it in order to fight the GOP’s extreme anti-abortion rhetoric, stances, and legislation.

“And the people who so loudly oppose abortion rights?” Hogue said. “Let me let you in on their dirty little secret. They’re not only against abortions. Many of these people are also fighting to restrict access to contraception and block common sense policies to support working moms. It’s not abortion that bothers them. It’s empowering women to live our own lives.”

It’s not enough for the Democratic Party to get together and talk about how Hillary Clinton will be better for women’s health. Women like Hogue have to talk about how the GOP’s plans would negatively impact their lives, how the anti-abortion restrictions in place now already do, and how politicians don’t have the right to decide what they do with their bodies.

Hogue’s speech was exactly what the nation needed to hear. She had an abortion, doesn’t regret it one bit, and wants to make it possible for others to make the same choice if they want. Abortion isn’t a radical idea, while wanting to force women to have babies they don’t want is. The Democratic Party needs to treat the war on abortion like the real public health threat it is and show voters that it isn’t afraid to talk about it or act on it.