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‘I needed more time’: Cori Bush recalls being a victim of a forced abortion

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) opened up about a forced abortion she had at the age of 19.

At the time, she went to an abortion clinic, initially set on terminating her pregnancy, before she began having second thoughts. She told the nurse to stop, but her pleas were ignored, and the abortion provider continued putting the “instrument” inside her and finished the procedure.


“I thought I was ready. And I went in, and I went through all the steps because … it’s almost like an assembly line,” Bush recalled in an interview on Firing Line. “I was helped up onto the table by the nurse. And I lay there. And I started to think, ‘Well, one, I didn’t tell the father, that that was about to happen.’ And I just felt like I needed more time.”

Bush wrote about the incident in her recently released book, The Forerunner. It was her second time getting an abortion. She initially believed that the process would be straightforward, having gone through it before, but then she grew uneasy about it and thought she needed more time.

In response to her pleas to scrap the operation, Bush said that a nurse refused to listen and instead directed her to calm down.

“The nurse just wouldn’t listen to me, and I said, ‘No, I’m not ready.’ And as I’m saying, ‘No,’ they continue[d] to pull the instruments and get everything ready. And [they were] just like, ‘No, calm down,'” Bush recalled.

Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., testifies about making her decision to have an abortion after being raped, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

“I was a young black woman. Multiple times, I felt like it was ‘oh, well, we know better. You don’t know what you don’t understand. We know better,'” she added.

Bush previously opened up about the first abortion she received. She explained that, in hindsight, she believes that she was raped and felt she was not given adequate resources to contend with her pregnancy.

“Instead of being told, like, ‘hey, there are there’s the option of adoption or like talking about other things,’ it was ‘your baby is underweight and you can always get pregnant again. You need to go ahead and have this done. You’re going to end up on welfare. You’re not going to have a future,'” she recently recounted on The View. “I just turned 18 [and] I felt like I had disappointed my parents.”

However, after talking to the medical professionals at the clinic, Bush stumbled upon a few white women in the next room who had a different experience. They were told that they could keep the baby. The women weren’t privy to her situation, but she said it was devastating to hear.

“I was the only black girl, but hearing the white girls talk about ‘oh, they were so nice. And they told me, you know, that I could go ahead and have it, and they [had] a set of resources for me.’ … They were just having a conversation that I walked in on, and I was crushed. Why was my story different? Why was I treated different?” Bush said.


The progressive firebrand and member of “the Squad” in Congress has been an outspoken advocate of abortion rights. Following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, she embarked on the “Roe The Vote: Reproductive Freedom Tour” across Missouri, hoping to promote abortion rights in the ruby-red state.

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