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Mr. DEUTCH. I thank my friend from California.
Madam Speaker, today I want to give voice to real women and girls who sought abortions after 20 weeks.
The sad truth is that for disenfranchised women, it often takes more than 20 weeks to overcome the roadblocks encountered on the path to what is a constitutionally protected procedure. They may struggle to pay for the procedure, risk losing their jobs if they request time off or lack full information about their bodies, having never received sex education or seen a gynecologist.
Each woman facing these decisions is unique. Their voices have gone unheard in this Chamber, but they are Americans who deserve laws that protect them. So before this vote, I wanted to share their stories.
Sandra and her husband had no car, no Internet, and no health care. It took them weeks to find an abortion provider. They had to save up for the procedure for time off of work, for child care for their kids, for the 80-mile taxi ride from Clewiston, Florida, to West Palm Beach. By that time, the facility they found could not help her. They had to start over and save up even more, take even more time off to see a Fort Lauderdale doctor who could help them.
At 17, Helga was in a witness protection program. She was raped as a child and later bore a daughter who was later taken in by protective services. After leaving drug treatment in Florida, Helga was 20 weeks pregnant, but she wanted a chance to put that path behind her. It was only the compassion and generosity of her abortion provider, her doctor, who gave her that chance. Today she's taking care of herself and reconnecting with her daughter.
At 13, Michelle often had irregular periods. Yet when she skipped two, thought she had one and skipped another, she got scared and told her mom. She didn't know she was pregnant. Her disabled mother was barely able to feed Michelle and her four siblings as it was. So Michelle and her mother agreed that Michelle needed to have an abortion. But this whole process took time. Finally at 22 weeks, Michelle and her mom secured an abortion with a provider, a doctor who could assume the costs.
I ask my colleagues to please answer these women with compassion and vote down this bill.
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