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News > U.S.

Ilhan Omar Comes Out Against Abortion Ban Bills, Rejects Attempts to 'Control, Punish' Women

  • U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar slammed anti-abortion bills sweeping the country for past few weeks.

    U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar slammed anti-abortion bills sweeping the country for past few weeks. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 May 2019

The Muslim-American congresswoman argued that abortion bans are meant "to criminalize women for simply existing, to punish us when we don’t conform to their attempts to control us."

The United States Congresswoman Ilhan Omar asked women to stand up and speak up while slamming anti-abortion bills being passed across the country.


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“So today I ask every woman in this country, no matter her age, her race, her political affiliation to stand with me, to stand with us, to stand up and tell those who challenge our voice, and our place, and our right to decide for ourselves to not be silent, to speak up, and to reclaim their right to choose,” Ilhan Omar said speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives Wednesday a week after Alabama passed a blanket abortion bill even in the cases of rape or incest.

Under the law, those performing abortions would be committing a felony, punishable by 10 to 99 years in prison, although a woman who receives an abortion would not be held criminally liable.

“Religious fundamentalists are currently trying to manipulate state laws in order to impose their beliefs on an entire society,” the representative said. “All with complete disregard for voices and the rights of American women.”

She slammed the laws by saying that this is a way to “criminalize women for simply existing” and rejecting attempts to be controlled by society.

Texas has proposed to even allow capital punishment for women seeking an abortion which would be considered human rights abuse by the U.S. if any other country proposed the same according to Omar.

“But because it is happening here with the support of the ultra-conservative religious right, we call it religious freedom. It’s simply unthinkable.”


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She also said that when the “so-called religious politicians” talk about freedom and choice when the issue is their own lives but brings in religion to control others.

Omar highlighted that this week women in the country are celebrating the centenary of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Adopted in 1920, the 19th amendment was a result of the suffragette movement in the U.S. and abolished denying the right to vote to citizens on the basis of sex.

“How could it be that an entire century has passed and we are still forced to fight for our rights as women, as human beings, and as Americans?” asked the congresswoman.

The country has seen widespread protests against anti-abortion bills across the U.S. for the past few weeks since Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, and Alabama banned abortions.

The first four states prohibit abortion after a heartbeat can be found in an embryo. Many experts say that this can be as early as six weeks at which point most women don’t even know that they are pregnant.

Ilhan Omar also raised the fallacy in the arguments of legislators in favor of the abortion ban. According to her, the bans are not “simply about their care or concern for life.”

If they really cared about children, then the politicians would also be concerned about detained migrant children and the ones dying in camps across the U.S. border or the homeless ones according to the representative. 

Since December, at least five migrant children have died in the U.S. border custody.

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