Ohio state Rep. Teresa Fedor (D) accuses a fellow legislator of laughing right after telling her colleagues that she underwent an abortion after being raped while serving in the military, in footage posted by Mother Jones on Thursday.
“I don’t want government in my business. I want my freedom. I fought in the military for that freedom. And for all those women in the military who were raped — I see people laughing; I don’t appreciate that on the other side. And it happens to be a man who’s laughing,” Fedor says in the video. “I don’t know if it’s about what I’m saying, but this is serious business right now, and I’m speaking for all the women in the state of Ohio who didn’t get the opportunity to be in front of that committee and make this statement.”
The person who allegedly laughed at Fedor has not been identified. She made her emotional confession on Wednesday, as the chamber debated House Bill 69. As Reuters reported, the measure passed in the Republican-controlled House in a 55-40 vote, sending it to the state Senate for approval.
The bill, which would ban abortions after a heartbeat is first discovered in a fetus — which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — also passed in the House in 2011, only to fail to clear the Senate. Gov. John Kasich (R) reportedly opposes the measure out of concern over it being unconstitutional.
According to the Toledo Blade, while the bill has an exemption allowing for abortion if the mother’s life is in danger, supporters have denied requests to add another one for rape victims.
“I’ll tell you what we know for certain,” said state Rep. Christina Hagan (R), one of bill’s sponsors. “An unborn child has a beating heart. Should we allow that heart to be stopped? This legislation would honor life at the first detectable heartbeat by providing appropriate protection of the law to that unborn and unique individual.”
For her part, Fedor dared her fellow legislators to judge her for her choice to have an abortion.
“I’ve heard all your scenarios, and I respect that,” she said. “But you don’t respect my reason. My rape. My abortion. And I guarantee you, there are other women who should stand up with me and be courageous enough to speak that voice.”
Watch her remarks, as posted by Mother Jones on Thursday, below.