Watch: Rep. Ayanna Pressley Delivers Rousing Speech in Defense of Reproductive Rights as Roe v. Wade Faces Its Biggest Challenge Yet

Illustration for article titled Watch: Rep. Ayanna Pressley Delivers Rousing Speech in Defense of Reproductive Rights as Roe v. Wade Faces Its Biggest Challenge Yet
Photo: Andrew Harnik (AP Images)

Standing outside the Supreme Court Monday morning, Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley drew attention to her outfit, a long-sleeved leather dress: “I don’t know if y’all can see but I’m rocking my ‘resistance leather,’” Pressley quipped in front of a gathering of protesters. “I came dressed for battle because we’re still in one.”


The rally was timed to coincide with oral arguments in the June Medical Services, LLC v. Russo case, widely regarded as the most serious challenge to abortion rights the Supreme Court has heard in decades.

Pressley, Chair of the House’s Task Force on Abortion Rights and Access, was joined by members of the Pro-Choice Caucus and the Democratic Women’s Caucus as attendees decried the growing encroachment on a woman’s right to choose.

“There is nothing wrong with righteous rage. And I am outraged, and we are outraged, because this is outrageous,” Pressley said to cheers.

“When women’s bodies are more regulated than guns, this is outrageous. When women’s health centers are shutting their doors as healthcare costs skyrocket and birth control remains out of reach, this is outrageous,” the progressive congresswoman continued. “We have a black maternal mortality crisis where black women are four times more likely to die than white women—this is outrageous.”

Pressley also called out Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh, who comprise a conservative majority that is expected to rule in favor of restricting abortion access.

“We have two alleged sexual predators on the bench of the highest court in the land with the power to determine our reproductive freedoms,” she said. “I still believe Anita Hill. And I still believe Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford.”


Louisiana is fighting to defend its draconian abortion law, which requires abortion doctors to retain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic where the doctor provides abortion care. If the law goes into effect, it would close two out of three abortion clinics in the state of Louisiana, effectively leaving one million women of reproductive age without a single abortion provider.

As Vox wrote earlier today, Louisiana remains likely to prevail in the case due to the conservative majority on the court. But Louisiana Solicitor General Elizabeth Murrill’s defense of the law was so weak—and the liberal justices so successful in exposing the flaws in her argument that it raised the prospect that Chief Justice John Roberts may side with the court’s left-wing (Roberts sided with them in the 2016 Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision, which struck down a Texas law “virtually identical to the one at issue in June Medical,” Vox writes).


Pressley ended her speech by urging the attendees to channel their outrage into voting power—“the power to evict the occupant of this White House.”

You can watch the entire speech below:

Staff writer, The Root.