Just over two weeks ago, Busy Philipps aired the final episode of her short-lived E! late-night talk show Busy Tonight. But the actor was back in the spotlight Tuesday morning on Capitol Hill at a House hearing on reproductive rights.
“No bill that criminalizes abortion will stop any woman from making this incredibly painful decision,” Philipps said in her opening statement. “These bans will not stop abortion from happening, but they will drive women, and girls, and people into the shadows, which is what this has always been about: shaming and controlling women’s bodies.”
But perhaps the most dramatic moment of the hearing came when anti-abortion Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) questioned the actress directly. “Would you agree that somebody who has survived an abortion,” he said, referring to another witness in the room, “has a right when she’s born to life, to control over her body where someone else doesn’t take her life?”
After thanking that witness for her testimony, Philipps told Gohmert, “Although I played a doctor on television, sir, I am actually not a physician.”
“But you’ve given very compelling testimony and you’ve obviously given these issues a lot of thought,” he replied.
“Yeah, I think that it’s something that’s very important,” Philipps replied. “I don’t believe that a politician’s place is to decide what’s best for a woman. It’s a choice between a woman and her doctor.”
“What about a baby and their doctor?” Gohmert asked.
“I’m not speaking about birth, sir, I’m speaking about abortion,” she answered.
Shortly before her show was taken off the air, Philipps shared the story of her own abortion with viewers, prompting the #YouKnowMe campaign on social media. “The statistic is one in four women will have an abortion before age 45,” she said at the time. “That statistic sometimes surprises people, and maybe you’re sitting there thinking, ‘I don’t know a woman who would have an abortion.’ Well, you know me.”
During the hearing on Tuesday, she spoke about the many women who approached her in the days following to thank her for her “bravery.” But Philipps pushed back on the notion that she should be called brave for having a medical procedure. “Abortion is health care,” she said, “and should not be treated as different from any other health care.”