Planned Parenthood debate gets personal for congresswoman

California Democrat Jackie Speier revealed Thursday that she lost a child in a procedure called dilation and evacuation

February 18, 2011 3:49:39 PM PST
After stunning colleagues by recalling that she once had an abortion, Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California made clear Friday that the procedure was not something she welcomed and was done because the baby was not going to survive.

Speier, first elected in 2008, took to the House floor on Thursday evening during a debate over stripping funding to Planned Parenthood. A previous speaker, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., read a graphic description of a dilation and evacuation abortion, which is done in the second trimester of a pregnancy. He said the doctor "literally hacks that baby to death."

Speier, 60, then discussed her own experience that took place in the early 1990s. Her spokesman said it was something she had done once before when she served in the California Legislature.

"That procedure that you just talked about was a procedure that I endured," Speier said. "I lost the baby. But for you to stand on this floor and to suggest as you have that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought is preposterous."

Speier's spokesman, Tim Schlittner, said she didn't have any regrets about the speech. Speier, who represents a congressional district in the San Francisco Bay area, said via Twitter that she was overwhelmed by the response from the public. She also put out a press release making clear that she did not want to have the abortion.

"The fetus slipped from my uterus into my vagina and could not survive," Speier said. "Today some news reports are implying that I wanted my pregnancy to end, but that is simply not true. I lost my baby."

In Friday's action, Republicans muscled through the proposal to block federal aid to Planned Parenthood by a 240-185 vote.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

APTV-02-18-11 1727CST

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