As demonstrators gathered around the country to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down abortion rights, Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined the rally at Union Square in New York City. With a mic in her hand, Ocasio-Cortez reflected on a terrifying situation she faced in her younger days.
“I myself, when I was about 22 or 23 years old, was raped when I was living here in New York City. I was completely alone… In fact, I felt so alone that I had to take a pregnancy test in a public bathroom in midtown Manhattan,” the congresswoman said. “When I sat there waiting for what the result would be, all I could think was: Thank God I have, at least, a choice. Thank God I could, at least, have the freedom to choose my destiny. I didn’t know then, as I was waiting, that it would come up negative. But it doesn’t matter… This is for all of us. This is not a women’s rights issue. This is an issue for all of us.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who joined the rally shortly after getting off a flight from Washington D.C., said many of her friends had depended on the free family health center located near her workplace.
“I want to take a moment and honor this spirit of this space and telling stories. Until about four years ago, I was a waitress right here at this corner…what is now a Chase Bank. It used to be a coffee shop.” she said. “I worked there for years. Right next to that coffee shop, two doors down, there was a free family health center. I took friends and I supported friends through abortions when I had friends that were sexually assaulted right after getting off of work.”
According to the Independent, Gov. Kathy Hochul also spoke up after AOC’s speech.
“We stand in solidarity with our sisters across our nation who have now had their rights denied. Here in the state of New York, as the first woman governor, this is deeply personal to all of us. We will stand up and we will fight back. We just allocated $35m dollars to make sure that our abortion providers cannot just take care of our citizens, but we can be a safe harbor for women all across this country. You come to New York and we will take care of you,” Hochul said.