Nevada, which has one of the highest rates of unintended teen pregnancy in the nation, is considering updating its abstinence-only education policy to require more comprehensive sexual health instruction in public schools. This week, in a debate over that proposed legislation, Nevada Assemblywomen Lucy Flores (D) testified in favor of the bill, sharing her own personal story about the consequences of inadequate sex ed [...]
The right-wing media jumped on her quoted testimony, with headlines proclaiming “Democratic Legislator: I Don’t Regret Killing My Baby in Abortion.”
Dana Gentry is a local television producer.
Flores had told the Assembly Education Committee that she had an abortion when she was 16, as you can see from the quotes below via the Reno Gazette Journal. Anyone who has ever made comments on Twitter about being pro-choice understands what it's like to be on the receiving end of irrational pro-forced-birther outrage. Flores got threats for saying this:
“I had six other sisters, all of them became pregnant in their teens – all of them... One was 14 years old when she got pregnant with twins. That is what I had to learn from.” [...]
"I got an abortion and it was a very difficult thing for me to do... I didn’t want to be like that (teen mom)... I wanted to do better and I knew I couldn’t do that if I had a baby, just like everyone else (in my family). My dad gave me the money and I went with a friend of mine (to have the abortion) and I will never forget that, having that done.... I don’t regret it because I am here (at the Legislature), making a difference, at least in my mind, for the young ladies and letting them know their options."
It isn't clear what the specific threats were or who made them.
Here is her Facebook statement (bolding is mine):
These have been a very trying two days. While I may have cancelled an appearance with Jon Ralston in an abundance of caution, I remain dedicated to my beliefs and my convictions, and no matter what comes my way, I will not be silenced - on ANY topic. A legislative deadline is fast approaching, and the precious time that is left will be spent working on the rest of my bills and other important legislative business, and NOT on defending a difficult choice I made when I was 16 years old. Thank you for the outpouring of support and well wishes. I am eternally grateful. ♥
Here is her press release explaining why she shared such a personal experience (bolding mine):
“This week, I shared an extremely personal story about a difficult decision I made as a teenager to have an abortion. I shared that story because I felt it was relevant to the importance of sex education in Nevada schools, and my belief that our children need to be armed with good information in order to make good choices. While I am heartened, and deeply moved, by the support I have received from far and wide since my testimony, I want to ensure that we don’t lose focus on the real issue at hand. I don’t want the weight of a serious issue like abortion rights to overwhelm the purpose of this bill, which is meant to ensure that other young people are empowered with information that I simply didn’t have as a young person.
I maintain that educating our children is one of the most important things we can do as legislators, and that should include sex education. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass AB230. AB230 is an important piece of legislation that is sorely needed in our state. Nevada's young people need to have access to information in order to make informed choices, and hopefully avoid having to make difficult decisions as I had to.”
In 2013, nobody should have to endure what Lucy Flores has, or even what those of us who so much as publicly mention being pro-choice have. And don't get me started on the onslaught of conservative anti-abortion laws and clinic shutdowns, let alone the death threats, assassinations, and attacks on abortion providers.
Threats, murder, intimidation... So much for all that outreach we keep hearing about.