Mikie Sherrill Thinks Tommy Tuberville’s Abortion Stunt Has Gone on Far Too Long
When the Supreme Court gutted federal protections for abortion access last year, pregnant individuals across the country felt the blow as states imposed bans and were left, in many cases, to take time off work and travel across state lines to find care. For military service members, the burden can be debilitating. With little to largely no say in where they are stationed, those in search of reproductive care can find themselves in states where access is curbed or even entirely unavailable to them. “You get ordered to go somewhere, and you can’t say, ‘I don’t want to go to Corpus Christi. I’m having trouble conceiving,’ or ‘I have a high-risk pregnancy, and they have the world’s crappiest reproductive health care. I can’t go there.’ The military is not going to say, ‘Oh, okay,’” Sherrill says.
The congresswoman has done her homework; she says, if stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas—where Sherrill once was—the closest place someone could get abortion care. It is roughly a 10-hour drive or a hundreds-of-dollars plane ticket away. Just as a service member seeking cancer treatment would be allowed the time and travel expenses to seek care, Sherrill wants the same for those seeking reproductive care. To not do so, she says, is “a betrayal for servicewomen, and it’s really offensive.”
On other issues involving the support of service members and their families, it is easy for Sherrill to find allies across the aisle, but that is not the case when it comes to reproductive care. “What’s striking to me, as you hear my Republican colleagues weigh in on this, is that they have not stopped with Roe. They want a nationwide abortion ban and that they don’t understand reproductive health at all,” Sherrill says, noting in our conversation the need for abortion care in some instances of miscarriages and for multifetal pregnancy reductions, among other complications. “It is breathtaking to me how much misinformation there is. And some of it does not seem intentional. Some of it just seems to be ignorance. We’re hearing the most nonsensical explanations of women’s reproductive health care from largely male legislators.”
Given Republicans’ four-seat majority in the House, Sherrill’s bill is unlikely to pass. But with it, she is sending a message to Tuberville, certainly, and his Republican colleagues. It is a message that voters, arguably, sent themselves on election night two days before our sit down, as Democrats racked up victories on abortion access in Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. “It really is hard not to be incredulous given that time after time after time, we are seeing this nation revolt—even in deeply red places—against these horrible policies of Republicans,” Sherrill tells me.