Summer Lee calls on supporters to fight back against a ‘Trump abortion ban’

U.S. REP. SUMMER LEE addresses the media outside the City-County Building, Jan. 22. For her, it was all about stopping an abortion ban that she attributes to the former president, Donald Trump. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

44 percent of abortions in Pa. were performed on Black women in 2021

Maybe there was a reason Congresswoman Summer Lee braved the cold, near-freezing temperatures Monday afternoon, Jan. 22, to address the media outside the City-County Building, Downtown.

The only thing that was “colder,” in her opinion, was former president Donald Trump appointing justices to the Supreme Court that eventually played a big part in overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision 51 years ago to the day that protected a woman’s right to have an abortion.

In 2022, the Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. The three Trump appointees—Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett—all voted to overturn the decision.

And now, with Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee—again—for President of the United States, U.S. Rep. Lee and others are warning their supporters to fight back against a proposed federal abortion ban.


“Today, 51 years later, we have less rights than our mothers,” voiced a demonstrative U.S. Rep. Lee, Downtown. “Our children have less rights than their grandmothers…they (the Supreme Court) created more life-threatening conditions for pregnant patients in America than we’ve seen in over 50 years. Forced birth, 10-year-old rape survivors forced to become parents, miscarriages that turn into sepsis…these are real scenarios from women and birthing people in a post-Roe America, and now with Trump’s Supreme Court preparing to rule on a federal ban on medicated abortion in all 50 states, we face a full-on crisis.”

U.S. Rep. Lee, an African American from North Braddock, said that Western Pennsylvania has “some of the worst Black maternal and infant mortality rates in our country. We know that this fight isn’t just about abortion care, which is so important, but it’s an expansive understanding of what’s at stake for the least of these, for the most vulnerable populations who we know are going to, or are already harmed now because it’s unconscionable to force Black women and birthing folks to give birth, when we can’t even guarantee that we can keep them alive in the process.”


Since the Roe v. Wade decision was overturned, 14 states have banned abortion in almost all circumstances, including West Virginia, Texas, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. Some states, like nearby Ohio, Virginia and New Hampshire, have kept abortion legal. In states like Pennsylvania, abortion is legal with some protections. Governor Josh Shapiro has vowed to veto any statewide bills banning abortion.

“In Western Pennsylvania, though we may not be in a state that’s implemented some of these archaic provisions and laws, we are still on the front line in the fight nonetheless,” U.S. Rep. Lee said.

The issue of abortion directly affects Black women in Pennsylvania. In 2021, the state reported that of the 33,206 induced abortions, 44 percent, or 14,620, were performed on Black women.

Speaking an entire time zone away, in Milwaukee, was Vice President of the U.S., Kamala Harris, who is a Black woman. She, too, decried the decision to overturn Roe.


“This is, in fact, a health care crisis,” Harris said to a crowd of supporters. “And there is nothing about this that is hypothetical. Today in America, one in three women of reproductive age live in a state with an abortion ban. And let us understand what that really means for people across our nation. Let us understand the horrific reality that women are facing every single day since Roe was overturned.”

Harris told the crowd that in her days as a prosecutor, she specialized in crimes against women and children.

“When I was in high school, I learned that one of my best friends was being molested by her stepfather, and so I said to her, ‘you gotta come stay with us,’” Harris said.

“So the idea that someone who survives a crime that is a violation to their body, and then would not have the authority to decide what happens to their body next…that’s immoral,” Harris said. “And let us all agree, one does not have to abandon their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree (that) the government should not be telling her what to do with her body.”

New Allegheny County Chief Executive Sara Innamorato was in full support of protecting a woman’s right to an abortion, as she stood with other women in solidarity behind U.S. Rep. Lee during the news conference.

“I know from my years in Harrisburg that Republicans will stop at nothing to restrict our right to access abortion care and our overall reproductive rights,” Innamorato, the former Pa. state representative, said. “As County Exec, I trust women, I respect their rights and will keep Allegheny County a safe place to seek abortion care.”






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