Actress Busy Philipps testified before Congress at a hearing about abortion on Tuesday, squaring off briefly with Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert in the process.
Philipps, the “Dawson’s Creek,” “Freaks and Geeks” and “Cougar Town” actress, spoke alongside several other witnesses with varying positions in the abortion debate before a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing titled “Threats to Reproductive Rights in America.”
Philipps said in her testimony that she is among “the one in four women in this country who have had an abortion” and that she had felt compelled to come forward with her story after the passage of a bill in Georgia that would ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
Gohmert, a staunch conservative with anti-abortion views, turned first during his allotted time to Melissa Ohden, who the committee listed as “the survivor of a failed saline infusion abortion in 1977” and founder of The Abortion Survivors Network. Gohmert turned next to Philipps and tried to ask her about Ohden and comparable situations.
“Would you agree that somebody who has survived an abortion, like Melissa Ohden, has a right once she’s born to life, to control over her body where someone else doesn’t take her life?” Gohmert asked.
Philipps thanked Ohden for sharing her story and responded, “Although I played a doctor on television, sir, I am actually not a physician.”
Gohmert said he was aware and pressed the point.
“I think that it’s something that is very important,” Philipps said. “I don’t believe that a politician’s place is to decide what’s best for a woman — it’s a choice between a woman and her doctor.”
Gohmert responded, “What about a baby and the doctor? That’s my question.”
The two spoke again before Gohmert rephrased, “I just wondered how far your feeling about that went. Because once she’s born, would you agree that she is a person in being?”
“I’m not speaking about birth, sir,” Philipps said. “I’m speaking about abortion.”
Gohmert went on to make an apparent reference to Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s controversial comments about late term abortion earlier this year before concluding his time by moving on to an anti-abortion advocate before the committee.
The exchange between the two came as part of a hearing Philipps joined as a witness after speaking out about her decision to have an abortion at age 15 in Arizona. In her opening testimony at the hearing, Philipps pointed out that in the same situation today, she would have had to pass a series of hurdles before an abortion, including parental consent, an in-person counseling session and providing the state a reason why.
“Well, here is mine: it is my body, not the state’s,” Philipps said Tuesday. “Women and their doctors are the ones that are in the best position to make informed decisions about what is best for them. No one else.”