"I knew that I simply would not be able to go through what I had gone through again." -- Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal
For over 45 years, the National Women's Political Caucus of Washington has worked to recruit, train, and elect pro-choice women to every level of office. Our all-volunteer team, many of us with full-time jobs, families, and other life obligations, keeps returning to this work because we all believe, deeply in our bones, that we are ALL better off when women are elected to office.
Three years ago, the Caucus had the pleasure of supporting Pramila Jayapal in her run for Congress in Washington's 7th district, which represents most of Seattle, Shoreline, Edmonds, and Vashon Island. After decades of serving her community, first an organizer and then as a state senator, Pramila had shown herself to be a champion for women and families and we were eager to support her and help the first woman of color represent this district.
This week, we were so proud to stand with her once again as she bared her soul in a New York Times op-ed about her decision to terminate a pregnancy. Nobody should have to publicly share their very personal stories with the world in order to fight for our right to choose what happens to our bodies. Yet time and again, women are being called upon to speak out because at some level, these stories humanize the issue in a way that citing the Constitution or a Supreme Court decision never will.
Her history and her identity, as a woman, as a mom, as an immigrant, as a person of color, as someone who has had an abortion, all adds up to create this person who leads with bravery and compassion; someone who understands that her role as a legislator is not to impose her own views on others but to protect everyone's rights. She comes from a perspective that quite simply a man can't have. And that's exactly why we support women and why we elect women.
This year, the Caucus is busier than ever as more and more women decide to take the leap and run for office. It's amazing and gratifying -- and a lot of work!
>>> If you're looking for more ways to help elect pro-choice women in Washington, or curious about some of the incredible women running for office across the state this year, come learn more at our Summer Social event and endorsements meeting! We'd love to chat with you.
Constance McBarron is a Caucus board member.