Chrissy Houlahan admits her three daughters are terrified by the loss of reproductive rights

Chrissy Houlahan

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) speaks during a press conference on new legislation to support Holocaust education nationwide at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 27, 2023 in Washington, DC. A bipartisan group of House Members held the press conference to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day and share their stories about their Jewish family members or Jewish constituents in their district. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

By Bonnie Fuller

June 21, 2024

Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan opens up about her daughters losing their reproductive rights and what the stakes of the 2024 election are in a recent interview with The Keystone.

The results of the 2024 election aren’t just about politics for US Rep Chrissy Houlahan, they are deeply personal. Houlahan may be the congresswoman representing Pensylvania’s 6th congressional district, but she is also the mom of three daughters.

Now, she fears for their futures if Donald Trump is elected, she told The Keystone in an exclusive interview. 

“They’re in their thirties or almost. My youngest is turning 30 next month. They are horrified and terrified,” she shared with The Keystone.

“My youngest daughter lives in Texas, and it definitely affects her mindset all the way down to her plans on having kids – where she plans to live. I think that is a motivating thing for that generation. Certainly.”

That’s because Donald Trump is “proud” that “he killed” Roe v. Wade, as he has said many times. He did this by nominating three far-right justices to the Supreme Court who overturned the 50-year landmark ruling which legalized abortion in America.

He’s now announced that he is looking at “restrictions” for birth control and in his plan for governing if elected, called Project 2025, outlines how he can end abortion nationwide and cut access to contraception and IVF.

As if that isn’t enough to heighten Houlahan’s motherly concerns, Senate Republicans just voted down The Right To Contraception Act, which would have protected contraception nationally. 

But it isn’t just the assault on reproductive freedom that deeply worries Houlahan, who is up for reelection this year. She warns Pennsylvanians that these attacks target the status of women as equals in American society in a very broad sense.

They “promise a sort of erosion of our standing as women equal to men,” she said. “And there’s a promise of erosion of rights for other people who don’t happen to be, frankly, white Christian men.”

“That’s incredibly worrisome, which is why I’m so determined to continue to participate in explaining what the stakes are and why this (the 2024 election) is so important for all of us.”

Houlahan, who epitomizes what so many American women have accomplished as equals in the past decades, is committed to fighting far-right efforts that look to reverse years of progress.

She earned an engineering degree from Stanford, a master’s degree from MIT, served a long career in the Air Force before becoming a science teacher, led a non profit focused on improving childhood literacy, and then finally ran for Congress.

Now she urges Pennsylvanians and all Americans not to “separate” themselves into “categories.” When it comes to the issue of reproductive freedom and government, she emphasizes that it’s not just an “issue for women.”

“I think it’s genuinely an issue for families, for economies and for the stability of our nation not to be going backwards,” she said. “If we discount, by demeaning 51% of our population, our economy won’t be working the way that it needs to work either.”

“You’re not going to have the benefit of the brains and bodies of women.”

She also reminds Pennsylvanians that while abortion may still be legal in their state today, that could very well change. In fact, she noted, it could be “only an election away. It could change with a governor’s election, it could change with an election in the House and the Senate.”

“This is about choice in all its forms and the idea that this possibility of a Trump administration would give us less rights and freedoms, than we have. That just doesn’t seem to be intuitively what we as Pennsylvanians or Americans are looking for.”

It may not be what Pennsylvanians want, but it could very well be what Houlahan’s constituents get if Trump is returned to the presidency in November.

It was Trump’s election in 2016 and then the massive Women’s March on January 21, 2017, the day following Trump’s inauguration, that propelled Houlahan to first run for Congress. Now, she says she’s even more motivated to represent her 6th congressional district, for the fourth time.

“I did this because of a real concern for democracy and our nation. And I continue to have that same anxiety and concern with the possibility that President Trump would come into a second term,” she explained.

“And particularly because I am from Pennsylvania, which is of course a really important state for the possibility of winning the House and also keeping President Biden in office.” 

Houlahan wants Pennsylvanians to realize that this election isn’t just about issues like the economy and immigration, it’s about the very unique nightmare that Trump represents with his threats to the existence of democracy itself.

He has promised to become a “dictator on day one,” and threatened to weaponize the Justice department to charge President Biden, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and all other of his perceived enemies, with crimes. 

He told top fossil fuel company executives that he will end all of Biden’s policies and regulations to protect the climate and environment in exchange for a $1 billion donation to his campaign.

He plans to take revenge on members of the free press, whose coverage he doesn’t like, invoke the Insurrection Act on day one to use the military to prevent peaceful protests against his administration, will deport 15 to  20 million immigrants – many of whom are here legally – and replace the Affordable Care Act. 

“Former President Trump’s vision for another term is really bleak and very dark and frankly pretty darn scary all the way down to using terms like Reich”, which Trump also did recently, shares Houlahan.

His Truth Social account shared a video referring to an American “unified reich”, which would happen if he was re-elected.

“Reich” means “realm” or ‘empire” and is highly associated with Hitler’s “Third Reich” and his murderous regime which launched the Second World War.

President Biden clapped back after this with his own video stating: “A unified Reich?’ That’s Hitler’s language, that’s not America’s. He cares about holding on to power. I care about you.”

Houlahan also warns that a second Trump term “would be a return to things like the Muslim ban, a more hateful agenda to the rest of the world, not just immigrants and refugees. I think he has demonstrated that he is good for his word and his words are pretty darn ominous and threatening.”

“I’m convinced that if he were able to return to office he would undermine a lot of the institutions in this country and undermine our position on the world stage as well.”

Trump has in fact, promised his supporters that he would bring back and expand the ban on Muslims entering the country and has also vowed to bar the entry of any refugees fleeing Gaza.

Houlahan says that this is why Democrats must flip the House this November. 

Houlahan is frustrated by the experience of being part of the Republican controlled  118th “Do Nothing” Congress, which has passed only about 34 bills to date – the least productive Congress since the Civil War.

Nevertheless, she vows to continue to speak with her electorate with “civility” and “decency” and doesn’t want to “alienate people who still may be attracted to President Trump by making them feel less than somebody else. They clearly are seeing something that is inaccurate and it’s my job to make sure that they see the alternative,” she tells The Keystone.

Serving all Americans, regardless of their political preferences, was one of the reasons that she joined the Air Force, where her brother, dad and grandfather were military pilots.

“I wanted to be an astronaut and I thought that the vast majority of astronauts at the time had a military heritage and also were pilots so my intent was to be a pilot,” she recounts.

However, after meeting her husband Bart she realized that the lifestyle of an Air Force pilot would be difficult to commit to.

Instead she became an engineer and worked on the Strategic Defense Initiative and the Air Defense Initiative, which she describes as a sort of “ Star Wars to protect us from ballistic missile attack.”

Asked about whether she believes the non- partisan military would remain loyal to their pledge to support the Constitution – if a future Donald Trump ordered it to attack American civilians on his behalf – she remains hopeful.

“I think the institution, the military, is strong. I think its leadership is strong and understands its responsibility to the Constitution,” she says.

But, she admits  “you’re not wrong to be anxious about the possibility of President Trump trying to change that.”

As for her district’s most famous native – Taylor Swift, who was born in West Reading and grew up in Wyomissing, Houlahan is a fan.

“I admire almost everything about her,” Houlahan said. “I think she’s an incredibly talented artist and businesswoman. And I wish that Taylor Swift, the person, would help us understand the stakes. I know that Taylor Swift has in the past stepped out from neutrality and has weighed in and I do hope that she does it this time too!.”



Author

  • Bonnie Fuller

    Bonnie Fuller is the former CEO & Editor-in-Chief of HollywoodLife.com, and the former Editor-in-Chief of Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, USWeekly and YM. She now writes about politics and reproductive rights. She can be followed on her Substack at: BonnieFuller1 ‘Your Body, Your Choice.

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