In another instance of outrageous comparisons, the Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos felt emboldened to compare the opposition of abortion to the ending of slavery in America. U.S. representative Ayanna Pressley was not having it.
According to The Hill, DeVos was speaking at an event for Colorado Christian University in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday when she made the statement. This is where she put the Trump administration’s opposition to slavery side-by-side with the ending of slavery under former President Abraham Lincoln’s administration.
“[Lincoln] too contended with the pro-choice arguments of his day. They suggested that a state’s choice to be slave or to be free had no moral question in it,” DeVos said. “Well, President Lincoln reminded those pro-choicers that is a vast portion of the American people that do not look upon that matter as being this very little thing. They look upon it as a vast moral evil.”
There was more.
“Lincoln was right about the slavery ‘choice’ then, and he would be right about the life ‘choice’ today,” she said. “Because as it’s been said: Freedom is not about doing what we want. Freedom is about having the right to do what we ought.”
Representative Pressley of Massachusetts couldn’t deal. She responded to DeVos’ abortion and slavery comparison with a tweet.
“Dear Betsy,” she started. “As a Black woman & the Chair of the abortion access task force, I invite you to come by the Hill and say this to my face. Would welcome the opportunity to educate you. Regards, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley.”
Pressley has been one of the most vocal advocates of abortion rights and contraceptive access in Congress, according to Vox. For example, she’s been a staunch advocate in repealing the Hyde amendment, which bans federal funding for most abortions, including Medicaid for low-income Americans. Pressley has also introduced the Affordability Is Access Act, along with Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which would make sure birth control remains copay-free if it becomes over-the-counter.
Meanwhile, the comparison of abortion to slavery isn’t a new thing. Last year, a Michigan GOP lawmaker, Mike Shirkey, also received backlash from Democrats when he said abortion is comparable to “the scourge we endured when we still had slavery in this country.”
In her speech to Colorado Christian University, DeVos doubled down, “There are many in the pro-life movement who heroically work to make abortion unconstitutional. Tonight, let’s talk about making it unthinkable.”