Sole Black Woman To Speak At Abortion Bill Hearing Has Mic Cut Off And Is Asked To Leave
Cherisse Scott, who is the CEO of SisterReach, was the only Black woman to speak during the hearing.
August 23, 2019 at 1:39 pm
Not a lie was told by Cherisse Scott before she was censored during the Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week on a bill that would essentially ban abortions.
Vice reports Scott, who is the CEO of reproductive justice organization SisterReach, was the only Black woman present at the hearing. She schooled the committee on America’s white supremacist history and legacy of blocking Black women’s bodily agency before her mic was cut and she was asked to leave.
As Scott addressed the committee, Judiciary Chair Mike Bell interrupted her, stating, “You’ve gone way off subject,” while other committee members left the room. After having her mic turned off, Scott was escorted out of the room, and Bell called for a recess.
According to Nashville Public Radio, during the recess, Scott questioned, “You want to make sure abortions are decreased? Then it's your responsibility to work with me. Me. A Black woman. A Black woman who doesn't want to see other Black women die. Another Black woman who doesn't want to see people fall down the stairs, drinking bleach, trying not to die.”
The reproductive justice supporter told Vice that she submitted her talking points to the committee weeks ahead of the hearing. Also, as one of the last speakers during the hearing, Scott’s time was cut short, while previous speakers ran over the 10-minute time limit.
“I went into last week’s testimony with an understanding that I had a responsibility to lift up the voices of people who had been ignored or abandoned in Tennessee,” Scott said. “As well as those who live in the states surrounding ours, and depend on Tennessee to access their reproductive freedom.”
Bell’s office has not responded to requests for comment. On Wednesday, Scott was joined in support by State Senator Katrina Robinson and members of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi.
“We have to be able to look at this issue for what it is, a health disparity in a state that has not committed to health care reform,” Scott told ABC 24.
You can read Scott’s full statement here.