116th Congress

9 Inspiring Women Elected To The 116th Congress

Beginning their congressional terms this January, a group of refined and educated women is inspiring the nation.

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The 2018 midterm election was unlike any other midterm election in history. A nation held its breath in anticipation after heading to the polls in droves, the likes of which had never been seen before, waiting for the first signs of change. Upon the votes being counted, victories swept the nation, turning the 116th Congress into the most diverse and representative congress in American history. Contributing to this record-breaking group of people are 127 women, nine of whom are newly sworn-in and ready to begin changing the world.

1. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is making history as the youngest woman to be elected to Congress. 

alexandria ocasio-cortex

Representing New York's 14th District, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been sworn in as the youngest woman in Congress at the age of 29. Ocasio-Cortez's platform is one that advocates for gun control, a peace economy, and criminal justice reform, as well as rights for the working class, such as universal healthcare and fair housing.

2. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib become the first Muslim women elected to Congress. 

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar

Representing Minnesota's 5th District and Michigan's 16th District respectively, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib enter Washington, D.C as the nation's first Muslim women elected to Congress. Both Congresswomen advocate for human rights, environmental protection, and Medicare as a form of universal healthcare.

3. Ayanna Pressley becomes the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress from Massachusetts. 

Ayanna Pressley

Representing the 7th District of Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley becomes her state's first African-American woman to be elected to Congress. Among Pressley's campaign promises are creating healthy communities via gun control and environmental protection, empowering women and small businesses to create a fair economy, and fighting for those communities under fire by hateful rhetoric.

4. Veronica Escobar joins Sylvia Garcia as the first Latina women elected to Congress from Texas. 

Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia

Representing Texas' 16th and 29th congressional districts respectively, Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia become the first Latina women to represent their state in Congress. Escobar is a passionate advocate for values such as immigration reform, environmental protection, and improving the quality of life for veterans, senior citizens, the disabled, and working families. Garcia is a strong supporter of these issues and more, such as healthcare and equal rights for women and the LGBT community.

5. Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids become the first Native American women elected to Congress. 

Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids

Representing New Mexico's 1st and Kansas's 3rd congressional districts, Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids join Congress as its first female Native American representatives. Haaland and Davids share similar platforms, including issues such as equality and equity for working families, women, and the LGBT communities.

6. Lauren Underwood is the youngest African-American woman to be elected to Congress. 

Lauren Underwood

Representing Illinois's 14th congressional district, Lauren Underwood became the youngest African-American women in Congress at 32 years old. Underwood is passionate about reducing gun violence, improving public education, protecting the environment, and defending immigrants.

These women, with their passion for change and love for humanity, have already begun to change the course of this nation with their election to Congress. Bolstered by their supporters and magnified by their talent, intelligence, and determination, the newly-elected women of the 116th Congress will remind their constituents and the rest of the United States of the power that fresh minds, diverse minds, represented minds can have on history and humanity as a whole.

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I Might Have Aborted My Fetus When I Was 18, But Looking Back, I Saved A Child’s Life

It may have been one of the hardest decisions of my life, but I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't had done it.

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Due to recent political strife happening in the world today, I have decided to write on a very touchy, difficult subject for me that only a handful of people truly know.

When I was 18 years old, I had an abortion.

I was fresh out of high school, and deferring college for a year or two — I wanted to get all of my immature fun out so I was prepared to focus and work in the future. I was going through my hardcore party stage, and I had a boyfriend at the time that truly was a work of art (I mean truly).

Needless to say, I was extremely misinformed on sex education, and I never really thought it could happen to me. I actually thought I was invincible to getting pregnant, and it never really registered to me that if I had unprotected sex, I could actually get pregnant (I was 18, I never said I was smart).

I remember being at my desk job and for weeks, I just felt so nauseous and overly tired. I was late for my period, but it never really registered to me something could be wrong besides just getting the flu — it was November, which is the peak of flu season.

The first person I told was my best friend, and she came with me to get three pregnancy tests at Target. The first one came negative, however, the second two came positive.

I truly believe this was when my anxiety disorder started because I haven't been the same ever since.

Growing up in a conservative, Catholic Italian household, teen pregnancy and especially abortion is 150% frowned upon. So when I went to Planned Parenthood and got the actual lab test done that came out positive, I was heartbroken.

I felt like I was stuck between two roads: Follow how I was raised and have the child, or terminate it and ultimately save myself AND the child from a hard future.

My boyfriend at the time and I were beyond not ready. That same week, I found out he had cheated on me with his ex and finances weren't looking so great, and I was starting to go through the hardest depression of my life. Because of our relationship, I had lost so many friends and family, that I was left to decide the fate of both myself and this fetus. I could barely take care of myself — I was drinking, overcoming drug addictions, slightly suicidal and living with a man who didn't love me.

As selfish as you may think this was, I terminated the fetus and had the abortion.

I knew that if I had the child, I would be continuing the cycle in which my family has created. My goal since I was young was to break the cycle and breakaway from the toxicity in how generations of children in my family were raised. If I had this child, I can assure you my life would be far from how it is now.

If I had carried to term, I would have had a six-year old, and God knows where I would've been.

Now, I am fulfilling my future by getting a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, having several student leadership roles, and looking into law schools for the future.

Although it still haunts me, and the thought of having another abortion truly upsets me, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I get asked constantly "Do you think it's just to kill a valuable future of a child?" and my response to that is this:

It's in the hands of the woman. She is giving away her valuable future to an unwanted pregnancy, which then resentment could cause horror to both the child and the woman.

As horrible as it was for me in my personal experience, I would not be where I am today: a strong woman, who had overcome addiction, her partying stage, and ultimately got her life in order. If I would have had the child, I can assure you that I would have followed the footsteps of my own childhood, and the child would not have had an easy life.

Because of this, I saved both my life and the child's life.

And if you don't agree or you dislike this decision, tough stuff because this is my body, my decision, my choice — no one else.

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