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Ocasio-Cortez says ‘we need men to be speaking up’ about abortion rights

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is seen during a press conference on Thursday, May 19, 2022 to discuss the Puerto Rico Status Act.
Greg Nash
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is seen during a press conference on Thursday, May 19, 2022 to discuss the Puerto Rico Status Act.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said that men needed to advocate for women in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

In an interview with GQ published online Wednesday, the progressive firebrand said that it takes groups that aren’t affected by an issue to speak up for those who are often marginalized.

“But we know that when white folks take up space and say the right thing in rooms of other white people, that is the most shifting activity that can happen, more sometimes than any protest or any person writing a letter to the editor or anything like that. And we need men to be speaking up in that way as well,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

“But I think men, sometimes they think, I’m not a woman. This doesn’t affect me the most.”

Her comments were part of a sweeping feature in GQ, highlighting her ascension as a leading progressive on Congress, her struggles with both parties and the recent overturning of Roe.

Ocasio-Cortez said that men are also adversely impacted by the patriarchy, adding that they, too, benefit from the advancement of women’s rights, like the right to abortion.

“For almost every woman that has gotten an abortion, there’s a man who has either been affected or liberated by that abortion too,” Ocasio-Cortez said. 

She also cited higher completed suicide rates and lower counts of doctor visits among men, underscoring a societal “stigma around men being vulnerable” that she asserted holds both men and women back.

“In this moment it’s really only going to be the vulnerability of men, and men talking to other men, that gives us the greatest hope of shifting things the fastest, soonest,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

The second-term congresswoman, who rocketed to political stardom when she ousted incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in the state’s 2018 Democratic primary, also responded to a question about running for president.

Her experience as a congresswoman, she told GQ, showed her “how deeply and unconsciously, as well as consciously, so many people in this country hate women” and women of color in particular. 

“People ask me questions about the future. And realistically, I can’t even tell you if I’m going to be alive in September. … And it’s not just the right wing. Misogyny transcends political ideology: left, right, center. This grip of patriarchy affects all of us, not just women; men, as I mentioned before, but also, ideologically, there’s an extraordinary lack of self-awareness in so many places.”

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