Why Democratic Congresswomen Wore White at the State of the Union Again

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As nearly the entirety of Congress and other members of government filed into the House floor on Thursday in Washington, D.C., for President Joe Biden’s 2024 State of the Union address, a sea of white outfits was noticeable, as Democratic congresswomen used the opportunity once again to send a message.

In a press release on Wednesday, the Democratic Women’s Caucus announced that many of its members would wear white and don special pins that read “Fighting for Reproductive Freedom” to the event.

“Our message is clear: women must be able to access the health care they need to control their own lives and futures,” DWC Chair Rep. Lois Frankel said in the statement. “That means women, not politicians, should be in charge of whether, when, and how to start or grow their families.”

President Biden Delivers State Of The Union Address
Shawn Thew—Pool/Getty Images

The group has long donned white—a nod to the color of the suffragette movement—at the annual event to raise awareness on issues concerning women’s rights, including in 2019 and in 2020. This year, the women in white are focusing their advocacy on reproductive rights.

“We are standing up for your right to make your own health care decisions including abortion,” Florida Rep. Kathy Castor wrote in a post on X.

Abortion rights—as well as, in recent weeks, in vitro fertilization—have become a hot-button political issue across the nation since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022. Several of the guests invited to attend Biden’s speech on Thursday are people who have been affected by restrictive state laws, including a woman who was denied an abortion in Texas despite being vulnerable to a life-threatening condition and a doctor who was investigated after she performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim. Elizabeth Carr, the first baby born in the U.S. via IVF in 1981, is also in attendance.

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