South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace is no stranger to the spotlight. She made history when she became the first woman to graduate from The Citadel military college, and Sunday she’s back in the news for her comments on abortion bans.
Speaking with CNN’s Dana Bash, Mace commented, “I’m pro-life, I have a fantastic pro-life voting record, but I also understand that we cannot be a–holes to women.”
Mace opened up on this morning’s edition of “State of the Union” about being raped at age 16, a traumatizing experience that pushed her to drop out of high school. She said, “When that happens, you don’t blame the man that does that. You blame yourself.”
“‘Were my shorts too short? Was my shirt too tight? Why did that happen, why did that person think it was OK to attack me in that way?’” Mace continued, voicing the thoughts that ran through her head at the time.
The congresswoman is still impacted by the experience decades later. When asked if she now understands as a grown woman that blaming herself is “way off base,” Mace was heartbreakingly honest.
“Sometimes,” she told Bash. “I think telling my story got me to get through that — but I will tell you, being a victim of rape, you don’t ever get over it.”
“Sometimes, emotionally, I’m like a 16-year-old girl,” she concluded. “I can be very vocal about things because I still feel that shame and that anger.”
Mace revealed she is a victim of rape in 2019 while abortion was being debated in her home state, and told Bash that her experience is why she pushes for exceptions from total abortion bans to this day.
“As a Republican woman today in 2023, this is a very lonely place to be. Because I feel like I am the only woman on our side of the aisle advocating for things that all women should care about,” she continued.
Mace also asked Bash a poignant question: “What are we doing to ensure [women] don’t have to make that decision? What are we doing about the foster care system? What are we doing about childcare? We’re doing none of those things.”
When it comes to other pro-life Republicans who represent moderate districts, Mace said, “I think they’re walking the plank.”
Watch the interview with Dana Bash and Nancy Mace in the video above.