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Henry Cuellar

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) speaks about southern border security as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) listens during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on July 30, 2021. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

First Stop for Cuellar After FBI Raid? An Anti-Choice Event

"Despite being under an FBI investigation," said progressive primary challenger Jessica Cisneros, the congressman from Texas "has once again proven that nothing can stop him from opposing our reproductive rights and freedoms."

Brett Wilkins

Embattled U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar came under fire Friday following revelations that the right-wing Texas Democrat spoke before an anti-choice group just one day after FBI agents raided his home and campaign offices—and a day before the anniversary of the Supreme Court's imperiled Roe v. Wade reproductive rights ruling.

"South Texans deserve better than a corrupt politician that stands in the way of protecting and expanding reproductive health care."

According to Black Catholic Messenger's Nate Tinner-Williams, Cuellar—who is the last anti-choice House Democrat—remotely addressed the Democrats for Life annual March for Life breakfast in Washington, D.C. Tinner-Williams said Cuellar will receive the Democrats for Life of America's Legislator of the Year Award "for his defense of life from womb to tomb."

Cuellar's speech was reportedly his first public appearance since his Laredo home and campaign offices were raided by FBI agents on Wednesday. According to reports, the raid is part of a federal probe of U.S. businesspeople with ties to the country of Azerbaijan.

The appearance also came amid fresh reporting by The Intercept that longtime Cuellar aide Colin Strother and anti-choice extremists teamed up to launch a dark money group last September, and that Strother may have run afoul of campaign finance laws by taking money from the organization while it sponsored ads targeting Democratic primary challenger Jessica Cisneros.

Cisneros, a progressive immigration and human rights attorney who has launched a primary challenge for Cuellar's congressional seat, said in a statement Friday that "despite being under an FBI investigation, Henry Cuellar has once again proven that nothing can stop him from opposing our reproductive rights and freedoms."

"On the eve of the Roe v. Wade anniversary with our reproductive rights hanging by a thread, it is alarming that he would spend his time being awarded by an anti-choice, right-wing group that defends the Texas abortion ban and opposes our right to abortion care," Cisneros added. "South Texans deserve better than a corrupt politician that stands in the way of protecting and expanding reproductive health care."

Speaking at the Democrats for Life event, Cuellar reportedly told his audience: "It's not only protecting the unborn, but it's also protecting every life from womb to tomb. Your defense should be clear and firm and passionate."

According to Cisneros' campaign, Cuellar "has repeatedly co-sponsored anti-choice legislation with Republicans, supported Trump-era restrictions on abortion and reproductive healthcare, and was the only Democrat to vote in favor of the discriminatory Hyde amendment this Congress."

"After Texas passed the most extreme abortion ban in the country last year, Henry Cuellar was the only Democrat to vote against the Women's Health Protection Act, which protects the constitutional right to abortion against anti-choice bans like Texas' SB8," the campaign added.

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