As a record-breaking storm flooded the Northeast, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) rode it out by tackling another crisis brewing across the country: She held a fundraiser to stand up for abortion rights in Texas, where a near-total ban went into effect on Wednesday.
The fundraiser, which AOC hosted on Instagram Live, was to benefit the Houston-based Clinic Access Support Network of Texas. “Thank you for fighting for reproductive rights for all of us!” the organization tweeted on Wednesday night.
Ocasio-Cortez also called on her fellow Democrats to protect abortion rights and Roe v. Wade by abolishing the filibuster and expanding the Supreme Court. “This shouldn’t be a difficult decision,” the progressive lawmaker added.
This isn’t the first time AOC has helped out those suffering in Texas: In February, after winter storms battered the state, she raised $4 million dollars in relief funds for residents. (Meanwhile, Texas senator Ted Cruz fled to Cancún.)
The total amount fundraised on Wednesday hasn’t been publicized by AOC’s team or by Clinic Access Support Network, but former Working Families Party staffer Rafael Shimunov shared a screenshot of AOC’s Live, captioned, “So @AOC just raised $26K for @casnhtx abortion fund on her IG live during a tornado warning while enlightening viewers on the broader social safety net we owe each other.”
The storm served as a reminder of the dangers to our safety net. The tornado warnings across the area coincided with New York City’s first-ever flash flood emergency warning and a record 3.15 inches of rainfall on Central Park in just one hour, surpassing the previous record set just a week and a half ago during Hurricane Henri. Record-breaking rains and flash flooding brought by the tail end of Ida killed at least nine people in New York City last night.
Death totals across the impacted areas of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are still being tallied, but NBC is reporting at least 22 casualties from the impacted areas. Experts called the rainfall a once-in-200-years event — now known as “any average Wednesday.”
Videos of damage and flooding swamped social media: floating bags of garbage, flooded subway stations, submerged cars, trapped buses, major roadways turned into swimming pools, and basement apartments turned into death traps. This morning, footage out of Rhode Island showed storm damage cracking apart a road, and the Vine Street Expressway in Philadelphia underwater.
Ocasio-Cortez took the opportunity to condemn her fellow politicians who have treated the Green New Deal — a comprehensive framework that addresses infrastructure, jobs, and the social safety net as climate issues — with dismissal. “Experiencing all this flooding in NYC right now and thinking about all the politicians who told me that pursuing a Green New Deal to adapt our nat’l infrastructure to climate change is ‘unrealistic’ & ‘too expensive,’” AOC tweeted during the storm. “As if doing too little is the responsible, adult thing to do?”