Reviews | Advocates of forced births show how barbaric their position is
Two Republican governors, Kristi L. Noem of South Dakota and Tate Reeves of Mississippi, were interviewed on talk shows on Sunday about the case of a 10-year-old girl pregnant with her rapist. Do they really insist that whatever physical harm childbirth might cause someone so young that the child be further tormented and forced to have the baby? Yes.
Reeves said it was a “small, minor” number of cases. He wouldn’t say there should be an exception. Noem defended the forced birth, insisting: “I don’t believe that a tragic situation should be perpetuated by another tragedy. The tragedy of forcing a 10-year-old child into pregnancy and the pain of childbirth does not register with Noem.
These are not anomalies. Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn (R) said shortly after the ruling was overturned deer was announced that, in his opinion, a 12-year-old girl pregnant with incest should be forced to terminate her pregnancy. Herschel Walker, a Republican Senate candidate in Georgia, would apparently agree since he wants Nope exceptions. Not even to save the woman’s life. Ohio State Rep. Jean Schmidt called it an “opportunity” to force a 13-year-old rape victim to give birth.
Indeed, the number of states that are considering banning abortion without exception for rape or incest might shock you. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards – a Democrat – just signed an abortion law with no exceptions for rape or incest. In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (right) seemed willing to make an exception, but his absence will not slow the implementation of the abortion ban in his state.
The New York Times reports: “There are no benefits for victims of rape or incest in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee or Texas. In Idaho, a woman would have to file a police report to get an abortion, something virtually impossible for incest victims and others who live in fear of their abusers.
The monstrous cruelty of such bills shows how little many conservatives care about the well-being of women and girls who have already experienced the incredible trauma of sexual violence.
But it’s getting worse. Many states no longer consider exceptions for women’s health or create dangerous uncertainty. In the real medical world, where doctors and patients make decisions based on probability, the outcome of such abortion laws can be deadly for women. If abortion is only legal with the “imminent” risk of death, women may be left at risk of what can become life-threatening complications later in pregnancy – when chances of survival have diminished.
In Tennessee, for example, doctors are supposed to prove that the woman could not have lived without an abortion. (They must prove that “the abortion was necessary to avoid the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”)
Arizona’s 15-week abortion ban provides exceptions for emergencies when continuing the pregnancy “will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” to the mother. Oklahoma’s recent ban, the most restrictive in the nation, focuses on life-threatening situations.
Mental health is almost never considered sufficient reason to warrant an abortion under the laws, said Carol Sanger, a Columbia University law professor and author of “About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in 21st-Century America.” .
Republican gubernatorial candidates from Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and have joined anti-abortion groups in calling for bans “that would not allow the procedure even if the mother’s health was at risk,” reports The Post.
Advocates of forced births can hardly be called “pro-life” when they are willing to gamble with women’s lives and health. To say that women will die because of abortion laws or suffer untold harm, both mental and physical, is not hyperbole. This is a reality for women who are now denied the right to make their own decisions about their health and even their lives.
When you treat women as less than competent adults and insist that others, who may have little or no skills, assess the risks to her health and life, you end up with not a culture of life but a culture of devaluing women’s lives.