In a truly unconscionable move, anti-abortion groups are insisting that a 10-year-old girl who was raped and impregnated should have carried her pregnancy to term.
The poor child in question is from Ohio, where abortion access was severely restricted upon the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade in June. The law does not allow exceptions for victims of rape or incest. The 10-year-old girl and her family were forced to cross state lines so she could obtain the procedure in Indiana, The Indianapolis Star reported earlier this month.
The horrific story of what befell this young girl gained national attention and was even referenced by President Joe Biden. Unsurprisingly, anti-choice groups, lawmakers, and political pundits used this 10-year-old rape victim as a talking point to further their political agenda. Since the young girl’s age is so startling, some conservatives initially questioned whether she actually exists. The Wall Street Journal even ran an op-ed about the case titled, “An Abortion Story Too Good to Confirm.”
Skeptics were later proved wrong after a 27-year-old Ohio man was arrested and charged with raping the young girl, and a doctor in Indiana reported terminating her pregnancy to the state. But instead of letting this school-age child begin to heal after the traumatic incident, one anti-abortion group pivoted to the unthinkable: maintaining that the 10-year-old rape victim should have continued with her pregnancy and been forced to give birth.
In a baffling press statement, the group Ohio Right to Life commended the arrest of the girl’s rapist — and called her abortion “a band-aid solution that only added to the pain and violence perpetuated against her.”
In this group’s view, terminating a pregnancy is comparable to the “pain and violence” of being raped and impregnated as a child. Meanwhile, medical experts say that carrying to term poses serious health risks for pregnant children and teens, whose bodies often aren’t fully matured. Unconditionally supporting such pregnancies doesn’t sound very “pro-life” to me.
Sadly, this young girl’s story is not unique. While it is difficult to estimate how many underage children and teens are impregnated each year, such cases are not as rare as people think, according to The New York Times. In Ohio alone, more than 52 girls under the age of 15 sought abortions in 2020. There’s no telling how many other young people will be impacted by similarly prohibitive abortion laws in other states throughout the United States.
It should go without saying, but abortion is health care, not violence. Anyone who wants this procedure should be able to access it without having to travel to another state. If that were still the case, this 10-year-old girl could be moving on with her life; instead, the most traumatic incident of her young life is being rehashed and weaponized left and right.
If you’ve been waiting for a sign to join the fight for abortion rights, this is it.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, harassment or violence, you can get help. To speak with someone who is trained to help with these situations, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.
Normalizing abortion as healthcare is something we can all do. Here are some powerful stories from celebrities who have been doing that work: