Opinion It’s the cruelty that will undo the forced-birth crusade


HR King
May 29, 2001
By Jennifer Rubin
Columnist |
July 5, 2022 at 7:45 a.m. EDT

When abortion rights advocates accused abortion foes of being disturbingly indifferent to women and even aspiring to cruelly force women to give birth, they were labeled hysterics or exaggerators. But now, just as they were proved correct about the right’s ambition to reverse Roe v. Wade, these advocates can say they had the forced-birth crowd pegged all along. The proof is already here.
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Two Republican governors, Kristi L. Noem of South Dakota and Tate Reeves of Mississippi, were asked on Sunday news talk shows about the case of a 10-year-old girl impregnated by her rapist. Are they really insisting that, regardless of the physical harm that giving birth could cause someone so young, the child be further tormented and forced to have the baby? Yes.
Reeves said these are such a “small, minor” number of cases. He wouldn’t say there should be an exception. Noem defended forced birth, insisting, “I don’t believe a tragic situation should be perpetuated by another tragedy.” The tragedy of forcing a 10-year-old to undergo a pregnancy and the pain of childbirth does not register with Noem.
These are not anomalies. Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn (R) said, soon after the decision overturning Roe was announced, that, in his view, a 12-year-old impregnated by incest should be forced to complete her pregnancy. Herschel Walker, a Republican nominee for Senate in Georgia, would agree apparently since he wants no exceptions. Not even to save the woman’s life. Ohio state Rep. Jean Schmidt has called forcing a 13-year-old rape victim to give birth an “opportunity.”

Indeed, the number of states contemplating abortion bans with no exception for rape or incest might shock you. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards — a Democrat — just signed an abortion law with no exception for rape or incest. In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) seemed open to making an exception, but its absence won’t slow down implementation of the abortion ban in his state.
The New York Times reports, “There are no allowances 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 obtain an abortion, something virtually impossible for incest victims and others who live in fear of their attackers.
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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 unbelievable trauma of sexual violence.
But it gets worse. Many states no longer consider exceptions for the health of the woman or create dangerous uncertainty that puts her life at risk. In the real medical world, where doctors and patients make decisions based on probabilities, the result of such abortion laws can be deadly for women. If abortion is legal only with the “imminent” risk of death, women can be left in peril, facing what can become fatal complications later in pregnancy — when the chances of survival have declined.
In Tennessee, for example, doctors are supposed to prove the woman couldn’t have lived without an abortion. (They must prove “the abortion was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”)
NBC News reports:
Arizona’s 15-week abortion ban provides exceptions for emergencies when continuing the pregnancy will “create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” for the mother. Oklahoma’s recent ban, the most restrictive in the country, is focused on life-threatening situations.
Mental health is almost never seen as enough of a reason to justify an abortion under the laws, said Carol Sanger, professor of law at Columbia University and the author of “About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in 21st-Century America.”
Republican candidates for governor in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and joined with antiabortion groups to seek bans “that would not allow the procedure even if the mother’s health were endangered,” The Post reports.
Forced-birth advocates can hardly be called “pro-life” when they are willing to gamble with the lives and health of women. To say women will die because of abortion laws or will suffer untold harm, both mental and physical, is not hyperbole. It’s reality for women who are now deprived of the right to make their own decision about their health and even their lives.
When you treat women like less than competent adults, and insist that others, who may have little or no competency, weigh the risks to her health and life, you wind up not with a culture of life but a culture of devaluing women’s lives.



Jun 22, 2021
No different than the don't say gay bill. The hyperbole only serves those that are telling the lie.

Abortion isn't going away
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HR Legend
Oct 22, 2003
A very small percentage of women carry past the 15 week mark as stated in the Dobbs case.
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HR Legend
Aug 10, 2006
I think what will inflluence the public is the criminalization of medical practice and the heightened government surveilence of medical medical services.

Doctors and hospitals in total ban states are now in jeopardy. Its practically inevitable- doctors will be arrested for performing a medical procedure, most likely an emergency, in a case where they believed termination was necessary in order to protect the life of the mother.

In states where rape/incest and/or life of the mother is permitted. Prosecutors will be second guessing medical practitioners by challenging the legitimacy (legality) of the decision to terminate for that reason. Rape and incest victims will be under the metaphorical gun to "prove" their pregnancy resulted from rape..

Then there is this whole question of when to start the pregnancy clock for any jurisdiction with a hard legal cut-off date of XX number of days.

Its a quagmire and its going to get messy. A legal mindfield awaits medical service providers and pregnant women in many states.
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HR All-American
Gold Member
Aug 10, 2010
Lake rimmed cities of the midwestern states
A legal mindfield awaits medical service providers and pregnant women in many states.
If intentional this is an excellent WOB.

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HR Legend
Gold Member
Jul 10, 2002
A very small percentage of women carry past the 15 week mark as stated in the Dobbs case.

Yep, and in most cases, women who carry past the 1st trimester are intending to give birth.

I'm fine with figuring out a time in which it makes sense to ban abortions at will, ex figuring out when the fetus will be viable outside the womb and banning them just prior to that point. However, past that date, doing what most European countries do and allowing them in the case of health/life of the mother, if child dies in womb, etc.

Even with the bans many states are instituting, what makes them not about life, but about control, is not allowing them in the case of rape, ectopic pregnancy etc, also allowing investigating miscarriages. There has to be common sense and empathy with this. Many in the GOP have neither, which is the point.

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