By now I’m sure most of you have read this awful story, about a 13-year-old girl who was hospitalized after self-inducing an abortion with a pencil. The 30-year-old abuser whom news stories insist on calling her “boyfriend” has since been arrested on charges of rape and “concealing the death of a child”.
Everything about this story is absolutely horrifying. As Jill at Feministe points out, it is an awful reminder of just how far we still have to go before abortion is really safe and accessible for everyone. I can only hope that this girl will make a full recovery and live a long, happy life free of abuse and unwanted media attention. I also hope that the other girls and women who find themselves in similar situations have better access to reproductive health care, and to supportive families and communities, and don’t have to take such desperate and dangerous risks in order to maintain some semblance of bodily autonomy.
Not so for Bryan Kemper. This so-called “pro-life” activist wants to remind us that, while rape is bad and stuff, this girl is still an evil baby killer:
“I am sure this story probably has most people wanting to vomit and cry at the same time as their hearts break for this little girl. I would also guess however that many of those same people would not even bat an eye if her method of killing her child had been a RU 486 prescription from the local Planned Parenthood,” Kemper said.
“I would goes as far as saying many would praise her for making such a brave choice,” he added. “The method of killing the child should not matter.”
Apparently, all of us pro-choice folk think that rape is totally okay as long as rape victims have safe abortions (because don’t forget, being pro-choice means you think that everyone should have abortions all the time). I mean, if we really cared about this kid, we’d want her to be forced to undergo nine months of pregnancy and risk her life giving birth to her rapist’s child, right? Right?
And it doesn’t stop there:
“If the girl had gone to Planned Parenthood he would probably still be raping her as I doubt they would have turned him in,” Kemper explained.
Like, this girl had had a regular, safe abortion and hadn’t had to go to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, her rapist would never have been arrested! That’s right: lack of access to reproductive healthcare stops rapists.
Hey, I have a better idea. How about we stop fucking condoning rape and making excuses for rapists and telling women what we can and cannot do with our bodies? That would involve acknowleding that women matter more than the contents of our uteri, though, and I don’t see the “pro-life” crowd adopting that idea anytime soon.
Listen, if I worked at a Planned Parenthood, and a 13-year-old girl came in after being impregnated by a 30-year-old man, of course I’d want to find the child rapist piece of shit who had been abusing her, and have said child rapist locked up for the rest of his pathetic worthless life. But the fact is that this girl probably didn’t get a safe abortion precisely because she was afraid of her abuser being reported to the police. If patients’ confidentiality isn’t respected – even when those patients are obviously experiencing abuse – the most vulnerable members of the population will avoid seeking care when they need it, and many will die or suffer permanent damage as a result. Abuse is complicated, and it cannot be prevented by infringing on people’s privacy, or by denying their rights. Even when those people are children.
I’d go on, but Jill says it much better than I ever could:
We fail girls all the time. We put girls in impossible, heart-wrenching positions. We give girls little autonomy and few options, and then we’re surprised when they act like animals caught in traps.
Predators like Michael James Lisk, her “boyfriend,” are entirely responsible for the crimes they commit. But this girl needed a safety net, and she did not have one.
ETA: Apparently Pennsylvania, where this took place, has a parental consent law for minors seeking abortions. Yet another example of how these laws only put girls at greater risk. (So yes, Jill Stanek, this is your fucking fault.)