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Raped, Pregnant and 11 Years Old: The Problem with the “Right-to-Life” Movement

| September 5, 2012

abortion rape or incest

When they could fit the mother, or the child. (Marie Smith)

By Mary Jo Melone

Gregory Johns had allegedly committed an unimaginable and depraved act.

The Pinellas County sheriff said the 42-year-old man had raped his girlfriend’s daughter. The girl became pregnant.

She is eleven.

Somehow, this child was unable to “shut that whole thing down,” as Missouri’s Republican congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin famously said last month.

What does he and the right-to-lifers and Tea Partiers who still support him believe? That this child is supposed to make lemonade out of a lemon? Surely, their moral compass points them in the direction of compassion in this case.

Or does it?

florida voices columnists flaglerlive

To borrow from Akin, this is a legitimate question. The Republican Party has long relied on the votes of abortion extremists. This is partly why Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan as his running mate. Now that he has the vice-presidency in his sights, he is deferring to Romney’s more moderate stance—he supports abortion in the case of rape, incest and threats to a mother’s life. At the same time, however, Ryan says he is proud of his record on abortion. He believes in so-called personhood, that life begins at the moment of conception. The GOP platform calls for a constitutional amendment banning abortion; the platform never mentions exceptions, even for 11-year-olds.

This is the problem with the so-called right-to-life movement. It has no real regard for life and its tragedies and complexities: for rape and incest victims of all ages, for teenagers who make mistakes, for women, single and married, who are without the resources, financial or emotional, required to raise a child, or whose contraception failed.

I am still waiting to meet a woman who regards a decision to have an abortion as breezily as a decision to go to the mall for a pair of heels. This is the other problem with the so-called right-to-life movement: it regards women as moral cretins, not just in terms of sexual behavior, but character as well.

And this is the problem with the GOP: for the sake of political advantage, the party feeds off this cruel thinking.

There’s no doubt that this 40-year-long fight over abortion has exhausted us. Decent people can certainly disagree, but it is impossible to reason with people who believe they and they alone occupy the moral high ground, especially when God has told them so. But now and then, pesky reality intrudes and the complexity of abortion is revealed. What provision for a child would a constitutional amendment banning abortion make?

Gregory Johns disappeared in June, after he learned his girlfriend’s daughter was pregnant. According to investigators, he told his girlfriend he was sorry, but it fell to two Pinellas deputies to serve up some rough justice. When they confronted him in a Treasure Island motel last Saturday, he pulled a knife and threatened to kill them. The deputies fired. So far, in public at least, no one has wept for him.

Mary Jo Melone, former columnist with the Tampa Bay Times, is a writer in Tampa.

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45 Responses for “Raped, Pregnant and 11 Years Old: The Problem with the “Right-to-Life” Movement”

  1. Dorothea says:

    Abortion is an issue that needs to be decided by the pregnant woman and her doctor. It is a very private decision, not a government decision. As for religion, there are many religious doctrines on the subject which vary depending on one’s religious beliefs. If your religious beliefs are that abortion is forbidden, than by all means don’t have one. The government and every one of you naysayers have no right to intrude on an individual’s private medical decisions and should not even be asking the question, “WHY?” whether it is an eleven year old rape victim or a 30 year old married woman who was impregnated by her husband. Roe vs. Wade assures woman that they have this right in the first trimester. I agree with this decision.

       5 likes

  2. Karma says:

    Thank You MSFB

       0 likes

  3. Kitty says:

    Abortion is an issue that needs to be decided by the pregnant woman and her doctor. It is a very private decision, not a government decision.

    Abortion needs to be decided by rational people who understand that if my mother is raped and she conceives, then I have a right to live just like anyone else. To say that this is a private decision is like saying; “Lets keep this private, I am going down this street and kill [murder] these people just because they happen to exist at a time and under a set of circumstances where I don’t want them to live any longer”

    It doesn’t matter what they do or don’t do and it doesn’t matter who they are, it just matters that I want them gone. That’s what this debate is about. that’s what this country does to tens of millions of defenseless human beings. We are worse than Hitler and Stalin combined.

       3 likes

  4. JP says:

    Religion makes you stupid…of course they believe a woman can shut downs a rape baby….they believe an 800 year old man built in ark and collected the worlds animals, and a virgin was impregnated by an angel. Stop electing stupid people. If you dont believe in facts, science, and evolution, you are not fit to lead educated people!!

       4 likes

  5. Dorothea says:

    @Kitty

    I am sorry for what your mother had to endure. In another era, and I don’t know how old you are, a pregnant child had to leave school and either hide at home or at an institution for unwed mothers. We don’t know how your well your mother handled her pregnancy since you don’t say much about her plight. Hopefully, she came out of it a stronger woman and with few scars. However, your story is one of many.

    Take for instance a poor woman who is raped, conceives by this rape, and is unable to obtain an abortion. She has two children at home and knows that she will not be able to raise a biracial child in a white family. At the time when abortion was unavaible, this woman would have faced the scorn and derision of an unaccepting society. Wealthier woman could fly off to another country and obtain the abortion she could not afford. So not only is she severely affected, not only is she traumatized by the rape, but her entire family, including her small children who have no understanding of why their mother is hiding and crying in her bedroom, and neglecting their every need. But that is another individual story, and one that actually happened. The child was given to a family where she would be accepted and never even knew that she was unofficially adopted. However, her mother and half siblings carried the scars throughout their lives.

    Your story and mine are just two of minions. That’s why abortion should be a private decision and not a decision that the government, you, or anyone else interferes in.

       1 likes

  6. Kitty says:

    “Your story and mine are just two of minions. That’s why abortion should be a private decision and not a decision that the government, you, or anyone else interferes in. ”

    80 million abortions since Roe vs Wade and all you have to say is this should be a private decision to kill the unborn child? Would you get rid of a biracial human being incapable of defending themselves because you are white? Would you kill your infant children because there are already two children home or that wealthier women could?

    What happens to you in a society that no longer recognizes your right to live because of any of the “reasons” you give for ending a person’s life.?

       2 likes

  7. Dorothea says:

    @Kitty

    I don’t believe that a zygote is a person nor does my religion recognize that a zygote is a person. But I will no longer engage in this discussion as I understand why our disagreement would have an emotionally upsetting impact.

       3 likes

  8. ryan says:

    It does not say whether her the 11 year old was given the morning after pill or not, or if her mother is going to take the risk of the 11 year old’s life is at risk by giving birth. This could kill such a small child and she will have back, hip, organ displacement, and other problems caused from not being able to properly grow. The 11 year old taking a pill is not the same thing as stabbing someone to death, and this is the kind of thing that gives Christians a bad name and image. True Christianity is about compassion and forgiveness, and kindly supporting the child, not calling her a murderer for taking a pill. This has been a twisted intrepretation of murder for some time now.

       1 likes

  9. ryan says:

    I also think that it was ignorant for the author to not mention whether the child has to have the baby or not.

       1 likes

  10. Ridiculous says:

    I think abortion should be outlawed…That way we can bring more unwanted children into this world and further rely on the government to support those “parents” who cannot support themselves let alone their children. Does anyone else see where this is going and just how ridiculous it sounds?

       1 likes

  11. John Boy says:

    Rack this one up for sanity. Life long registered Republican who will vote for every Democrat on the ballot. The Republicans have been taken over by radicals and lost total sight of reality. Probably the worst list of candidates in our countries history.

       3 likes

    • johnny taxpayer says:

      Life long Republican eh? But yet you’re just now realizing the Republican party platform is pro-life? To quote Captain O’Hagan in SuperTroopers, “I’ll believe ya when my shit turns purple and smells like rainbow sherbet”.

         3 likes

  12. Karma says:

    The law will not be changed by today’s Supreme Court nor will it get 3 quarters majority of the states vote. There is no “war on woman” as this administration wants you to believe. But there is definitely a “War on Religion” in this country. What happened last Wednesday night during the DNC was proof of that. To force a vote(did not get 2/3 vote but still passed) to allow the word GOD back in your platform should say a lot. How can someone who attends church support this party? I was taught to attend church to praise god, not to reject him.

       0 likes

  13. Dorothea says:

    @Karma

    The members of the Democratic Platform Committee were not rejecting god, but respecting the many different gods who are worshipped or not worshipped by the citizens of the United States. We are a country that allows not only freedom of religion, but freedom from religion if we so choose. Considering that the Republican National Committee actually did place in their platform the rights of a two celled zygote to live, even if its presence in the uterus of the mother would kill her, I find the DNC’s proposed change far more godly.

       1 likes

  14. Kitty says:

    “I don’t believe that a zygote is a person nor does my religion recognize that a zygote is a person. But I will no longer engage in this discussion as I understand why our disagreement would have an emotionally upsetting impact. ”

    If a zygote is not a human being that is at the earliest stages of development, what else could it possibly be? Fact is, I am still developing at my age and will continue to do so until I die. I have a right not to be discriminated against due to my age or my development as a human being.

    Your view is that a zygote is less than a human being, therefore it is property to be used and disposed of as garbage once you are done with it. Sorry, it’s murder because you kill me if you kill the zygote when I am at that stage.

       0 likes

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