Already, I am feeling a bit vindicated about my opinions about the overturning of Roe v. Wade. While the Republican side of the political spectrum has been pushing and preparing for the overturning of Roe for decades, and the Democrats seem to have been caught flat footed, we are already seeing what I believe is the initial collapse of strict abortion bans.
Not long after the overturning was officially announced, a story surfaced of a 10-year-old girl who was raped and had to travel from Ohio, where abortion had just been illegalized, to Indiana to get an abortion. As pointed out by Krystal Ball on Breaking Points (episode behind paywall), the reaction from anti-abortion advocates was very telling. The story initially had flimsy sources, and many reacted with doubt saying there is no way it happened. Luckily for me, I had just written an essay on abortion and statistics were fresh in my mind. I knew that even if the story was fake, it didn’t matter.
Abortions of young girls are statistically rare, but in a country of 330 million people they happen often. According to Abort73.com, which is an anti-abortion organization run by Loxafamosity Ministries, reports that 850,000 – 1,300,000 abortions happen every year in the United States for the past few decades. They also report that 0.2% of abortions are administered to girls under the age of 15. After doing a bit of math, we can estimate that 1,700 – 2,600 girls under the age of 15 are given abortions each year (~4.66/day). I could not find statistics specific to 10-year-olds, but I am comfortable assuming that a large portion of <15-year-old pregnancies are due to rape. Every state that has put a strict ban on all abortions will have at least a few of their young girls each year who have been raped and need to get abortions.
Anti-abortion folks clearly did not think this aspect of the bans through. In my previous essay on abortion, I displayed the results of some polling done by Gallup that indicated only about 21% of people believed that abortion in the case of a pregnancy caused by rape should be illegal. I wonder how much that number would change if the question asked about abortions for girls as young as 10. I suspect it would change a lot because the reaction to the story from anti-abortion advocates was disbelief. They were surprised that this happened so soon after the overturning of Roe, which means they had not considered how often events like this occur. Not only was this story authentic, but there will be a few others just like it before the year concludes.
P.S. I refrained from sharing too many details about the story because it is early and, based on the current reporting, I would not consider all the facts of the case verified. At this point, it seems like a girl (who may have been 9 at the time of the incident) was raped (more than once) by Gerson Fuentes (who may be the girl’s mother’s boyfriend), a 27-year-old illegal immigrant from Guatemala. Fuentes has been arrested and has confessed to his crimes.
- Short Takes: Martha’s Vineyard, Pronouns, Gender Identity
- The Crumbling Case for Abortion Bans
- But I’m Right: An Opinion on Abortion That Everyone Will Hate
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