Say everything in Ohio

Step back into the Middle Ages

It's not a hypothetical case: an 11-year-old girl in Ohio reported a 26-year-old man for rape the week before last. She said to the police that he raped her several times and she is now pregnant by him. Her lawyer says she doesn't want to have the child. She is neither physically nor emotionally capable of doing this. But Ohio is one of the seven American states that have just passed new anti-abortion laws, so-called "heartbeat laws."

A heartbeat of the fetus can be heard five to six weeks after the start of pregnancy, i.e. before most women even notice that they are pregnant - this is why abortions can no longer be allowed from that point on. Not even in the case of rape. Not even if the pregnant woman is only eleven years old. Not even if it is incest. The law has not yet come into effect, but Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has already signed and praised it: "One of the most important tasks of the government is to protect the most vulnerable of us, those who have no voice."

In addition to Ohio, Alabama, Georgia and four other American states have just massively tightened abortion laws. Alabama, for example, threatens doctors who perform abortions with prison terms of up to 99 years, and Texas is even discussing the death penalty. The goal: to get the Supreme Court to decide to ban abortion in principle.

But what does that say about a state if the penalties for rape victims who do not want to have the child are so much higher than the penalties for the rapist? What if politicians only count the unborn lives among the "most vulnerable" and worthy of protection, but not the lives of the girls and women who are supposed to give birth to them? What if, in extreme cases, judges are even more likely to hold women accountable than fathers and perpetrators?

I grew up a Catholic and can well understand that Christians want to protect unborn life. I respect it when someone is convinced that a person comes into being at the moment of conception. Then the person must also protect the life that was born, with exactly the same zeal and commitment.

If conservative Christians really care about the most vulnerable lives, why do these conservative states like Alabama and Georgia have the worst child mortality rates? And the worst maternal mortality?

"If Americans love mothers, why are we letting them die?" Asked New York Times columnist Nick Kristof. In fact, mothers in America are far worse off than in other countries. Almost everywhere in the western industrialized nations, maternal mortality has halved in the last 25 years; in America, on the other hand, it has almost doubled. For comparison: In Germany around four out of 100,000 women die as a result of complications during pregnancy or childbirth, especially in conservative states like Texas, however, more than 40. The rate is even higher among the low-income population. Hello Texas, do you hear me? Houston, we have a problem.

Why are exactly the same MPs so vehemently advocating the abolition of general health insurance, the expectant mothers paying for prenatal care and the children having their first visits to the doctor? By the way, Alabama is also the state with the highest rate of cervical cancer in America - because women with low incomes in particular have more difficult access to health care there. Instead, women who miscarriage are threatened with legal harassment and prison, especially if the miscarriage occurs late in pregnancy.

Almost half of all pregnancies in America are unwanted. Those who don't want women to have an abortion need to make sure they have access to free or affordable contraception. Why do American lawmakers allow Christian employers' health insurances not to reimburse contraceptives for "religious reasons" but allow Viagra to do so? And why are the most conservative countries so far behind when it comes to schooling? Protect the embryos, but leave the children without educational opportunities?

If you want to encourage women to carry the child to term even after they have been raped, you must not force the mothers to share custody with their rapist

And, above all, if politicians want to prevent abortions even after rape, why don't they take on the rapists? If they believe draconian punishments are a deterrent, why should only the doctors be severely punished, but not the rapists? Aren't they responsible for the birth of the babies?

Conservative MP Barry Hovis said in the debate on the proposed abortion ban in Missouri last Friday that he was well versed on the subject because he had dealt with rape cases when he was a police officer, but that "very few of them were strangers, who jumped out of the bushes. That was maybe one or two cases in 100, ”he said. “Most of them were date rapes or consensual rapes.” Consensual rapes? A murmur went through the room. Immediately the MP Raychel Proudie got up and said visibly shocked that there was no consensual rape. The public outcry was so great that Hovis later rowed back and said he had made a mistake and actually wanted to say: "consensual AND rape", although that makes no grammatical sense. He is following in the footsteps of his former colleague Todd Akin, who said when he was a Republican MP in Missouri a few years ago that "legitimate rape" rarely conceives women because "because of the female body." Finds ways to switch it off «.

These myths persist in the minds of male politicians. And there were actually 25 all-male, white politicians who voted for the abortion ban in the Alabama Senate. No woman voted in favor (even if the law was subsequently signed by a governor). "We're talking about 25 white men who have just voted on women's health and life decisions," said Leana Wen, president of the nonprofit family planning organization Planned Parenthood. Exclusively men who are never in a position to have to bear the result of rape in their own body for nine months. Because, that is also true: the states with the strictest abortion laws have the fewest women in politics.

If you want to encourage women to carry the child to term even after they have been raped, you must not force the mothers to share custody with their rapist. Not that a criminal like Chris Mirasolo in Michigan kidnaps a 12-year-old, rapes her multiple times, gets pregnant and then gets six months for the offense, only to rape a 14-year-old shortly after being released. Nevertheless, the court granted him the right of access to his son who was conceived during the rape. True story, but not an isolated incident.

Whoever wants to protect life must not consider the unborn to be more important than what has already been born.

According to surveys, 70 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing abortions at least for rape and incest. The so-called "Pro-Life" movement, however, which has massively gained influence since Trump's election victory, believes that life begins with procreation, and that does not change if procreation was forced by force. Because Trump heaved two "Pro-Life" judges in the Supreme Court, they want to seize the opportunity. But at what price?

In Argentina, two cases made headlines in which an 11-year-old and a 12-year-old girl were forced to carry their pregnancies to term after being raped. They were delivered by caesarean section in the 23rd and 24th week of pregnancy, respectively, and both babies died. This is what it looks like when fanatics »protect lives«.