The forced birther nightmare is here, get ready to keep hearing about itJuly 19, 2022
And now, as Jezebel’s Laura Bassett writes: “the stories have sprayed out like a firehose: A 10-year-old rape survivor had to travel to another state to get safe abortion care, and politicians immediately went after the doctor who helped her; a Texas hospital let a woman with an ectopic pregnancy bleed until she almost died to avoid getting sued; Idaho Republicans overwhelmingly voted to let women die before giving them health care. The dystopia is upon us, and it arrived faster than anyone expected.”
These stories have existed all along, we just weren’t forced to know about them. Plenty of activists and advocates sought them out, trying to raise the alarm about just what was happening before our very eyes. Because there’s always been a problem with private, Catholic hospitals refusing to provide abortions even to save the pregnant person’s life. States have thrown up creative barrier after barrier to abortion since the Supreme Court said they could in Casey v. Planned Parenthood in 1992. All of that, many have been warning for three decades, was leading to this.
This, when the stories about a Wisconsin woman who nearly bled to death during 10 days in which her incomplete miscarriage wasn’t treated. Or the ectopic pregnancy that required a risky surgical procedure to save the pregnant patient’s life instead of medication, because the ultrasound wasn’t 100% and the physician was worried that she’d be accused of violating the state’s abortion ban.
There’s the sexual assault survivor who has chosen to be sterilized because she can’t live with the thought of another rape and having to give birth to her rapist’s baby. Two women in Ohio last week had ectopic pregnancies their regular doctors wouldn’t even consider treating. The Dayton abortion clinic they called isn’t set up to treat them.
Now doctors like Jessian Munoz, an OB-GYN in San Antonio, Texas, have to weigh when a patient is “sick enough” to say they are saving the life of the mother with an abortion. “[T]he art of medicine is lost and actually has been replaced by fear,” Munoz said, speaking about a specific case when a patient started to miscarry and got a serious infection, but the fetus’ heart cells were still active. “We physically watched her get sicker and sicker and sicker,” he said, until the heartbeat activity stopped “and then we could intervene,” he said. The woman lost liters of blood and had to be ventilated because of the delay in the abortion “all because we were essentially 24 hours behind.’’
These are the stories that all of us are going to have to get used to hearing about. We’re also going to have to get used to living with the reality of people dying from botched abortions, from drinking poison, from doing physical damage to themselves because they can’t find any other way. All those stories that seemed apocryphal to so many of us living in the 21st century are going to become all too real, and this time around, they won’t be whispered about. They’ll be held up as the evidence of Republican cruelty.
Those stories have to be told. They have to take center stage, and we have to make the forced birthers answer for them. They’re already trying to pretend that they haven’t done what they’ve done. That lives aren’t in danger because it’s not really abortion when it’s a 10-year-old rape victim. That really, any law—including the ones that don’t allow an exception for victims of rape, incest, or for risk of dying—won’t really result in harm to the person carrying the child. They really won’t let that happen.
But they will. Idaho’s Republican Party just adopted a party platform that does not include an exception for the life of the mother. “We will never win this human rights issue, the greatest of our time, if we make allowances for the intentional killing of another human being,” Scott Herndon, a candidate for the state Senate, said in fighting an amendment to allow for the exception. See, letting a person die because of pregnancy isn’t “killing” them, however intentional it may be on the part of the people passing that law. This, by the way, is the same Republican “pro-life” party that continues to allow parents to withhold medical treatment for their children because “God’s will.”
Consider what Jim Bopp, the Indiana lawyer who authored the state legislation now in force Ohio that forced that 10-year-old to seek treatment in Indiana, said about the law: It did exactly what he intended and it was an abortion and that 10-year-old should have been forced to carry that baby. “She would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child,” Bopp told Politico.
They’re ghouls. But now the mask is off and no can avoid the ugly reality: It’s a death cult.