Her own child

Alabama’s Attorney General is appealing a ruling by US Magistrate Judge Susan Russ Walker that blocked aspects of a state law requiring minors to get written permission from a parent or guardian before they could legally end a pregnancy.

“We’re disappointed that the state of Alabama has chosen to continue defending this reprehensible law,” Andrew Beck, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement. The ACLU brought the original lawsuit against the Alabama law, resulting in Walker’s ruling.

“While many teens turn to their parents when faced with an unintended pregnancy, others — particularly those with abusive parents — just can’t,” Beck continued. “Forcing a teenager to go on trial to get an abortion does nothing to promote her health or safety — if anything, it just exposes her to further harm.”

Well, yes, but of course it’s not about her health or safety – it’s about the all-important fetus. Maybe the fetus was put inside her against her will by a rapey stepfather? Doesn’t matter. It’s the fetus that has rights, not the child forced to host it.

Both the appeal and the ruling that inspired it are timely in light of an Alabama judge’s recent decision to allow a 12-year-old girl, a victim of both rape and incest, to get an abortion without parental consent. Alabama limits the legal abortion window to 20 weeks post-fertilization; at the time of her hearing, the girl was 13 weeks pregnant and recently removed from her mother’s home — which she had occupied along with four siblings, her step-father and an uncle — on allegations that her mother physically abused and neglected her, according to AL.com.

While the girl’s relationship to the relative who raped her was not spelled out in court, her case does highlight a few circumstances under which a minor might not want their family involved in terminating a pregnancy. Still, abortion opponents decried the judge’s decision. Win Johnson, the executive director of COPE crisis pregnancy center in Montgomery, Alabama, angrily questioned whether or not a 12-year-old “was mature enough … to decide to murder her own child in her womb.”

Is Win Johnson mature enough to understand that a raped child might not consider it “her own child” at all? Is he mature enough to understand that in that situation the fetus can easily be seen as an imposition, an intruder, an invader? Is he mature enough to understand that it really should not be up to him what a raped child does about her product of rape pregnancy?

Clearly not.

H/t Sackbut

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