Roundup: Afghan Woman in Critical Condition after Unsafe Abortion; Don’t Blames Movies for Teen Births

Emily Douglas

Afghan woman in critical condition after unsafe abortion; South Dakota legislators out of touch on abortion?; one-third of elective C-sections performed too early; abortion fatigue among evangelical Christians, too; don't blame movies for increase in teen birth rate.

Afghan Woman Raped, Victim of Unsafe Abortion
A 14-year-old Afghan girl was raped and became pregnant.  Her brother
performed an illegal, unsafe abortion.  She’s now in critical
condition, and her brother is being held for performing the illegal
abortion.  Writes teh Associated Press,

in the deeply conservative country – where there are strong taboos
against sex outside of marriage – often got to extreme lengths to
conceal rape, which can destroy a victim’s reputation and future. Girls
who are raped have little chance of ever getting married and married
women are often shunned by their husbands. The victim and her family
are tainted with the shame of the act and the woman is often accused of
having consented to the sex.
"I told my sister that this was bad for us, for our family, and bad for the community," Ali told the AP.

Anti-Choice South Dakota Legislators Out of Touch with Constituents, Say Local Pro-Choice Groups
Dakota legislators may have passed sweeping bans on abortion in 2006,
but South Dakota voters decisively rejected that ban and a 2008
ban.  Does this mean legislators should think again before voting in
favor of an abortion ban?  "We want to be able to tell the folks
returning to Pierre that they should know how their constituents
voted," said Nathan Peterson, a spokesman for South Dakota Campaign for
Healthy Families, which released a post-election report. "We think it’s
a point worth revisiting, because not everybody heard the message." 
The Rapid City Journal
reports on two legislators who voted in favor of the 2006 ban who say
they wouldn’t vote for an abortion ban in the future knowing that their
constituents rejected recent bans.

One-Third of Elective C-Sections Performed Too Early

A National Institute of Child Health and Human Development study
found that 36% of elective C-sections are performed too early,
increasing newborns’ chances of respiratory problems, reports USA Today. "While
the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that
elective C-sections be performed no sooner than 39 full weeks of
gestation, the study found that 36% were earlier."

Abortion Fatigue Amongst Evangelical Christians, Too?

Christianity Today reports
on the "setbacks" for the anti-choice movement, one of which is a
general "abortion fatigue" among Americans.  Another is that
evangelical Christians themselves seem more energized about preventing
the legalization of same-sex marriage than outlawing abortion.  "Redefining marriage is a bigger deal to Americans," said Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Writes Christianity Today:

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and other research suggest that younger evangelicals are more
supportive of abortion restrictions than older evangelicals are. A 2007
study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showed that 70
percent of younger white evangelicals favor "making it more difficult
for a woman to get an abortion," compared with 55 percent of older
white evangelicals.

Don’t Blame the Movies
The teen birth rate is on the rise,
it’s true, but don’t go casting allusions about the role of movies, TV
and "culture" in promoting teen pregnancy, says Amy Benfer on Broadsheet
Benfer points out that the recent CDC statistics are from 2006, "before
Juno and Jami-Lynn became the public face of teen pregnancy in December
2007, followed by Gloucester girls last summer and Bristol Palin this
fall. But when have facts ever gotten in the way of a good story?" 
Benfer adds,

USA Today warns that "increases in high-profile unmarried
births in Hollywood, movies and even politics is a significant factor
for impressionable teens" and quotes Sarah Brown, CEO of the National
Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy: "In the last couple
of years, we had Jamie Lynn Spears. We had Juno and we had Bristol
Palin. Those three were in 2007 and 2008 and not in 2005 to 2006, but
they point to that phenomenon," she says. "Glowing media portrayals of
celebrity pregnancies don’t help," according to MSNBC, who then quotes
Stephanie Birch, director of maternal and child health programs in
Alaska, as saying, "They make it very glamorous." And Deborah Kotz at
U.S. News and World Report thinks that "movies, TV, and flashy magazine
spreads romanticizing teen pregnancy may be partly to blame."

I didn’t see anything particularly "glamorous," "romantic" or
"glorious" in any of these girls’ stories. But while it remains to be
seen whether teen pregnancy is actually on the rise for good, or if
this year is just a blip, this time around, you can’t blame these
girls. Leave it for the trend story writers in, ah, 2010.

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