Roundup: Anti-Choicers: Forced Pregnancies For Child Rape Victims

Rachel Larris

Talk about cognitive dissonance! When a 10-year-old is raped in Mexico to the anti-choice media outlets it's the feminist groups who are trying to control her choice.

Even amongst those who are ambivalent about abortion, the vast majority would support allowing a woman to have an abortion if she was raped. There is also greater support when pregnancy threatens the life of a pregnant woman. (Although a small percentage of survey respondents and website commentators always seem to be “okay” with forcing a pregnancy to continue that kills both the mother and child.) So what happens when there is a case that might make the anti-choice forces rethink their beliefs about forced pregnancy?

Such is the sad but very real case in Mexico of a 10-year-old girl who was raped and impregnated by her stepfather.

As CNN points out:

The Roman Catholic Church vocally opposes abortion in Mexico, and the topic has long been controversial there. The debate has been particularly heated since 2007, when the nation’s more liberal capital city approved a law legalizing abortion during the first three months of pregnancy with no restrictions. That decision was challenged and ultimately upheld by the country’s Supreme Court in 2008.

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Since 2007, 17 states have passed laws “protecting life beginning at conception,” according to the Information Group on Reproductive Choice. Legislators in Quintana Roo, which is also is home to the popular resort city of Cancun, approved such changes to its constitution last year.

But even the conservative state of Quintana Roo allows abortions for reasons of rape, but only up until 90 days into a pregnancy. The girl is reportedly now at 17 and a half weeks which puts her beyond the legal limit even for an abortion in Mexico City.

Advocacy groups say the handling of the girl’s case by the authorities may have complicated her situation by not informing her of her rights.

“We don’t know what is happening, and the institution that is supposed to provide support and care for these minors hasn’t been transparent. We’re really asking for accountability,” said Maria Luisa Sanchez Fuentes, director of the Information Group on Reproductive Choice.

So why don’t we examine how some of the usual anti-choice media outlets are covering this story.

The Catholic News Agency calls her 11 years old (even though all other news reports refer to the girl as 10):

Various media outlets in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo reported this week that an 11-year-old who is almost 18 weeks pregnant is no longer in the hands of feminist groups who were pressuring her to undergo an abortion. The girl is now receiving proper medical care for herself and her baby.

The local press also noted that several private and state institutions have offered assistance to the girl and her mother, Zeyda Morales. However, feminist groups continue demanding she be granted the “right to abortion,” which they consider to be the only valid option.

The director of the Latin American office of the Population Research Institute (PRI), Carlos Polo, warned that “in these kinds of cases, pro-abortion organizations always use the same modus operandi (method of operating).”

“First they find a girl who has been raped and they keep her hidden and inaccessible to any kind of assistance. Second, they expose the case to the media without revealing any details of her clinical history.”

He continued: “Third, they center their media message on the idea that the legalization of so-called ‘therapeutic abortion’ is the solution for saving the lives of women. Fourth, they present themselves as the saviors of the life of the mother, and anyone who opposes their pro-abortion demands are quasi-criminals.”

Polo later explained that the PRI regularly researches these kinds of “fabricated cases.” He noted that “In New York, Monica Roca, Lilian Sepulveda and other representatives of the Center for Reproductive Rights have exposed their strategy of ‘developing reproductive rights in Latin America’.”

I’m not sure where the Catholic News Agency is getting its sources but in another story they report that the young girl (whom they say is 11) is refusing to have an abortion.

Despite protests and pressure from feminists and pro-abortion groups, an 11-year-old girl in the Mexican city of Chetumal has refused to undergo an abortion.  The young girl explained her decision saying that she understands, “a life is growing in her womb.”

The girl is receiving medical attention at a local clinic, where doctors say the results of psychological tests have been positive. The recent tests, said Lizbeth Gamboa Song, director of the National System for the Comprehensive Development of the Family, show the girl has a proper understanding of the new life within her and of what to expect during the pregnancy.

“She understands what happens before a pregnancy, she knows her womb will grow, she knows at some point her water will break, and she knows how the baby will be born,” Gamboa said.

Oddly I’ve found no other media outlet that confirms the Catholic News Agency’s story.

In Other News: Remember the Nashville school system that shut down a sex education class due to one parent’s complaint, who just happened to be an abstinence motivational speaker? The Tennessean reports that school officials are deciding today whether they can continue the class.

Today, school officials and representatives of Nashville CARES, the agency asked to provide the training, will meet to decide whether the training can restart within the boundaries of state law.

One Hillsboro leadership student said she and her classmates are stunned by the level of attention they’ve attracted.

“There was nothing, absolutely nothing that went on in the class that I was in that would have made me predict that all this might happen,” said Calli Pugh, a junior.

The girl’s mother also agreed.

Teri Pugh, Calli’s mother, said parents had to sign detailed permission slips for their children to participate in the peer education program. The class gave students the vocabulary to talk about their bodies in mature ways and speak frankly but accurately with one another about sex and its risks, she said.

“It’s a huge loss,” Pugh said.

April 21, 2010

Abortion Sparks Fly Around High-Court Vacancy Women’s eNews

First State Opts Out of Abortion Funding in Health Care Bill Obama Signed LifeNews.com

State may pay for some RU-486 use The Tennessean

Strategies to cut maternal mortality in India by 75pc Times of India

Bisexual men sue gay group, claim bias Seattle Times

Gay, transgender rights an election-year wedge issue again The Patriot Ledger

China prepares to drop ban on HIV-positive tourists Telegraph.co.uk

Sex education program sparks outcry Toronto Sun

Texas appeals court to consider gay divorce case MiamiHerald.com 

In S. Mexico, Giving Birth Is Too Often Deadly AOL News

Mexico Rejects Church Criticism of Sex Education Terra.com

Nashville schools to decide fate of sex ed training The Tennessean

Ontario to introduce more explicit sex education in schools Globe and Mail

Researchers turn to social media to find volunteers for HIV study KOMO News

Birth Control Pills Bring Lawsuits Los Angeles Times

April 20, 2010

Oklahoma governor considers tough new abortion bills AFP

The Birth-Control Riddle Wall Street Journal

Waiting for gender pay equity? Only 47 more years to go Terre Haute Tribune Star

Remember Roe? Young Activists Say They’ve Never Forgotten. Newsweek (blog)

Gay rights arrests at White House msnbc.com

Shorter women have unhealthier kids in developing countries, study says Los Angeles Times (blog)

Anti-gay message to stay on fence UPI.com

News Human Rights

Feds Prep for Second Mass Deportation of Asylum Seekers in Three Months

Tina Vasquez

Those asylum seekers include Mahbubur Rahman, the leader of #FreedomGiving, the nationwide hunger strike that spanned nine detention centers last year and ended when an Alabama judge ordered one of the hunger strikers to be force fed.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), for the second time in three months, will conduct a mass deportation of at least four dozen South Asian asylum seekers.

Those asylum seekers include Mahbubur Rahman, the leader of #FreedomGiving, the nationwide hunger strike that spanned nine detention centers last year and ended when an Alabama judge ordered one of the hunger strikers to be force-fed.

Rahman’s case is moving quickly. The asylum seeker had an emergency stay pending with the immigration appeals court, but on Monday morning, Fahd Ahmed, executive director of Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), a New York-based organization of youth and low-wage South Asian immigrant workers, told Rewire that an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer called Rahman’s attorney saying Rahman would be deported within 48 hours. As of 4 p.m. Monday, Rahman’s attorney told Ahmed that Rahman was on a plane to be deported.

As of Monday afternoon, Rahman’s emergency stay was granted while his appeal was still pending, which meant he wouldn’t be deported until the appeal decision. Ahmed told Rewire earlier Monday that an appeal decision could come at any moment, and concerns about the process, and Rahman’s case, remain.

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An online petition was created in hopes of saving Rahman from deportation.

ICE has yet to confirm that a mass deportation of South Asian asylum seekers is set to take place this week. Katherine Weathers, a visitor volunteer with the Etowah Visitation Project, an organization that enables community members to visit with men in detention at the Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsden, Alabama, told Rewire that last week eight South Asian men were moved from Etowah to Louisiana, the same transfer route made in April when 85 mostly Muslim South Asian asylum seekers were deported.

One of the men in detention told Weathers that an ICE officer said to him a “mass deportation was being arranged.” The South Asian asylum seeker who contacted Weathers lived in the United States for more than 20 years before being detained. He said he would call her Monday morning if he wasn’t transferred out of Etowah for deportation. He never called.

In the weeks following the mass deportation in April, it was alleged by the deported South Asian migrants that ICE forcefully placed them in “body bags” and that officers shocked them with Tasers. DRUM has been in touch with some of the Bangladeshis who were deported. Ahmed said many returned to Bangladesh, but there were others who remain in hiding.

“There are a few of them [who were deported] who despite being in Bangladesh for three months, have not returned to their homes because their homes keep getting visited by police or intelligence,” Ahmed said.

The Bangladeshi men escaped to the United States because of their affiliations and activities with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the opposition party in Bangladesh, as Rewire reported in April. Being affiliated with this party, advocates said, has made them targets of the Bangladesh Awami League, the country’s governing party.

DHS last year adopted the position that BNP, the second largest political party in Bangladesh, is an “undesignated ‘Tier III’ terrorist organization” and that members of the BNP are ineligible for asylum or withholding of removal due to alleged engagement in terrorist activities. It is unclear how many of the estimated four dozen men who will be deported this week are from Bangladesh.

Ahmed said that mass deportations of a particular group are not unusual. When there are many migrants from the same country who are going to be deported, DHS arranges large charter flights. However, South Asian asylum seekers appear to be targeted in a different way. After two years in detention, the four dozen men set to be deported have been denied due process for their asylum requests, according to Ahmed.

“South Asians are coming here and being locked in detention for indefinite periods and the ability for anybody, but especially smaller communities, to win their asylum cases while inside detention is nearly impossible,” Ahmed told Rewire. “South Asians also continue to get the highest bond amounts, from $20,000 to $50,000. All of this prevents them from being able to properly present their asylum cases. The fact that those who have been deported back to Bangladesh are still afraid to go back to their homes proves that they were in the United States because they feared for their safety. They don’t get a chance to properly file their cases while in detention.”

Winning an asylum claim while in detention is rare. Access to legal counsel is limited inside detention centers, which are often in remote, rural areas.

As the Tahirih Justice Center reported, attorneys face “enormous hurdles in representing their clients, such as difficulty communicating regularly, prohibitions on meeting with and accompanying clients to appointments with immigration officials, restrictions on the use of office equipment in client meetings, and other difficulties would not exist if refugees were free to attend meetings in attorneys’ offices.”

“I worry about the situation they’re returning to and how they fear for their lives,” Ahmed said. “They’ve been identified by the government they were trying to escape and because of their participation in the hunger strike, they are believed to have dishonored their country. These men fear for their lives.”

News Politics

Clinton Campaign Announces Tim Kaine as Pick for Vice President

Ally Boguhn

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

The Clinton campaign announced Friday that Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has been selected to join Hillary Clinton’s ticket as her vice presidential candidate.

“I’m thrilled to announce my running mate, @TimKaine, a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others,” said Clinton in a tweet.

“.@TimKaine is a relentless optimist who believes no problem is unsolvable if you put in the work to solve it,” she added.

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

Kaine signed two letters this week calling for the regulations on banks to be eased, according to a Wednesday report published by the Huffington Post, thereby ”setting himself up as a figure willing to do battle with the progressive wing of the party.”

Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive political action committee Democracy for America, told the New York Times that Kaine’s selection “could be disastrous for our efforts to defeat Donald Trump in the fall” given the senator’s apparent support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Just before Clinton’s campaign made the official announcement that Kaine had been selected, the senator praised the TPP during an interview with the Intercept, though he signaled he had ultimately not decided how he would vote on the matter.

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Kaine’s record on reproductive rights has also generated controversy as news began to circulate that he was being considered to join Clinton’s ticket. Though Kaine recently argued in favor of providing Planned Parenthood with access to funding to fight the Zika virus and signed on as a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act—which would prohibit states and the federal government from enacting restrictions on abortion that aren’t applied to comparable medical services—he has also been vocal about his personal opposition to abortion.

In a June interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Kaine told host Chuck Todd he was “personally” opposed to abortion. He went on, however, to affirm that he still believed “not just as a matter of politics, but even as a matter of morality, that matters about reproduction and intimacy and relationships and contraception are in the personal realm. They’re moral decisions for individuals to make for themselves. And the last thing we need is government intruding into those personal decisions.”

As Rewire has previously reported, though Kaine may have a 100 percent rating for his time in the Senate from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the campaign website for his 2005 run for governor of Virginia promised he would “work in good faith to reduce abortions” by enforcing Virginia’s “restrictions on abortion and passing an enforceable ban on partial birth abortion that protects the life and health of the mother.”

As governor, Kaine did support some existing restrictions on abortion, including Virginia’s parental consent law and a so-called informed consent law. He also signed a 2009 measure that created “Choose Life” license plates in the state, and gave a percentage of the proceeds to a crisis pregnancy network.

Regardless of Clinton’s vice president pick, the “center of gravity in the Democratic Party has shifted in a bold, populist, progressive direction,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, in an emailed statement. “It’s now more important than ever that Hillary Clinton run an aggressive campaign on core economic ideas like expanding Social Security, debt-free college, Wall Street reform, and yes, stopping the TPP. It’s the best way to unite the Democratic Party, and stop Republicans from winning over swing voters on bread-and-butter issues.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article included a typo that misidentified Sen. Tim Kaine as a Republican. We regret this error.