Human Rights organizations were in an uproar when the government of Paraguay refused to allow a then 10-year-old rape victim to get an abortion, despite the international outcry and the fervent requests of her mother. The girl, going under the pseudonym Mainumby, recently gave birth to a healthy baby girl. She had a C-section because of her small size, but she is also apparently healthy and recovering. Human rights organizations are still furious about the whole thing:
Erika Guevara, Americas director at Amnesty International, said in a statement that Mainumby was “lucky to be alive”, adding that “only time will tell the true extent of the physical and psychological consequences of her tragic ordeal”.
“The fact that Mainumby did not die does not excuse the human rights violations she suffered at the hands of the Paraguayan authorities, who decided to gamble with her health, life and integrity despite overwhelming evidence that this pregnancy was extremely risky,” she said.
The pregnancy may have been a higher-risk pregnancy, I’m not questioning that. But the fact is that the baby and the girl are healthy. So that has to count for something. And what is the real problem here? The step-father was sexually abusing the child for quite some time, the mother purportedly notified the authorities, but she didn’t actually take the girl out of the house. She stayed with the rapist step-father, putting her daughter in imminent, actual danger. That same mother was the one fighting to have Mainumby’s baby aborted, citing the increased risk of Mainumby’s pregnancy. What about the actual harm of living with a rapist?
The mother and step-father were both arrested when Mainumby’s pregnancy came to light, though the mother has since been released. In fact, Mainumby and her new daughter are being placed back in the custody of this woman. The same woman who stood idly by while her daughter was routinely raped and then wanted to end the life of the baby that is now going to be living under her roof.
Do you want to talk about human rights violations? Why don’t we start with the rapist and the guilty bystander? It’s also interesting to me that all the headlines are talking about how Mainumby was “denied an abortion.” Did she ever ask for an abortion? Her criminally neglectful mother certainly did, and loudly. But what about Mainumby? What about her wishes? Does anyone even know what they were?
I haven’t heard a thing about Mainumby’s wishes. Or even her reaction to the baby. Her step-father treated her as a sexual object. She had no agency then. And then all of these “human rights” organizations, and Mainumby’s own mother, further removed and are removing her agency, as if she has no choice about any of this. What choice has she had in this whole scenario, from beginning to end? None.
Sure, she’s young. But she can talk. And she has desires. What are they? What did she want to do about this pregnancy? And I have one last question: Have any of these human rights organizations ever talked to an adult woman who gave birth to a baby whose conception was the result of rape? Have they ever talked to a child who was conceived by rape? I just want to know how many of those women actually regret their choice to carry their babies full term. I know there are plenty of women who regret aborting their babies, even in cases of rape:
In Victims and Victors (Acorn Books, 2000), a book written by David Reardon, Amy Sobie, and Julie Makimma, 192 women were interviewed. These women had had abortions after they became pregnant from rape. Nearly all the women said that they regretted the abortion, and over 90% said they would discourage other rape victims from choosing abortion.
So I challenge all these bleeding hearts to please show me one mother—no matter how her child came into the world or what she might now think of the biological father—who looks at her grown child and thinks, “I really wish I had followed the advice of my mother or human rights organizations or Planned Parenthood and killed this person when I had the chance.” I’ve never read one of those stories. Perhaps human rights organizations have access to some kind of underground society of women who murderously hate their grown children. Who knows.
There are certainly many stories of women who are happy down the road that they didn’t turn one victim into two through abortion. You can find out about a number of those stories in this article. Here’s just one testimony:
My son is the product of rape, and he is the exception to the rule, as they say. Multitudes of women in my situation have had abortions, giving different reasons for their choice. But that child is still a child, no matter how he or she was conceived. I certainly did not choose to be raped and definitely did not choose to become pregnant. No more did my child ask to be conceived. I had no right to take his life because of the horrible situation that happened to me.
The thought that he would bear the same genes of my rapist . . . continued to linger at my soul during my pregnancy. Was I going to birth another rapist? Was I doing more harm than good with giving him life? My own son’s gentle spirit and thoughtfulness of others confirms that there is not a “rapist gene.” When I look into my son’s eyes, I only have love and have only loved him since he was laid on my chest after birthing him.
Does outlawing abortion even in the case of rape defend rape or rapists? Of course not. Rape is absolutely wicked, and should be punished as a capital crime. But who should be the one to suffer the capital consequences? The innocent unborn child? Of course not. Aborting children conceived by rape does not erase the pain or trauma of the rape. It merely magnifies the harm done to the innocent. It is not just, and it is not truly “siding with the mother,” no matter what justifications you want to bring up.
But merely outlawing abortion is not enough. One of the reasons the State recommends abortion for rape victims is that people don’t actually want to have to deal with “unwanted” children. Abortion is an easy (not to mention profitable) way to conveniently sweep aside the needs, desires, and agency of the victims. You don’t have to pay for a child that doesn’t exist anymore. And you don’t have to help a new mother make it in life if she aborted her child. That’s one of the major reasons why pro-life organizations need to be about more than ending abortion. They must also be about compassionate care for what are effectively the “orphans and widows” in our midst.
That means putting the civil government out of the welfare business by providing housing, food, clothing, training, job opportunities, child care, counseling, loving communities, adoptive families, and all the other things that single mothers need, especially if they are young and much abused. Until we are much better about that side of abortion, all of our pro-life talk is largely meaningless.