DeWine says he’s concerned about ‘vulnerable’, still doesn’t talk about kids who now have to have babies
While celebrating the passage and enactment of tough abortion restrictions in Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine got lavish in expressing concern for “the most vulnerable among us, those who don’t have no voice”.
On June 24, just after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the abortion restrictions he had enacted, DeWine added, “Here in Ohio, we are doing more than ever to make sure that our youngest and most vulnerable children get the best possible start in life.
But the governor continues to refuse to acknowledge that the law he signed forces some of these vulnerable children – rape victims, including those with developmental disabilities – to leave the state if they don’t want to have the babies of their rapists.
DeWine signed one of the most restrictive anti-abortion measures in the country in 2019. It prohibits abortions after about six weeks — a point at which up to a third of women don’t know they are pregnant.
It would also make illegal the vast majority of abortions that took place before the law was enacted. In Ohio, more than 70% of women who had an abortion in 2019 did so after six weeks of pregnancyaccording to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ohio law is also restrictive because, although it makes certain exceptions to protect the health of the mother, it makes no exceptions for cases of rape and incest, even when the victims are very young or have an intellectual disability.
Earlier this month — just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for Ohio law enforcement — an Indianapolis doctor reported that 10-year-old rape victim had come from Ohio for an abortion.
Following the report, DeWine did not address the fact that a law he signed forced the girl and others like her to leave the state if they don’t want to have their rapists’ babies. . All the governor would say is how horrific such a rape is and points out that all he knew about the report was what he read in the media.
Other Republicans – notably Attorney General Dave Yost – actively cast doubt on the girl’s existencethrow out a series of flimsy arguments to support their claims. After that, US Representative Jim Jordan took the ball and ran away, calling the young rape victim’s story “another lie”.
There were plenty of reasons to know that the story was at least plausible.
Ohio Children’s Advocacy Centers in 2021 saw 6,717 cases of sexual abuse with victims ages 0-18. And in 2020, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 52 Girls Age 14 and Under Have Aborted in Ohio. Additionally, right after DeWine signed the Ohio law in 2019, CBS News reported on 11-year-old girl from Ohio who was pregnant after being repeatedly raped by a 26 year old.
So to many it was hardly a surprise when news broke on July 13 that Columbus police had arrested a 27-year-old man in the case of the 10-year-old girl who had to travel to Indianapolis for an abortion.
But in the wake of the news, Yost and Jordan have not apologized for casting doubt on the girl’s existence and DeWine has still not addressed the fact that the law he signed obliges these young people girls to leave the state to have an abortion. These trips are sure to become longer and more expensive like some neighboring states enforce their own restrictions on abortion. This means, of course, that they will be almost impossible to manufacture for the poorest children.
Unfortunately, if a girl has an intellectual or developmental disability, she is even more vulnerable to sexual abuse.
“Nationally, one in five women are sexually assaulted,” said The Arc’s Board Resource Center and National Center of Criminal Justice and Disability. report. “However, women and girls with intellectual or developmental disabilities are four to ten times more likely to be victims of sexual assault, with nearly 90% of them experiencing sexual assault in their lifetime.
DeWine press secretary Dan Tierney was asked again last week about the governor’s thoughts on how the law he signed affects some of Ohio’s most vulnerable populations. This time, Tierney was asked if the governor thinks people with developmental disabilities should be forced to have the babies of their rapists.
“Governor DeWine held a public bill signing press conference and made lengthy remarks when he signed the Heartbeat Bill into law,” Tierney replied in an email. “He also gave a statewide speech on the night of the Dobbs decision. Our office has no additional comments beyond these detailed comments.
A review of those appearances shows that while DeWine spoke at length about the government’s duty to protect the helpless, he said nothing about why he thought it was important to ensure that victims of crimes sex carry their pregnancies to term.
“The essential function of government is to protect the most vulnerable among us, those without a voice,” DeWine said during the a ceremony on April 11, 2019 during which he signed the new restrictions. “The role of government should be to protect life from beginning to end, to protect those who cannot protect themselves such as the elderly, unborn children, the sick, the disabled, those with mental illness or an addiction.. The signing of this bill is part of this respect for life and to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
Then, in a speech last month on the day the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision reversing Roe v. Wade, DeWine made a statement that might seem hard to square with the fact that children with disabilities are giving birth to the child of an abuser.
“Here in Ohio, we are doing more than ever to make sure our youngest and most vulnerable children have the best possible start in life,” he said.
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