This story is horrific. A 13-year-old girl was impregnated by her 30-year-old “boyfriend,” with whom she had been having a sexual relationship with for a year, and tried to self-induce an abortion with a pencil. She is currently hospitalized, and the boyfriend is in jail.
I’m not sure what more can even be said about this case. I don’t believe that sex between a 30-year-old and a 13-year-old can ever be consensual; we also know that many extreme age-disparate relationships involve rape. And yes, this girl obviously needed access to safe abortion care; if she had such access, she wouldn’t have had to self-induce abortion with a lead pencil. Abortion access would have lessened this tragedy by a significant degree. It’s shameful that, under the guise of caring about children and babies, anti-choice groups seek to limit abortion access for women and girls.
But she needed a lot more than that. And her community and her culture — the people who are supposed to tell her that she’s important, that she’s loved, that she deserves pleasure, that she deserves autonomy — failed her. We fail girls all the time. We put girls in impossible, heart-wrenching positions. We give girls little autonomy and few options, and then we’re surprised when they act like animals caught in traps.
Predators like Michael James Lisk, her “boyfriend,” are entirely responsible for the crimes they commit. But this girl needed a safety net, and she did not have one.
Thanks to Jessica for the link.