Nebraska Republican: Pregnant Teens Probably Already Qualify for ‘Life of the Mother’ Exemptions

Asked about child rape victims seeking abortion, Rep. Don Bacon said he's "not a doctor," but he assumes they should be fine under existing exceptions.

Nebraska Republican: Pregnant Teens Probably Already Qualify for ‘Life of the Mother’ Exemptions
Photo:Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call (AP)

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), who supports banning abortion, seems to think children and young people seeking abortions under draconian abortion bans will be fine because of existing “life of the mother” exemptions in a post-Roe v. Wade world.

When asked about what do if children becomes pregnant, Bacon attempts to posture a less openly hostile position. “Well, what we have found in most most states, they see that safety and life of the mother is involved with that. When a person is that young, man, I defer to the doctors on this. I’m not a doctor,” Bacon told a local news station last week. “But what I heard from the doctors in Ohio was that it’s unhealthy. It’s unsafe for a person that young to have that baby.”

Yes, it is incredibly dangerous for children’s bodies to go through pregnancy. It’s great that we can all agree on that. However, Bacon cannot miss an opportunity to say that he’s against all abortions. “On principle, I just want to say that that is an unborn child. Now, granted, we want to protect the life of the mother, and there are complications,” he told a local news station. “But let’s be honest, 98 to 99 percent of the abortions today are not that. It’s someone that’s in their 20s or late teens. And it’s more of a choice than anything.”

None of this, of course, is true. Teens and children as young as 10 years old are currently being denied abortions in states like Ohio with bans on the books. Bacon also misunderstands exactly who has abortions: Twenty-something women account for more than half of abortions in 2019, followed by women in their 30s, who make up about a third of patients. Nearly 60 percent of patients had already had at least one live birth, the CDC found.

An abortion is a choice, even if there are complications and even if a crime necessitated it. There is no difference between an abortion chosen because you don’t want to be pregnant and an abortion chosen because of maternal health complications.

Bacon’s positions aren’t surprising. While making an appearance on Meet the Press on Sunday, Bacon reiterated his anti-abortion stances, saying he supports a federal ban on abortion “on principle” and state’s rights, an easy thing to do in a state that has tried to restrict the procedure. Bacon also has been a day-one sponsor of the House version of Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) proposed 15-week national abortion ban. Both versions seek to make performing or attempting to perform an abortion a crime, but decline to prosecute the patient.

Jezebel reached out to the Bacon campaign on Tuesday night, but we have not heard back.

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