Ohio Lawmaker Says Pregnancy from Rape Is an ‘Opportunity’

"It's a shame that it happens, but there’s an opportunity for that woman, no matter how young or old she is,” said Republican state Rep. Jean Schmidt.

Ohio Lawmaker Says Pregnancy from Rape Is an ‘Opportunity’
Photo:David Kohl (AP)

Getting pregnant by your rapist is actually “an opportunity,” according to Ohio state Rep. Jean Schmidt (R), who testified Wednesday in favor of a bill to curb abortion in Ohio. Schmidt says rape is “difficult” and may leave emotional scars on its survivors—“but if a baby is created, it is a human life. And whether that mother ends that pregnancy or not, the scars will not go away. Period. It is a shame that it happens, but there’s an opportunity for that woman, no matter how young or old she is,” Schmidt said.

Yes, it was a pretty disturbing choice to add the “how young” in there, but rather than dwelling on the idea of children being forced to carry a pregnancy by their rapist, Schmidt just barreled forward: “To make a determination about what she’s going to do to help that life be a productive human being. She can choose to raise the child,” she told the committee. “She can choose to give that child to a loving family member, or give it to someone else. And that child can grow up to be something magnificent, a wonderful family person, uh, cure cancer, etc.”

Schmidt’s gross comments were a part of the former congresswoman’s push to pass a “trigger ban” in Ohio. “Trigger bans” are legislation that would outlaw abortion if Roe v. Wade was ruled unconstitutional, or more recently, if a constitutional amendment ruling abortion a state issue. Among the actual provisions of the bill include punishing abortion providers with a felony and license forfeiture, banning medication abortion, and banning abortion pills. “If it will be used for an abortion alone, and for not other medical uses, it won’t be allowed,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt’s comments are a part of a long lineage of Republican lawmakers believing sexual assault and rape are growth opportunities for the survivors. (And only for uterus-having survivors.) In 2012, an Indiana Senate candidate tanked his campaign when he said if a woman becomes pregnant from rape “God intended” it. And of course, there was the O.G. (Original Ghoul) Todd Akin asserting that women can’t physically get pregnant from rape because their bodies have mysterious ways of shutting that whole thing down.

Schmidt concluded this particular speech by shaming rape survivors, proving the patriarchy has no gender. “This is not about keeping abortion alive. This is about keeping the mother alive. And just because you have emotional scars, doesn’t give you the right to take the life,” she said.

In short: Fuck you, Jean.

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