The people who want teenage rape victims to be forced by state coercion to carry pregnancies to term are exactly what you’d expect:
Audrey Wascome, who says she was sexually abused by a relative as a child and later was raped at 17, testified along with other survivors on Wednesday at the Louisiana’s House Criminal Justice Committee. Democrats had introduced legislation to add rape and incest exceptions to the state’s abortion ban, and even after hearing testimony from people like Wascome, Republicans voted them down.
Wascome told me in an interview after the hearing that it felt like an “openly hostile” environment. A man was standing near the witness table with a rosary, reciting Bible verses. Some Republican committee members got up and left in the middle of witness testimony. Other GOP legislators who did stay in the room “were just pretending that the witnesses weren’t there,” she said. “It was super disrespectful.”
“You have survivors describing their private pain and basically begging them for mercy,” said Wascome. “It just felt like a slap.”
Wascome says she noticed one lawmaker rolling her eyes and shaking her head at some of the testimony. “Even if you don’t agree with [adding] exceptions, there’s just common human decency for people talking about their trauma, and it was just missing from a lot of them.”
Wascome shared her own story of assault on Wednesday, telling the committee about being sexually abused by her grandfather for the first decade of her life, as her grandmother filmed the incidents. At age 17, Wascome says she was raped by an acquaintance and didn’t obtain emergency contraception before the 72-hour period had passed. While she didn’t become pregnant, she has since dedicated her time to becoming an advocate for fellow survivors, including for two 9-year-old girls who were both impregnated at age 8 in unrelated cases. One was in her second trimester, the other in her third; they both came into the hospital complaining of stomach pain.
“Neither knew they were pregnant, but how could they? They were still playing with dolls,” Wascome said in her powerful testimony to the committee.
The Dobbs five have opened the door to so much misogyny and moral depravity it’s still hard to fathom nearly a year later.