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Mississippi forces 13-year-old rape victim to carry pregnancy to term

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The law continues to work as intended:

Regina, a mother of three daughters, lives in one of the poorest counties in one of the country’s poorest states — Mississippi. She holds down a job during the day and is attending nursing school. Life for her is hard, but she manages as best she can.

In late 2022, that changed. Regina noticed that Ashley, her middle daughter, began withdrawing — she quit her cheer team and stopped going outside. Then Ashley started to get really sick, vomiting a lot.

“We took her to the hospital and rushed her in and they took her to the back …The nurse [was] like ‘You pregnant.’  And that’s when I just broke down and started crying,” Regina said.

Ashley, who was 11 weeks pregnant at the time, said she was raped by a stranger in the yard of the family’s home.

“She’s just 12. She don’t know nothing about having no babies. Nothing,” Regina said.

But amid confusion over what abortion care is allowed in Mississippi, Regina says she was unaware Ashley qualified for an abortion in Mississippi under the law’s exception for cases of rape. Yet, even if she was aware, it’s unlikely Ashley would have been able to get an abortion in Mississippi; with heavy restrictions in effect and the high penalties on physicians who violate the abortion ban, it is unlikely she would have found a doctor willing to perform a procedure.

Ashley, now 13 years old, is the mother of an 8-month-old baby boy nicknamed Peanut.

A perennial reminder:

Among the other reasons that these exceptions are generally useless, if the state’s laws make it impossible for abortion providers to operate exceptions to abortion bans are not going to have any value, which of course is the whole point.

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