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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

Texas Anti-Abortion Activist: 'A Lot of 13-Year-Olds Do Phenomenal' As Mothers

The Washington Post profiled Jana Pinson, giving the forced birth crusader a platform to spew right-wing talking points with little pushback.

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Portico Crisis Pregnancy Center nurse manager Diandra Bell enters one of two ultrasound rooms Jan. 26, 2022, in Murfreesboro, Tenn. States that have passed ever-restrictive abortion laws also have been funneling millions of taxpayer dollars into privately operated clinics that steer women away from abortions but provide little if any health care services. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Portico Crisis Pregnancy Center nurse manager Diandra Bell enters one of two ultrasound rooms Jan. 26, 2022, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Photo: Mark Zaleski (AP)

In a massive profile in the Washington Post this weekend, Texas-based anti-abortion crusader Jana Pinson spewed anti-abortion rhetoric with little to no pushback on her anti-medical beliefs. Pinson—who joined Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) when he signed the six-week abortion ban and bounty hunter enforcement scheme into law last year—wants to build a massive $10 million crisis pregnancy center in south Texas.

Among the horrific things Pinson opined on was her belief that pregnancies for young girls are not inherently catastrophic. “I’ve seen a lot of 13-year-olds do phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal” as mothers, she said. “It doesn’t have to be a negative thing.”

Uh. OK. While I pick my jaw off the floor, let’s see what else she said.

She closely followed the case of the 10-year-old rape victim who was denied an abortion in Ohio last month. If that girl came into her center, Pinson would suggest she consider adoption, she said, adding that abortion would not fix the girl’s problems.

“That life is still a life and, even at 10, she knows a life is inside her.”

That’s the end of a section near the end of the article. “That life is still a life and, even at 10, she knows a life is inside her.” With absolutely no pushback.

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I can’t believe I have to write this out: A 13-year-old child cannot consent to the sex act required for pregnancy. A 13-year-old child should not have to carry a pregnancy to term. A 13-year-old child should not have permanently alter their body through a traumatic live birth to accommodate your religious beliefs.

It makes me feel ill that I have to say this because there are people like Pinson who believe in forcing children into birth, rather than giving a child—who, again, cannot consent to the sex required to become pregnant—the opportunity for abortion. I can’t adequately summarize what one doctor told the New York Times for a story about what happens to young pregnant girls around the world, so I’ll quote it in full:

The critical issue is that the pelvis of a child is too small to allow passage of even a small fetus, said Dr. Ashok Dyalchand, who has worked with pregnant adolescent girls in low-income communities in India for more than 40 years.

“They have long labor, obstructed labor, the fetus bears down on the bladder and on the urethra,” sometimes causing pelvic inflammatory disease and the rupture of tissue between the vagina and the bladder and rectum, said Dr. Dyalchand, who heads an organization called the Institute of Health Management Pachod, a public health organization serving marginalized communities in central India.

“It is a pathetic state particularly for girls who are less than 15 years of age,” he added. “The complications, the morbidity and the mortality are much higher in girls under 15 than girls 16 to 19 although 16 to 19 has a mortality twice as high as women 20 and above.”

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It’s unconscionable to make someone that young carry a pregnancy.

Pinson isn’t the only one pushing anti-abortion pregnancy “care” center expansion. The Associated Press found earlier this year that there has been a nearly fivefold-increase of tax dollars going to centers aimed at talking people out of abortion: Nearly $89 million in public funding has been sent to anti-abortion centers in about a dozen states this fiscal year, compared to a decade ago when about eight states had sent about $17 million.

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The Washington Post, whether or not it would admit it, made a political choice with this piece. How you write about anti-abortion activists is inherently political. It’s not enough to simply let people’s words speak for themselves. You can’t cover these people who are intent on forced-birth-as-policy as do-gooder entrepreneurs—or even as people simply capitalizing on the moment. These are people who have the capacity to do real harm, and are getting state funding to do so.