Mike and The 10 Year Old

In my ongoing quest to be rational, I will apologize. I called Mike Huckabee’s opinion “stupid” on my Facebook post yesterday in the case of his saying that his planned policies, should he be elected, would deny an abortion to a 10 year old girl who was raped by her stepfather.

As I have friends who are anti-abortion (aka “pro-life) — Hi, Caroll! Hi, Claude! —  whom I do respect, let me change my tone here. I respectfully disagree with Mr. Huckabee’s position and wish to point out that not all Christians agree with him. Mr. Huckabee’s position is at the far end of the spectrum and — as one who’s opinions on war, are on one end of that spectrum, due to my Christianity– I must allow for his extreme position on abortion.

With that said, as a therapist, I cannot imagine a worse thing to put a child through than sexual abuse. I can’t imagine a worse thing to put a woman through, or frankly any human being. Incest, rape, and sexual abuse of all sort (yes, it happens to men) and it manages to do incredible damage in so many areas of life — especially those that involve interaction, communication, or contact with the rest of humanity.

Abuse survivors frequently spend their whole lives dealing with the reminders of their abuse — the house where it happened, the clothes of the perpetrator, the smell of the person who hurt them. The list goes on.

To have to give birth to a reminder of your abuse usually makes things even more difficult for the mother and the child. Women who give birth to a child of an abuser often see the face of their abuser (of whatever sort of abuse) in their child every time they look at them. This makes it far more likely that they are going to abuse that child in some way or another if they are forced to have the child — and that’s with teens and adult women! A 10 year old likely hasn’t developed any coping mechanisms for having or raising a child. A policy that says, “this is the way it should be” is so antithetical to mental health and physical health (can a 10 year old deliver a child physically without injury?) that it cannot possibly be good for human beings going through it. Virginia Satir says that good decisions, healthy decisions are made when we take into account “self”, “other”, and “context” (i.e. The Rules, usually). Mr. Huckabee’s policy takes none of the three into account. The girl delivering the baby isn’t taken into account, the unborn child’s mental and physical health aren’t being taken into account. While his proposed policy might be The Rules, it allows no dealing with the actual situation, substituting Mr. Huckabee’s moral values for the girls’.

Beyond that, there are two other objections I have to his plan. First, it tells half of the American population what it is allowed to do with it’s own body. And the person telling that half of the population is someone whom the policy doesn’t apply to.

These rules violate some of the most democratic values we have. If someone in America has to pass a test of some sort to vote, their voice is worth less than the unborn child, whose rights haven’t been established yet, and are still protected.
How is that possibly Constitutional or even part of a healthy democracy?

The second thing, akin to it, that drives me nuts about the whole situation is that the same people who have anti-abortion values generally refuse to support programs that help people survive once they are born. In other words, that child will get far more support from the government prior to its birth than it will get after its birth.This is insane. Being “pro-life-before-it-gets-here” and “not supportive-of-life-after-it’s-really-here” makes no sense. It’s making policy of fantasy.

Lastly, there are those who tell the child that she should have the child, love it, forgive the father of the child, and prove that good can come out of an evil situation. This is a truly pro-life Christian position for deeply spiritual people. Though I can’t imagine an abused child making that decision, such things have happened: one of the 3 women who were abducted and held in chains recently has said, she is trying to do that very thing. She is incredibly brave to try to do such a thing, and — as much as many of us believe that it is impossible — no one is taking away her choice to have the babies. Why should we take away the choice of any woman to make her own decisions? If we think she’s capable of making THAT decision, why do we not think she’s capable of making other decisions about her body, what goes into it, and what comes out of it?

Let me state again for the record, I am not “pro-abortion”. I don’t think “gee, they look fun and everyone should have one”. Nor is it my experience that women who have them aren’t affected by having them. They seem to invariably grieve. In that case, it abortion is a brave and difficult decision to make.

The idea that women can make one brave and difficult decision and not the other is absurd, especially when men are the ones who determine which decision women are allowed to have.

Mr. Huckabee knows that the “Golden Rule” of Jesus’ teaching — “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you”, and yet he claims to be a Christian. Does this sound like Jesus’ Christianity to you? It doesn’t to me.

Huckabee is free to support the life of the “unborn citizen” if he wishes. He is free to support all lives if he so chooses. What he is not allowed to do is destroy the lives of citizens who are alive or negate their rights to make a decision for themselves.

There are so many levels of my disagreement with Huckabee’s plan,it is hard to be calm about it. Is his plan “stupid”? No. Un-democratic and Un-Christian? That’s a different story, even if he generally seems to be such a nice man.




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