It sure looks like Republicans want women to die. Particularly if they are teenagers and have the temerity to be sexually active.

This is highlighted by what has to qualify as the most shocking scientific study of the year, published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network and titled Teen Pregnancy and Risk of Premature Mortality.

The result of the study of over 2.2 million women who experienced teen and pre-teen pregnancies (the youngest in the study gave birth at 9 years of age, although most were older teens) is best summarized by the subhead in the article about it in March 14’s New York Times:

“A large analysis in Canada finds that teenagers who had babies were twice as likely to die before age 31.”

This is not a statistic you’ll hear on Fox “News” or in rightwing hate media. Instead, they’re cheer-leading for raped little girls to experience “the miracle of birth.”

As you remember, in 2022 Republican Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio forced a 10-year-old rape victim to travel to Indiana to get an abortion, the day after his Republican Attorney General called the story a “fabrication.” DeWine, for his part, refused to argue for the girl to get an abortion, giving a gibberish answer to questions from reporters.

Other Republicans were in simple denial, claiming the story was part of a vast leftwing conspiracy. Republican Congressman and former wrestling coach Jim Jordan tweeted:

“Another lie. Anyone surprised?”

Fox News’ Emily Compagno told her network’s viewers:

“What I find so deeply offensive, is that they had to made up a fake one!”

And South Dakota’s Republican Governor and Trump VP aspirant Kristi Noem, told CNN’s Dana Bash that the girl — whose pelvis was not even yet sufficiently formed to handle a vaginal birth — should be forced to carry the fetus to term:

“I don’t believe a tragic situation should be perpetuated by another tragedy,” Noem said, arguing against the little girl getting an abortion. “There’s more that we have got to do to make sure that we really are living a life that says every life is precious…”

The protestations of misogynistic Republicans across the nation notwithstanding, teenagers giving birth is not only life-changing but also health-destroying. And terribly common, particularly in Red states, which have the highest per-capita rates of teen pregnancy.

The JAMA Network study covered the period from 1991 to 2021 and, because Canada has a national single-payer healthcare system, they were easily able to compile the anonymized statistics.

Was this because girls getting pregnant are, at least in popular culture, associated with poverty and dropping out of school? The answer from the study was an emphatic “No!”  The author of the Times article, Roni Caryn Rabin, noted:

“Even after the researchers accounted for pre-existing health problems the girls may have had, and for income and education disparities, teenagers who carried pregnancies to term were more than twice as likely to suffer premature death later in life.”

Meanwhile, rapists in Red states, particularly if they like the idea of reproducing their DNA, are having a heyday.

The Houston Chronicle reported on January 24 on the results of another new study, published that month in JAMA’s journal Internal Medicine titled Rape-Related Pregnancies in the 14 US States With Total Abortion Bans. As the Chronicle’s Medical Reporter Julian Gill noted:

“Texas saw an estimated 26,313 rape-related pregnancies during the 16 months after the state outlawed all abortions, with no exceptions for survivors of rape or incest, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. …

“Behind Texas, the states [with no-exceptions bans on abortion] with the highest totals [of pregnancies resulting from rape] were Missouri (5,825), Tennessee (4,990), Arkansas (4,660), Oklahoma (4,530), Louisiana (4,290) and Alabama (4,130).”

Because none of these states either keep or release detailed statistics on rape-caused pregnancies it’s impossible to know how many of the 56,000+ rape-caused pregnancies in the US last year were among teen and preteen girls, but in every single Republican-controlled state that has outlawed abortion, age is not considered a mitigating factor that might allow medical intervention.

If you are female and pregnant in a Red state, the legislature and police of that state own you and your body, regardless of your maturity or life circumstances.

Four Texas counties have put into law bans on traveling out-of-state to obtain an abortion, along with a statewide law that allows anybody to sue and obtain up to $10,000 by proving a woman or girl has traveled out-of-state to end a pregnancy. Missouri and Idaho have also enacted bans on what Republicans call “abortion tourism,” as if it’s some sort of fun adventure every woman wants to do for entertainment.

In addition to the religious freaks who demand punishment of women who get abortions, many men in America simply do not think women should have the right to make their own medical decisions — or any sort of decisions of consequence, or hold any positions of power, for that matter.

As Pew reported in 2020, with a painful echo of Rush Limbaugh’s famous “Feminazi” shtick that so appealed to his largely male and Republican listener base:

“About four-in-ten Republican men (38%) say women’s gains have come at the expense of men, compared with 25% of Republican women…”

But this is just the beginning. Next, Republicans are going after birth control, starting with teenage girls.

Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an anti-birth-control ruling by the infamous rightwing crank Texas District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk (whose ban of the abortion drug Mifepristone based on the Comstock Act is being heard before the Supreme Court soon).

The complainant, Alexander Deanda, argued that his three teenage daughters should not be allowed to confidentially obtain birth control from one of the state’s 150 federally-funded Title X clinics that were established by Congress and President Nixon in 1970 (it is already illegal in Texas for teens to obtain birth control from state-funded and private clinics without a parent’s permission).

As NPR reported:

“In his suit, Deanda, a Christian, said he was ‘raising each of [his] daughters in accordance with Christian teaching on matters of sexuality’ and that he could have no ‘assurance that his children will be unable to access prescription contraception’ that ‘facilitate sexual promiscuity and premarital sex.’

“In his opinion, Kacsmaryk agreed, writing that ‘the use of contraception (just like abortion) violates traditional tenets of many faiths, including the Christian faith plaintiff practices.’”

The Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025, is explicit about the GOP’s desire to see women barefoot and pregnant (and arguably, like Katie Britt, in the kitchen). As Rolling Stone reported:

“Those plans — and many more, including proposals to attack contraception access, use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase ‘abortion surveillance’ and data collection, rescind a Department of Defense policy to ‘prohibit abortion travel funding,’ punish states that require health insurance plans to cover abortion, and retool a law that is currently protecting pregnant women with life-threatening conditions — are outlined in Project 2025’s ‘Mandate for Leadership.’”

The Project 2025 document, in a section written by Trump’s head of the Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Civil Rights, Roger Severino, calls for draconian federal-supervised, state-reported surveillance of every woman of child-bearing age:

“Because liberal states have now become sanctuaries for abortion tourism, HHS should use every available tool, including the cutting of funds, to ensure that every state reports exactly how many abortions take place within its borders, at what gestational age of the child, for what reason, the mother’s state of residence, and by what method.”

Republicans are also calling for the enforcement of the moribund Comstock Act, which outlaws sending anything relating to abortion or birth control through the mail or via a common carrier like UPS or FedEx — even to hospitals and pharmacies.

And the GOP is quite excited about the prospect. As The New York Times reported:

“Project 2025’s road map argues that a Republican Justice Department should enforce Comstock ‘against providers and distributors’ of abortion pills. A Trump administration could follow through on these plans by prosecuting doctors and drug companies anywhere in the country: The Comstock Act, as a federal law, could be read to override state protections for abortion rights.

“Some key abortion opponents, like the former Texas solicitor general Jonathan Mitchell, argue that Comstock should be interpreted as an effective ban on all abortions because every procedure that takes place in the United States relies on some item placed in the mail, from a surgical glove to a curet. Mr. Mitchell and his allies read the law to exclude explicit exceptions for the life or health of the patient.”

Generally ignored since the 1950s, the Act is still on the books and, if it were enforced by a Republican president (as promised), it would functionally ban both abortion nationwide but birth control as well.

While the Republican war against women just shifted into hyperdrive, yesterday President Joe Biden signed an executive order mandating expanded funding and data collection by the federal government around women’s health.

It follows an announcement three weeks ago by First Lady Jill Biden, who heads up the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research, of $100 million in new funding.

Dr. Jill Biden was emphatic:

“We will build a health care system that puts women and their lived experiences at its center. Where no woman or girl has to hear that ‘it’s all in your head,’ or, ‘it’s just stress.’ Where women are not just an after-thought, but a first-thought. Where women do not just survive with chronic conditions but lead long and healthy lives.”

It’s been long needed: it was only in the 1990s that the feds required medical and pharmaceutical studies to include women, and even at that women’s health issues are nowhere near as frequently examined as are men’s.

The contrast with the GOP, which has fought against the Equal Rights Amendment for decades, could not be clearer.

Women planning to vote Republican this year need to know what that party really has in mind for them should the GOP regain power in Washington DC.

Federico Marsicano (via Shutterstock)

© Thom Hartmann, used with permission. Originally published on The Hartmann Report as Scientific Proof Republicans Are Killing Young Women

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