Health

Idaho Republican: Trauma Can Prevent Pregnancy In Rape

| by Michael Allen

Lawmakers in Idaho are considering a bill that would require women who want a legal abortion to be given a list of providers for a free ultrasound.

Women would also be told that they have a right to an ultrasound and to listen to a fetal heart monitor before they have an abortion. The bill doesn’t include any exceptions for rape or incest.

Republican State Rep. Pete Nielsen of Idaho said during a hearing that pregnancy doesn’t usually happen after rape or incest, notes The Spokesman-Review.

“I’m of the understanding that in many cases of rape it does not involve any pregnancy because of the trauma of the incident,” Nielsen said. “That may be true with incest a little bit.”

Nielsen didn’t note any scientific evidence behind his theory, but said after the hearing that pregnancy “doesn’t happen as often as it does with consensual sex, because of the trauma involved.”

“That’s information that I’ve had through the years,” Nielsen added. “Whether it’s totally accurate or not, I don’t know.”

“I read a lot of information. I have read it several times … Being a father of five girls, I’ve explored this a lot.”

Democratic State Rep. Melissa Wintrow of Idaho countered, “What that kind of a statement does to somebody who’s been victimized violently – it’s ignorant, it’s insensitive.”

A study published by Human Nature in 2003 found statistics suggest “per-incident rape-pregnancy rates exceed per-incident consensual pregnancy rates by a sizable margin.”

Popular Science noted  the study found 6.4 percent of rapes resulted in pregnancy, but when the women were not on birth control, the conception rate went up to 8 percent.

The ultrasound bill doesn’t have any standards for ultrasound providers.

This concerned Democratic State Rep. Paulette Jordan of Idaho, who said, “My neighbor could even be listed, and they could have an ultrasound machine in their house.”

The ultrasound bill made it though the House State Affairs Committee, and will now go to the House for a vote.

State Republicans are pushing another bill that would not allow fetal tissue from an abortion to be used in medical research or organ donations.

The New England Journal of Medicine stated in 2015 that fetal tissue research should be part of “new preventive and therapeutic interventions for devastating diseases."

The perspective continued: "Virtually every person in this country has benefited from research using fetal tissue. Every child who's been spared the risks and misery of chickenpox, rubella, or polio can thank the Nobel Prize recipients and other scientists who used such tissue in research yielding the vaccines that protect us (and give even the unvaccinated the benefit of herd immunity)."

Sources: The Spokesman-Review, Human Nature via Springer.com, Popular Science, The New England Journal of Medicine / Photo Credit: Barbara (WVS)/Wikimedia

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