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MS abortion ban forces 13-year-old rape victim to deliver a baby

Aprile Rickert, LPM

On this edition of Your Call, we're discussing a TIME Magazine feature about Ashley, a 13-year-old soon to be 7th grader from Clarksdale, Mississippi, who was forced to deliver a baby after she could not access an abortion under the state's extreme ban.

Ashley was raped by a stranger in her front yard, and waited months to tell her mom Regina what happened.

Reporter Charlotte Alter writes: Regina hadn’t yet explained to her daughter how a baby is made, because she didn’t think Ashley was old enough to understand. On Jan. 11, Ashley began throwing up so much that Regina took her to the emergency room at Northwest Regional Medical Center in Clarksdale. That's when they found out Ashley was pregnant.

Seven months earlier, Ashley could have gone to abortion clinics in Memphis, 90 minutes north, or in Jackson, Miss., two and a half hours south. But today, Ashley lives in the heart of abortion-ban America. In 2018, Republican lawmakers in Mississippi enacted a ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Guest:

Charlotte Alter, senior correspondent for TIME, host of TIME’s Person of the Week podcast, and author of The Ones We've Been Waiting For: How a New Generation of Leaders Will Transform America

Web Resources:

TIME: She Wasn't Able to Get an Abortion. Now She's a Mom. Soon She'll Start 7th Grade.

Mother Jones: “What Have You Been Doing?” and the Brutal Adultification of Black Girls

New York Times: Most Abortion Bans Include Exceptions. In Practice, Few Are Granted.

Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.
Bee Soll is a producer with Your Call at KALW, and a producer, writer, and editor at KCBS Radio in San Francisco. She is a former reporter for Crosscurrents and contributor at KPFA Radio.