You have a problem, Alabama. It’s not Sharia law.

A young woman from Birmingham, Alabama, was raped and impregnated four times by her uncle. She was just 12 years old when the assaults started: Her mother’s half-brother started climbing into her bed. She endured this hell for years.

Raped at 14, she miscarried.

Raped at 16, she gave birth to a baby boy.

Raped at 18, she gave birth, but her child died of a disease common to incest cases.

Raped at 19, she gave birth to her second son.

Despite the DNA evidence, her uncle was never convicted of rape. It wouldn’t matter if he had been anyway: In Alabama, a rapist is entitled to visitation rights to children resulting from his crimes, and can even sue for custody. Alabama is one of only two states that allow this.

However, this horror takes on new meaning in Alabama, because last month the state passed a law outlawing the destruction of embryos for all victims of sexual assault. The law even prescribes jail for doctors who perform abortions. In fact, the only exception to the law is given to in vitro fertilization labs, which routinely  destroy tons of fertilized eggs. 

Now that abortion is outlawed for all rape survivors in Alabama, the survivor is forced to bear a child if one is conceived. At the very least, you’d think the lawmakers would fix the loophole (assuming it even is a loophole) that would give the rapist custody and visitation rights. Well, actually, one Alabama lawmaker did try to do just that by introducing a bill to terminate the parental rights of rapists. Unfortunately, “pro-life” lawmakers amended the bill so that it pertained only to people who rape their own children, and required that the perpetrator be convicted of first-degree rape.

Alabama lawmakers prattled on about how the first-degree rape conviction is needed to prevent fraud and abuse.  Much like their “voting fraud” claims, it’s all fake. Yet lawmakers failed to explain why multiple lesser offenses can terminate parental rights in Alabama without a conviction. Drug use and neglect, for example, only require “clear and convincing evidence”; not so with rape.  

These lawmakers, obsessed with protecting the rapist, either didn’t know or didn’t care that their actions only encourage women to seek abortion, since they now know that their ordeal won’t end when the rape is over. These monsters, on the other hand, have it pretty good: They get to choose the mother of their children regardless of whether she consents or not; the woman will be forced to bear any children; and it will be entirely up to the rapist how involved he will be in his victim’s life.

For this young woman in Birmingham, it’s already been a nightmare: “It’s sickening. I’ve spent my entire life scared to death of my rapist, and now, I’m fighting him for custody of my children,” she said. Even though she was the one who was violently and sexually violated, the criminal is the one calling the shots—and the only threat of jail time has been directed at the victim, with a judge telling her that she’d have to spend 48 hours in jail each time she denied the rapist a visit with her children.

Even Florida isn’t this backwards—anymore, at least. In 2010, a man who had raped a Florida woman tried to get full custody of her child. Thankfully, she got a sane judge who was interested in the circumstances of how the child was conceived. The woman, Analyn Megison, went on a crusade to convince Florida lawmakers to pass protections for rape survivors. President Obama signed the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, which gave states federal funding for rape victim advocacy programs if those states pass laws allowing for the termination of a rapist’s parental rights.

Alabama passed on the funding.

Terminating parental rights for rapists is too cruel, according to the Alabama GOP. It only wants to terminate parental rights for truly terrible crimes—such as being a Guatemalan immigrant coming here with her toddler to escape violence.

Conservatives are a sick bunch. Putting on a robe doesn’t always mean they rise to the occasion. Case in point: Roy Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He was a credibly accused child molester who often sided with the defendants in child rape and other sex crime cases.  I’d say avoid this state altogether, but the problem isn’t just in Alabama. It’s also in other states with GOP-dominated legislatures.

In Nebraska, a young woman was violently attacked, and her rapist was charged with first-degree sexual assault; however, he was allowed to plead to a lesser charge of third-degree sexual assault. In Nebraska, this protects his parental rights. Now, she says, “I have to text my rapist or email my rapist. To leave my daughter with someone I didn’t trust. (I’m) forced to parent with him and to see him on a weekly basis … to talk to him about my daughter’s school activities and her health.” The rapist has been granted unsupervised visits that just continue to grow longer.

Ohio is another state that requires a conviction to terminate parental rights. Its recent “heartbeat” law brought attention to a case in the state in which an 11-year-old child who was raped and impregnated by a 26-year-old is now required to bear the rapist’s child.  

This isn’t happening in Iran, Saudi Arabia, or another Middle Eastern country the GOP attacks for having Sharia courts. This is happening right here in the U.S. The Taliban has nothing on the GOP when it comes to subjugating women.

If you are fortunate enough not to live in one of these GOP-dominated states, you are still not safe. Keep in mind what Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump have been 100% focused on doing: completely remaking America’s courts by putting right-wing, conservative, misogynist judges in lifetime seats at every level. A third of judicial appointments have now been hand-picked by Trump, and they are frightening. One new judge blamed women for their own rape; another compared abortion to slavery; and yet another called birth control an assault on religious liberty. It doesn’t make a lick of difference whether you are in a blue state—your rights are in danger.

I get irritated when I hear Democrats and independents say they will consider “moderate” GOP candidates. These candidates are in the mold of Susan Collins of Maine: They’ll decry what is happening but will always vote to confirm the monsters who are making it possible. 

These horrible stories aren’t limited to red states; they are the end game that the GOP wants for the rest of us.

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 · 10:12:19 PM EDT · SemDem

Didn’t think I’d forget about you, Texas? ”A former Southern Baptist pastor who supported legislation in Texas that would have criminalized abortions has been arrested on charges of child sex abuse, accused of repeatedly molesting a teenage relative over the course of two years.”

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