Archives for category: Childhood

Jan Resseger, outstanding advocate for children and the common good, argues in this post that we DO know how to reduce child poverty and must pursue that goal. I agreee. When I realized the high correlation between poverty and academic failure, I saw that the best way to improve education is to improve the lives of children. I thank Jan for being one of the people who taught me that crucial lesson.

She writes:

This blog has strongly advocated that Congress should enact legislation to make permanent last year’s temporary expansion of the Child Tax Credit. New research confirms the urgency of Congressional action on the Child Tax Credit this year.

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Census reported* a stunning drop in poverty among U.S. children in 2021, largely thanks to the Biden Administration’s action—temporarily for 2021 alone—to expand the Child Tax Credit and make it fully refundable under the American Rescue (COVID-relief) Act. That expansion of the Child Tax Credit ended in 2022. Now it is apparent that unless Congress acts to restore what was a temporary reform to the Child Tax Credit, millions of American children will fall back into poverty.

The U.S. Census created a new measure of poverty in 2011, the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which reflects how government programs like SNAP, school lunch benefits, and refundable tax credits supplement family income and reduce poverty. The Census Bureau’s new report explains: “The SPM (Supplemental Poverty Measure) extends the official poverty measure by accounting for many of the government programs that are designed to assist low-income families but are not included in the official poverty measure. The SPM also includes federal and state taxes and work and medical expenses… Though the SPM does not replace the official poverty measure, it provides a different metric of economic well-being that includes resources from government programs and tax credits to low income families.”

In their September 13 report, using the SPM measure, U.S. Census Bureau researchers documented an extraordinary reduction in child poverty during 2021: “The SPM child poverty rate fell 46 percent in 2021, from 9.7 percent in 2020 to 5.2 percent in 2021, a 4.5 percentage-point decline. This is the lowest SPM child poverty rate on record.” “The decline in the SPM rate for children was largely driven by stimulus payments and the refundable Child Tax Credit, which led to increased resources for families with children.”

To review: In the American Rescue (COVID-relief) Act passed in the spring of 2021, Congress made several significant changes in the Child Tax Credit: raising the maximum Child Tax Credit from $2,000 to $3,600 per child through age 5, and $3,000 for children age 6-17; allowing families to receive a Child Tax Credit for 17-year-olds; sending the payments monthly instead of once a year, and making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable for the year 2021. Making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable was an extremely significant reform. While, since 1997, families with comfortable incomes have qualified for the full Child Tax Credit, until the American Rescue (COVID-relief) Act, families with such small incomes that they pay little income tax received only a partial credit and not the full amount. Families without any income (who do not pay federal income tax) could not qualify at all for the tax credit. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained in a November 2021 report: “Prior to the Rescue Plan, 27 million children received less than the full Child Tax Credit or no credit at all because their families’ incomes were too low. That included roughly half of all Black and Latino children and half of children who live in rural communities… This upside-down policy gave less help to the children who needed it most. The American Rescue Plan temporarily fixed this policy by making the tax credit fully refundable for 2021.”

When the new Census data came out on September 13, the President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Sharon Parrott, immediately released a statementinterpreting the significance of the drop in U.S. child poverty: “The data for 2021 show that the nation knows how to reduce poverty, broaden opportunity, and expand coverage. Temporary measures drove progress… The new data show that due chiefly to the Child Tax Credit, child poverty fell sharply in 2021 and reached a record low of 5.2 percent, as measured by the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM)…. As recently as 2018, 13.7 percent of children were below the SPM poverty line.”

Parrot scrutinizes the meaning of Congress’s temporary action last year to reduce American child poverty: “The Child Tax Credit expansion drove the large reduction in child poverty between 2020 and 2021…. In the absence of the expansion, child poverty would have fallen to 8.1 percent, rather than 5.2 percent, and some 2.1 million more children would have lived in families with incomes below the poverty line. The year-to-year decline in the child poverty rate was the largest on record (4.5 percentage points). Child poverty rates plunged widely across racial and ethnic groups…. For Black non-Latino children, the poverty rate fell to 8.3 percent in 2021 from 17.2percent in 2020…. This is stunning progress—in 2018 nearly 1 in 4 Black children lived in families with incomes below the poverty line. In 2021, fewer than 1 in 10 did… In 2021, poverty among Latino children fell to 8.4 percent and for American Indian and Alaska Native children it fell to 7.4 percent.”

Washington Post columnists, Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent believeCongressional action permanently to expand the Child Tax Credit would redefine our society morally: “We can choose to make our economic arrangements fairer. We can make collective decisions that children shouldn’t be disadvantaged at a very young age through no fault of their own. Making the choice to alleviate poverty early in people’s lives… puts children on a path to becoming healthier, happier, more fulfilled, more productive adults.”

Please read the rest of this important post. When I am asked what one thing I would do to improve students’ educational success, I invariably answer: “Reduce child poverty.”

Why don’t we?

John Merrow offers sage advice about how to protect your child from predators. Do not put their name on their backpack, lunchbox, or clothing.

He writes:

The adult and child walking in front of me were complete strangers, people I had never seen before. The man, who looked to be in his early 30’s, was casually dressed. He was holding the hand of a young girl, probably about five years old. Perhaps the girl, Sophie, was his daughter and they were on their way home from school or a music lesson.

If you’re reading carefully, you may be thinking, “Hold on a minute! You wrote that you had never seen those two before, and yet you assert that her name was Sophie? That doesn’t compute, buddy. You’ve lost your credibility….big time.”

I did what I have done on other occasions. I called out, “Excuse me, sir,” and the man stopped and turned around. “Hi, Sophie,” I said, and the man looked at me sideways, probably wondering why an old man with white hair was striking up a conversation.

“Do I know you,” he asked, somewhat suspiciously?

“No,” I said. “We have never met, but I know your daughter’s name is Sophie. I probably shouldn’t know it, but I do–and so does everyone else who sees her backpack.”

He seemed uncertain as to how to respond to my blunt, even rude, comment, and so I continued talking.

“I reported on children’s issues for 41 years on public television and radio,” I said. “And a story I did on child predators back in the 1980’s has stayed with me. I spent a day with cops searching for a suspected pedophile, and at one point they hauled in a man who was lingering outside an elementary school. He hadn’t done anything, so they couldn’t charge him, and he denied being a predator. But he did tell them—and me, the reporter–how pedophiles are successful in persuading children to go off with them.”

The father was now paying close attention.

“The biggest gift,” this (probable) predator said, “is clothing or a backpack with the child’s name printed on it. All he has to do is call the child by name to catch them off guard. The 5-year-old won’t recognize or remember him, but children see many adults throughout their day. But the man knows her name, and so she might assume that she must have met him. Of course, her parents have taught her not to talk to strangers, but this man knows her name, and so she lets down her guard.”

I have not been able to erase from my memory his final words: “Game over.”

Unfortunately (from my point of view), personalized backpacks like the one Sophie was wearing are big business. A Google search turns up 43,100,000 hits. That’s 43 MILLION! A search for personalized lunch boxes– another gift to predators–produces 10,000,000 hits. Disney will gladly sell you all sorts of stuff with your child’s name emblazoned on it, as will hundreds of other large companies.

Open the link and read on.

Pieper Lewis was 15 when she ran away from the home of her adopted mother. She slept in the lobby of an apartment building. She was befriended by a man who then gave her to other men in exchange for drugs or money. One man raped her repeatedly. In a fit of rage, she stabbed him repeatedly and killed him in 2020. After more than two years in detention, she came before a judge who gave her five years of probation, instead of 20 years in prison. He also required this homeless teen to pay $150,000 to the rapist’s family in accordance with Iowa law.

One of Pieper’s high school teachers stepped in to help her by creating a GoFundMe to pay her debt. Leland Schipper, her former math teacher, hoped to raise $150,000, enough to pay what she owed plus some money to help her get a fresh start. He has so far raised over $400,000 so that the child will be able to go to college or start a business. She said in a statement that she wants to help other girls like her who were victims of sex trafficking.

This was Pieper Lewis’ statement at her sentencing hearing.

Thank you to Leland Schipper for giving this young woman, this child, a chance to start over.

Quite a story.

Paul Waldman and Greg Sergeant of the Washington Post write about the untimely and unnecessary demise of the most effective anti-poverty program for children. One Democratic Senator, Joseph Manchin, killed it.

“My friends, some years ago, the federal government declared war on poverty, and poverty won,” Ronald Reagan declared in his State of the Union address in 1988. He lamented that “government created a poverty trap” that discouraged people from lifting themselves up.
Then as now, it was an idea driven by an ideology that says the government should do as little as possible to help people who are struggling. Then as now, it was refuted by facts.


As a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows, we did something extraordinary during the worst parts of the coronavirus pandemic: In the midst of a crisis that affected every part of our society and could have been economically calamitous, we drove poverty down. As economically painful as the crisis was, the aggressive public spending passed across the Trump and Biden presidencies dramatically mitigated the hardship Americans suffered.

Using just-released census figures, the group reports the results of the pandemic stimulus measures in 2021. In particular, the study looked at the expansion of the child tax credit, which was altered to give monthly payments to eligible families, including those with incomes too low to have income tax liability:

The expanded Child Tax Credit alone kept 5.3 million people above the annual poverty line and helped drive a stunning reduction in child poverty to a record low. Poverty overall also reached a record low and the uninsured rate dropped substantially, with Medicaid and Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace coverage reaching or nearing record highs.


The effect on minority groups was particularly dramatic: “In 2018 nearly 1 in 4 Black children lived in families with incomes below the poverty line. In 2021, fewer than 1 in 10 did.”


It’s important to remember that we define “poverty” as a line one can be over or under. The fact that a family has a bit more income than where that line is placed doesn’t mean they don’t struggle to make ends meet.

But government assistance can mean the difference between a family having enough to eat, being able to pay the rent and utilities, or becoming homeless. And it’s clear that antipoverty spending has had a tremendous impact.

This week the New York Times reported comprehensive data showing that over the past three decades, child poverty has declined dramatically, down from 28 percent of American children in 1993 to 11 percent in 2019. Much of the credit goes to the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit, which give significant benefits to low-income Americans.

Now, here’s the bad news: Sadly, the expanded CTC expired at the end of 2021. Almost all Democrats in Congress wanted to extend the expansion, but Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) refused; he reportedly told colleagues he worried that parents would use the money to buy drugs. Without that extra income, millions of children fell back into poverty in 2022.

That only reinforces what a success story pandemic relief was — even if some of its effects were temporary.

These data are also important for another reason. They undercut conservative arguments that such government help must be accompanied with work requirements, lest it incentivize recipients to slip into a “hammock” of “dependency,” as one wretched formulation of the idea has it.

“There was a huge decline in child poverty and a very large increase in parents working year round without any work requirements,” Sherman told us. “We did not need to require the parents to work.”
In practice, work requirements often wind up being little more than a weaponization of bureaucracy against poor people, forcing them to spend enormous amounts of time and energy satisfying paperwork requirements, with the threat of their benefits being withdrawn if they make a mistake.
Ultimately, however, the most important lesson might be this: We can choose to make our economic arrangements fairer. We can make collective decisions that children shouldn’t be disadvantaged at a very young age through no fault of their own.


Making the choice to alleviate poverty early in people’s lives, many economists agree, puts children on a path to becoming healthier, happier, more fulfilled, more productive adults. We have perpetually failed to make that choice, but this time, we did make it, and it worked.
“We decided that we could actually try things,” Sherman told us.

Unfortunately, thanks largely to a certain senator from West Virginia, Democratic majorities in Congress were unable to continue the expanded CTC. But the drop in child poverty is a very big story, and if Democrats can somehow hold those majorities, its legacy should ensure that we don’t make that absurd and unnecessary mistake again.

I wonder how Senator Joe Manchin feels, knowing that he is responsible for the demise of a federal program lifted millions of children out of povètt.

Nearly two dozen states have moved to restrict abortion or ban it altogether since the reversal of Roe v. Wade — meaning more people, especially those with low incomes and from marginalized communities, will be forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term.

So are states prepared to pay for the infrastructure needed to support these parents and children? The data paints a grim picture for many families: Mothers and children in states with the toughest abortion restrictions tend to have less access to health care and financial assistance, as well as worse health outcomes.

Stuart Butler, a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution, calls the end of Roe “a double whammy” for people who live in these states, which are mostly in the South.

“They are far less likely to have assistance for themselves and their children, and they are far less likely to have health care available to them when they are pregnant and for their children,” he tells Morning Edition. “And that means that there’s going to be not only more hardship, but greater health problems and maternal deaths and so on … unless there is a fundamental change in political behavior in those states.”

As NPR has reported, a large body of research shows that being denied an abortion limits peoples’ education, time in the workforce and wages, with the economic consequences extending well into the lives of their children. One groundbreaking project called The Turnaway Study spent a decade comparing the experiences of people who had abortions with those who wanted abortions but were denied them, and found that those who were denied treatment experienced worse economic and mental health outcomes than those who received care.

Dr. Diana Greene Foster, the demographer behind the study, told NPR in May that the findings show that pregnant people who are unable to get a safe, legal abortion and end up carrying the pregnancy to term will experience long-term physical and economic harm.

“We haven’t become a more generous country that supports low-income mothers,” she added. “And so those outcomes are still the outcomes that people will experience when they are denied a wanted abortion.”

Count on Jan Resseger to follow the news that matters most for the well-being of America’s children. West Virginia Senator killed President Biden’s ambitious Build Back Better plan, an effort to reverse climate change, invest in education, reduce child poverty, and much more. But the child tax credit, which directly helps children, is not dead yet, she writes.

It would appear that Senator Joe Manchin’s sabotage of the expanded Child Tax Credit as part of Build Back Better has killed the restoration of last year’s extraordinary but temporary improvement of this federal program as part of the American Rescue Plan COVID relief bill. But America’s child poverty advocacy coalition has not yet given up and neither have the experts at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Democratic leaders in Congress—Senators Sherrod Brown, Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Ron Wyden and Raphael Warnock—and Representatives led by Rosa de Lauro are still in conversation with Republican Senators Mitt Romney, Richard Burr and Steve Daines, who have offered two versions of their own Republican Child Tax Credit proposal.

It is urgently important for America’s public school educators and child advocates to keep on pushing for expanding the Child Tax Credit and making it fully refundable. The educational damage of child poverty cannot be solved through school reform. While teachers can support children whose lives are ravaged by our society’s alarming economic inequality, public schools alone cannot undo the stresses and privations that poverty imposes on America’s poorest children.

Much of the ongoing conversation this month has been about the Family Security Act, proposed by Senator Romney and other Republicans, which would replace the Build Back Better Better version of the Child Tax Credit that was rejected by Senator Joe Manchin. Last week a coalition of national child advocacy organizations, the First Focus Campaign for Children, wrote a letter to Senators Mitt Romney, Steve Daines and Richard Burr to explain why their recent version of the Family Security Act isn’t good enough: this most recent version will leave America’s very poorest children in worse straits than a version Romney proposed in 2021.

Here is the First Focus Campaign for Children: “The good news is that we know what works to reduce child poverty.” A 2019 landmark National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) “study finds that a child allowance, operating as an extension of the Child Tax Credit, is the most powerful tool we have to combat child poverty and narrow the racial poverty gap. Extensive research shows when households with children receive cash transfers, they spend it on resources that support their children’s healthy development—improving their physical and behavioral health and educational outcomes and leading them to earn more as adults… The first version (2021) of the original Family Security Act proposed by Senator Romney would have cut child poverty by an estimated 32.6%… Households with the least resources would have been eligible to receive the full (newly increased) Child Tax Credit… Unfortunately, as the Family Security Act morphed into version 2.0, changes focused on adults were made to the Child Tax Credit and significantly reduced the positive impact it would have on millions of children. The ‘best interests of children’ became an afterthought as the focus shifted to some sort of ‘deservedness’ standards for adults that has the effect of punishing children. As a result, the Niskanen Center’s updated analysis shows that the Family Security Act 2.0 would only reduce child poverty by just 12.6%.”

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities details the primary reason why the latest version of the Family Security Act would punish children in families with the lowest income: “To qualify for the maximum credit for each child in the family, families would need to have earned at least $10,000 in the prior year… Families with earnings below $10,000 would receive a proportional credit. For example, a family earning $5,000 would receive 50 percent of the maximum credit for each child.” Families with no income would no longer qualify, but couples earning up to $400,000 per year would qualify as would single parents making up to $200,000 annually.

But, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities further explains: “The $10,000 earnings requirement to receive the full credit would apply to all families, including parents with babies and young children, retired grandparents caring for their grandchildren, and parents with disabilities that may limit their ability to work. It would also newly require caregivers not only to live with the child but also to have legal custody of the child, which is stricter than current law and may disqualify many grandparents or other relatives who care for children from claiming the credit. And it would impose a new restriction for families that include immigrants: under current law, children must have a Social Security number (SSN) to qualify for the Child Tax Credit, but the proposal would impose an additional requirement that a parent also have an SSN, denying the credit to children who are U.S. citizens if their parents lack an SSN.”

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains another serious problem when several of the provisions of the newest version of the Family Security Act, are computed together: “The Romney proposal… (would require) families with low and moderate incomes to pay for more than half the cost of expanding the credit… The Romney plan would dramatically cut the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) a credit that provides an income boost for workers with low and moderate incomes, and eliminate the ‘head of household’ tax filing status, which millions of single parents who work at low-paying jobs use when they file their income tax returns… For example, consider a single mother who has a toddler and a daughter in second grade and works as a home health aide, making $25,000 a year. Her family’s Child Tax Credit would grow by $3,640 under the Romney plan, but they would lose $4,105 from the EITC cuts and the elimination of the head of household filing status, for a net income loss of $465. If both children were age 6 or older, the net income loss would be even larger: $1,665.”

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities summarizes what would be the primary effects of the latest Family Security Act provisions: “Denying the full credit to children based on their parents’ earnings would do virtually nothing to boost parental employment and would withhold help from the children who most need it….

Open the link and read the rest of her important analysis.

I had not planned to write anything more about the child who was raped in Ohio, became pregnant with the rapist’s semen, but had to go to Indiana for an abortion. But then someone wrote a comment here implying that the whole story sounded like fake news. As I showed in my original post, there have been many reports of children who were raped and impregnated. Some got abortions. Others did not.

I’m old-fashioned. I don’t think children should be raped. If they are, they should not bear a child. It’s monstrous. The rapist should be found and punished. In my limited view, those who want a 10-year-old child to have a baby are sadists.

In the Ohio case, Republicans jumped all over the story and called it fake news. It was not. The right showed themselves to be heartless, cruel fools.

Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times reports how the Right humiliated themselves in their eagerness to discredit the story and the child.

She writes:

Not long after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, an Indiana obstetrician and gynecologist named Caitlin Bernard told The Indianapolis Star about a call she’d gotten from a doctor in Ohio. The Ohio doctor had a 10-year-old patient who was six weeks and three days pregnant. An Ohio law banning abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected — usually around the sixth week of pregnancy — had just gone into effect, so the girl needed to cross state lines for care. The report, being illustrative of the ghoulish impact of abortion prohibitions, went viral, and Joe Biden mentioned it in a speech.

The right, however, quickly convinced itself that the tale was dubious and probably false. The conservative website PJ Media claimed, last Friday, that the account had “many of the elements of a hoax.” On Monday, Ohio’s Republican attorney general, Dave Yost, went on Fox News to say that he knew of no police reports about a 10-year-old rape victim. “The more you learn about this, the more unbelievable it becomes,” said the host, Jesse Watters.

A Wall Street Journal editorial on Tuesday described the report as “fanciful,” noting that “no one has been able to identify the girl or where she lives,” as if that information should be public. “Hey, so did they catch the guy who raped the Ohio ten year old yet?” the National Review writer Michael Brendan Dougherty tweeted last week, seemingly sarcastically.

The answer to Dougherty’s question is now yes. Officials say that a 27-year-old named Gerson Fuentes was arrested on Tuesday and has confessed. The children’s services department in Columbus alerted the police about the rape in June. Rather than apologize to Caitlin Bernard for calling her a liar, many on the right have started attacking her for not reporting the rape herself, even though the police already knew about it by the time she saw the girl.

On Wednesday, Watters displayed a photograph of Bernard and said, “According to reporting from PJ Media, she has a history of failing to report child abuse cases.” Then Indiana’s attorney general, Todd Rokita, appeared on Watters’s show, describing Bernard as an “abortion activist acting as a doctor,” and announcing she was under investigation.

It looks like the only thing Bernard did wrong, though, is to embarrass Republicans. On Thursday afternoon, The Star reported that Bernard reported the abortion to the Indiana Department of Health and the Department of Child Services, as state law requires. In a statement, her lawyer said she’s considering legal action against Rokita and others who have “smeared” her.

This whole hideous episode has demonstrated the extent to which conservatives are unwilling to grapple with the reality of the abortion regime they are imposing on much of the country. There is nothing wrong with seeing a single-source news report and deciding you want to withhold judgment until more information emerges. But that’s not what happened here. Instead there was sneering incredulity, as if a raped 10-year-old being denied an abortion wasn’t an inevitable consequence of an abortion ban without a rape exception.

Surely right-wingers, who love to accuse their enemies of pedophilia, understand that children are raped in America. The Columbus Dispatch, which broke the news of Fuentes’s arrest, reported that there were 52 abortions performed on children 15 and under in Ohio in 2020, roughly one a week in just one state.

In countries that have banned abortion, there have been a number of high-profile cases of very young pregnant rape victims. In Nicaragua in 2003, feminist activists fought to help a 9-year-old obtain a therapeutic abortion. When it emerged that she’d been raped by her stepfather, the activists faced legal harassment over accusations that they’d helped cover up the crime.

Just this year, a judge in Brazil tried to block an abortion for an 11-year-old who had been raped. “Do you want to choose the baby’s name?” he asked her. “Would the baby’s father agree to give it up for adoption? Would you bear it a little longer?” Why would anyone think that similar laws won’t lead to similar results here?

It’s been especially maddening to see people on the right smugly insist that the girl in Ohio could have had a legal abortion in her state. In a New York Post column casting doubt on the story, the law professor Jonathan Turley wrote, “Ohio says abortions are allowed ‘to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman,’ which would certainly be the case for a 10-year-old.”

His certainty is entirely unearned. The Ohio law actually saysthat abortion is permitted only in cases of “medical emergency” requiring the “immediate performance or inducement of an abortion” in order to prevent death or irreversible bodily harm that “delay in the performance or inducement of the abortion would create.” This language is vague and open to interpretation. It’s obvious to me that a pregnant 10-year-old is an immediate medical emergency. But if you were an abortion provider in Ohio, would you stake your career, and perhaps your freedom, on prosecutors like Yost giving you the benefit of the doubt?

“If states write laws that are completely vague about what the requirements are, they can still have abortion on the books, but have an environment in which no physician is willing to provide it,” said the N.Y.U. law professor Melissa Murray.

Roe has been gone for less than three weeks, and the utterly predictable outcomes are already apparent. Today.com reportedon a woman in Arizona who learned at 21 weeks that her wanted pregnancy was unviable, but whose doctor is unable to induce an early delivery because of the Supreme Court’s decision. “I really can only describe it as feeling trapped,” she said.

As The Los Angeles Times reported, some patients are being denied methotrexate, a drug used to treat certain cancers and autoimmune conditions, because it’s an abortifacient. Medical professionals aren’t necessarily wrong to worry; according to the newspaper, “In Texas, dispensing methotrexate to someone who uses it to induce a miscarriage after 49 days of gestation is a felony.”

Abortions after about six weeks have been illegal in Texas since S.B. 8, the so-called abortion bounty law, took effect last year, and women have come forward to speak about the trauma they’ve had to endure. NPR reported on a woman named Anna whose water broke on her wedding day, when she was 19 weeks pregnant. The fetus had no chance of surviving, and Anna was at high risk of hemorrhaging or developing sepsis. But doctors said they couldn’t terminate the pregnancy until either the fetus’s heart stopped or her condition worsened. She ended up spending thousands of dollars to fly to Colorado for an abortion, sitting in the front row so she could reach the bathroom quickly in case she had to deliver.

If none of this is what anti-abortion lawmakers intended, nothing is stopping them from amending their laws. Ohio’s statute includes examples of medical emergencies in which abortion is permitted, including pre-eclampsia and prematurely ruptured membranes. If Republicans think “being a child rape victim” ought to be included as well, they should add it.

But they’re unlikely to, because the anti-abortion movement would object. On Thursday, James Bopp, general counsel for the National Right to Life Committee, told Politico that under model legislation he’s written, the Ohio girl would have been forced to carry her pregnancy to term. “She would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child,” he said.

This is, at least, honest. The fury directed at Caitlin Bernard suggests other conservatives aren’t as willing to admit what their laws do.

Ohio adopted a strict abortion law, banning the procedure. When the parent, parents, or guardians of a 10-year-old sought an abortion, the child was rejected. According to doctors, she was six weeks and three days pregnant. She is now in Indiana, hoping to get an abortion before the law there changes. If she can’t get to the right state in time, she will be a 10- or 11-year-old mother. The story doesn’t say who fathered the child or what will happen to the baby if she carries it to full term.

I remembered seeing this case on Twitter, but couldn’t find the link. so I googled and found that there were many cases of children who had been impregnated. Often, the culprit was the mother’s boyfriend. The impregnated child was not protected by her mother. What happens to the children who become mothers? What happens to their child?

In about half our states, these child victims will no longer have the option of terminating a pregnancy that is the result of rape and/or incest.

As I googled, I was shocked to discover many cases of pregnant children. Most of their pregnancies were discovered too late to abort the baby. Who will care for it? Will the mother drop out of school?

In Missouri, an 11-year-old gave birth in a bathtub at home. Her mother was charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The father of the baby was a 17-year-old cousin.

In Florida, a 46-year-old man impregnated a 10-year-old girl, then fled to Haiti, where he was arrested by US marshals and returned for trial.

In Dallas, a man sexually abused his daughter (not his biological daughter) from age 7 to 13, when she became pregnant. He also abused her younger sister. The man got a jail sentence and the girls and baby were put in foster care.

In Marion, Indiana, a 10-year-old was impregnated by her mother’s boyfriend. He was sentenced to 160 years in prison.

In Spartanburg, South Carolina, a child was impregnated twice by her pastor. He was sentenced to prison.

In Knoxville, Tennessee, a man was convicted of impregnating a child twice, once when she was 10, again when she was 11. He began abusing her when she was 7.

A man in Maryville, Tennessee, was convicted of taping and impregnating an 11-year-old girl. Her condition was not discovered until she was eight months pregnant. When he was arrested, he was in Florida with a 9-year-old girl.

In Oklahoma, the family of a 12-year-old girl gave a baby shower for her and her rapist. He was arrested.

In Oklahoma, a 12-year-old girl was impregnated by a man twice her age and gave birth to his child. The girl’s mother was arrested and charged with child neglect.

In Abbeville, South Carolina, a 26-year-old man was arrested for raping and impregnating a 9-year-old girl.

In Ascension Parish, Louisiana, a 35-year-old man was convicted of raping and impregnating an 11-year-old girl.

Then I discovered a medical abortion that was shocking. It is a rare medical condition (one in 500,000 births) called fetus-in-fetu. In these cases, a twin or triplet absorbs the bodies of the other sibling in utero. As a newborn, they have a mass in their stomach, which is the portions of their sibling. It can be confused with a tumor. It must be medically extracted. I wonder if this procedure would be banned in the states that prohibit any abortions.

What do I conclude from these horrible stories? Children need more protection than they have now. The decision to abort a fetus should be made by physicians and patients, not legislatures.

Columnist Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post believes that the cruelty of the new abortion laws is the point.

Two Republican governors, Kristi L. Noem of South Dakota and Tate Reeves of Mississippi, were asked on Sunday news talk shows about the case of a 10-year-old girl impregnated by her rapist. Are they really insisting that, regardless of the physical harm that giving birth could cause someone so young, the child be further tormented and forced to have the baby? Yes.


Reeves said these are such a “small, minor” number of cases. He wouldn’t say there should be an exception. Noem defended forced birth, insisting, “I don’t believe a tragic situation should be perpetuated by another tragedy.” The tragedy of forcing a 10-year-old to undergo a pregnancy and the pain of childbirth does not register with Noem.

These are not anomalies. Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn (R) said, soon after the decision overturning Roe was announced, that, in his view, a 12-year-old impregnated by incest should be forced to complete her pregnancy. Herschel Walker, a Republican nominee for Senate in Georgia, would agree apparently since he wants no exceptions. Not even to save the woman’s life. Ohio state Rep. Jean Schmidt has called forcing a 13-year-old rape victim to give birth an “opportunity.”


Indeed, the number of states contemplating abortion bans with no exception for rape or incest might shock you. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards — a Democrat — just signed an abortion law with no exception for rape or incest. In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) seemed open to making an exception, but its absence won’t slow down implementation of the abortion ban in his state.

The New York Times reports, “There are no allowances for victims of rape or incest in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee or Texas.” In Idaho, a woman would have to file a police report to obtain an abortion, something virtually impossible for incest victims and others who live in fear of their attackers.

The monstrous cruelty of such bills shows how little many conservatives care about the well-being of women and girls who have already experienced the unbelievable trauma of sexual violence.

But it gets worse. Many states no longer consider exceptions for the health of the woman or create dangerous uncertainty that puts her life at risk. In the real medical world, where doctors and patients make decisions based on probabilities, the result of such abortion laws can be deadly for women. If abortion is legal only with the “imminent” risk of death, women can be left in peril, facing what can become fatal complications later in pregnancy — when the chances of survival have declined.


In Tennessee, for example, doctors are supposed to prove the woman couldn’t have lived without an abortion. (They must prove “the abortion was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”)


NBC News reports:


Arizona’s 15-week abortion ban provides exceptions for emergencies when continuing the pregnancy will “create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” for the mother. Oklahoma’s recent ban, the most restrictive in the country, is focused on life-threatening situations. Mental health is almost never seen as enough of a reason to justify an abortion under the laws, said Carol Sanger, professor of law at Columbia University and the author of “About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in 21st-Century America.”


Republican candidates for governor in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin joined with antiabortion groups to seek bans “that would not allow the procedure even if the mother’s health were endangered,” The Post reports.

So, yeah, these Republicans care about the life of the unborn, but not the life of the mother. And as soon as the fetus is a child, they forget about him or her too.

The same organization that produced the Glen Beck video in the previous post also produced videos attacking the Disney Corporation and Pearson for their alleged role in “grooming” children to change their gender identity.

With the recent rash of horrific school shootings, you would think that these zealots could think of better uses for their time and resources.

How about making videos about the need for gun control? Reduced class sizes? Health clinics in school for families?

No, these people are obsessed with sex. That’s all they think about.

The good news is that parents are on to them. They don’t love Pearson, but they love their teachers. They are not fooled by nutty propaganda.

The Destroy Public Education crowd is in league with some seriously whacky people.

The Intercept published a stunning confession by a young man about his “grooming” by an elementary school teacher.

Jon Schwarz writes:

Anyone following the news knows the U.S. right is now obsessively accusing public school teachers, especially ones who are LGBTQ+, of being “groomers” — i.e., pedophiles. It’s both astonishingly vile and horrifyingly cynical.

This kind of propaganda — that some minority group is plotting to harm our children — has always been the specialty of history’s most vicious political movements. Today’s version is just one step away from the Taliban’s violent loathing of education, and two steps from declaring that teachers are using the blood of children to make their unleavened bread. Ignorant audiences have always been vulnerable to these fairy tales, which is why the abuse of children is a popular theme of literal fairy tales.

At the same time, the right-wing figures who spew out this sewage are absolutely indifferent to the actual sexual abuse of children. For instance, one of the most hateful proponents of the groomer narrative is Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at a conservative think tank called the Manhattan Institute. Rufo recently proclaimed on Twitter: “The public school system has a child sex abuse problem.”

That’s all you need to know about Rufo. He has no interest in the sexual abuse of children in private or charter schools. Nor did he mention churches. For that matter, he has nothing to say about the Republican Party: Its longest-serving speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, was a child molester, and the next GOP Speaker of the House may be Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who has been accused by eight former studentsof helping cover up the sexual abuse of wrestlers at Ohio State University.

That’s because, for Rufo and his compatriots — such as the playwright David Mamet; Christina Pushaw, the press secretary for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; andDonald Trump Jr. — the victims of genuine sexual abuse don’t matter at all. They and the lifelong pain many experience are simply useful tools in the right’s centurylong attack on public education. Rufo and company understand that democracy is impossible without public education and so are willing to do anything to destroy it.

We know where this path leads, and we must step off it immediately. The people doing this are cruel and sadistic, but they’re also mewling cowards — and with pushback now, they will slink back into the holes from which they emerged.

At the same time, we should be telling the full truth about public school teachers. The one good thing I can say about this awful current phenomenon is that it’s made me remember all the beautiful teachers I’ve had, and how much better they made my life. Here’s my story of how my elementary school teacher.

Please read his memories of teachers who taught him to love learning.

He says:

From encouraging me to read and write, to nudging me to think for myself, their pernicious influence burdens me to this day.