Congressional Republicans are shocked that a 10-year-old can biologically get pregnant after the Ohio rape victim abortion story turned out to be true. Now, they are wrestling with messaging after calling the story a lie.
Confronted with reality, GOP lawmakers are struggling to talk about the horrific case of the young rape victim who had to travel across state lines to Indiana to get an abortion because of strict laws in her home state, Ohio.
The case made international headlines after President Joe Biden slammed Republican policies that forced the “already traumatized” child to have to travel out of state to terminate the pregnancy.
“She was forced to have to travel out of the state to Indiana to seek to terminate the pregnancy and maybe save her life,” Biden said. “Ten years old — 10 years old — raped, six weeks pregnant, already traumatized, was forced to travel to another state.”
Republicans and right-wing media immediately criticized the president, suggesting the case had been fabricated, only for a suspect to be arrested days later.
Now, they are grappling with how to respond — from confusion to blaming the media. Some even tried to turn the conversation to the undocumented immigrant who prosecutors allege raped the girl.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) quietly deleted his tweet Wednesday after prosecutors charged an undocumented 27-year-old man who they said confessed to the rape, according to court documents.
Asked whether he regretted calling the story a lie, Jordan blamed the undocumented immigrant, and the news media.
“We didn’t know that an illegal alien did this heinous act. We never doubted the child,” Jordan said. The lie was “the news headline … the headline from your profession,” Jordan told CNN’s Manu Raju before adding: “We doubted Joe Biden, which is usually a smart thing to do, but we didn’t know that this illegal immigrant had done this terrible thing. He should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
“I’m amazed a 10-year-old got pregnant. … You really wrestle with that. That’s a tough one,” Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) said, according to ABC News.
Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) said: “I’m a pro-life guy, OK? And God’s in charge on this. … We’re all God’s children. This is a tough call, and I don’t know if I know that answer right now, because now you’ve got another baby involved: She’s pregnant. … She’s a baby.”
He added: “Where’s the conversation about an illegal person doing this? How do you defend this? How do you defend this guy who came over illegally, and we’ve got 5 million of them over here?”
Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., said, “I can’t imagine being 10 years old” and pregnant, adding: “I don’t think I was even able to have children when I was 10 years old. … It’s just awful. It’s awful all the way around.”
The struggle in messaging comes just days after several high-profile Republicans said the story was fake, using it to accuse Democrats of overreach in their response to the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.