Republican state Representative Jean Schmidt of Ohio, the author of a highly contentious anti-abortion measure that does not include exceptions in cases of rape or incest, was criticized after she argued a pregnancy from rape is actually an "opportunity" for a woman to raise a child, send them to live with a family member or put them up for adoption.
In her remarks before the Ohio House Government Oversight Committee last week, Schmidt suggested it would be wrong to abort a pregnancy because a hypothetical child might grow up to cure cancer.
Although she acknowledged that rape is "a difficult issue," Schmidt stressed that a fetus is a "human life" and that the trauma of rape "will not go away, period" whether a mother chooses to abort her pregnancy or not.
You can hear what she said in the video below.
“Rape is a difficult issue and it emotionally scars the individual, all or in part, for the rest of their life ― just as child abuse does. But if a baby is created, it is a human life and whether that mother ends that pregnancy or not the scars will not go away, period."
"It is a shame that it happens, but there’s an opportunity for that woman – no matter how young or old she is ― to make a determination about what she’s going to do to help that life be a productive human being."
"That child can grow up and be something magnificent, a wonderful family person, cure cancer, etc."
"This is not about keeping abortion alive, this is about keeping the mother alive, and just because you have emotional scars doesn’t give you the right to take a life.”
Schmidt's legislation, H.B. 598, is a trigger ban that would immediately criminalize abortion in Ohio in the event Roe v. Wade is successfully overturned, which many reproductive healthcare advocates expect will happen because of the 6–3 majority-conservative Supreme Court.
Many have criticized Schmidt in the wake of her remarks.
Schmidt's anti-abortion record is quite well known in her state.
She was once the president of the Greater Cincinatti chapter of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), part of the oldest and largest national grassroots anti-abortion organization in the United States.
Schmidt sparked controversy in 2010 after she discussed abortion at a Catholic school where she was invited to be a guest speaker at an assembly attended by students from first through eighth grade, describing it as as an action that "involves the killing of a child before it is born" in a portion of her address.