Opinion: Incorrect, Insensitive, and Irrelevant

Incorrect, Insensitive, and Irrelevant
On October 13th, the Oxford chapter of the League of Women’s Voters held a virtual debate for the candidates for Ohio’s 47th district representatives: Sara Carruthers (R) and Sam Lawrence (D). I attended this webinar as a student reporter looking to see the candidates’s stances on different issues and to write an informative article on the differences between the two candidates. That was my plan until the topic of abortion came up. Lawrence pointed to the story of the ten-year-old Ohio girl who was raped and had to cross state lines to get an abortion as proof that abortion should not be banned the way it currently is in Ohio. Carruthers refuted this point in the most incorrect, insensitive, and irrelevant way I have ever heard. 

Carruthers said “that man was illegal… if our federal government had been doing their job, he wouldn’t be here,” in reference to the rapist being an illegal immigrant. She also pointed out that the rapist was the mother’s boyfriend, saying “if the mother had been doing her job as a parent, [the rape] wouldn’t have happened.” Whether or not the rapist was an illegal immigrant, whether or not he was in a relationship with the mother, and whether or not the mother was “doing her job as a parent,” a rape occurred and a ten-year-old child had to go across state lines to terminate the pregnancy. Ohio’s restrictive abortion laws made it so the child couldn’t get the healthcare she needed in state and had to travel to Indiana to avoid giving birth to a product of rape. 

As a girl who can’t yet vote living in Ohio, I urge people to vote in the upcoming election and keep in mind Carruthers’ cold-hearted response to this girl’s crisis. I can’t imagine being in the victim’s situation. Regardless of what Ohio’s law says about abortion, the least Carruthers could have done was express sympathy for the child instead of essentially blaming the mother for her child’s rape. In addition, Carruthers’ insinuation that the rapists’ illegal immigration status is a reason for his crime is racist and xenophobic. 

I have been thinking about this comment for weeks now, and I can’t find a way to make it sound less horrible. Carruthers dodged the question and shifted the blame rather than giving an honest response that might have helped inform voters of her opinion. If she keeps this attitude in office she will be an ineffective leader and her legislative policies will be based on prejudice rather than a desire to help all constituents.

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