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In a truly bizarre exchange during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, the leader of a national anti-abortion organization claimed that it “would not be an abortion” if a 10-year-old rape victim got pregnant and … had an abortion.
Catherine Glenn Foster, the president and CEO of Americans United for Life, was responding to questions from Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) about whether she thinks a 10-year-old girl would or should “choose” to have a baby. After some back and forth, during which Foster refused to answer the question, she came up with a response.
“I believe it would probably impact her life, and so, therefore, it would fall under any exception and would not be an abortion,” said Foster.
“Wait,” replied Swalwell, puzzled. “It would not be an abortion if a 10-year-old with her parents made the decision not to have a baby that was the result of a rape?”
“If a 10-year-old became pregnant as a result of rape and it was threatening her life, then that’s not an abortion,” Foster said. “So it would not fall under any abortion restriction in our nation.”
Here’s a video clip of their exchange:
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 14, 2022
The Americans United for Life president appeared to be trying to redefine abortion to avoid saying that, yes, of course, a 10-year-old rape victim should be allowed to have an abortion.
It’s not even a hypothetical scenario: Earlier this month, a 10-year-old girl who had been raped at least twice was forced to travel from Ohio to Indiana to get an abortion. She and her family had to go to another state for the medical procedure because, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Ohio imposed a ban on all abortions after six weeks. The 10-year-old was reportedly six weeks and three days pregnant.
After Foster made her bonkers claim, Swalwell turned to another committee witness, Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign.
“Ms. Warbelow, are you familiar with disinformation?” he asked.
“Uh, yes I am,” said Warbelow.
“Did you just hear some disinformation?” asked Swalwell.
“Yes, I heard some very significant disinformation,” Warbelow replied, offering an actual definition of what an abortion is.
“An abortion is a procedure, it’s a medical procedure, that individuals undergo for a wide range of circumstances, including because they have been sexually assaulted, raped in the case of the 10-year-old,” she said. “It doesn’t matter whether or not there is a statutory exemption. It is still a medical procedure that is understood to be an abortion.”
In the case of the 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio, Warbelow added that there is no exception in Ohio state law that allows abortions when the life or the health of the pregnant person is at risk.
“That’s why that 10-year-old had to cross state lines in order to receive an abortion,” she said.
Swalwell later called out Foster on Twitter and spelled out why she had such a hard time answering his question.
“MAGA GOP doesn’t want you to know their abortion laws force pregnancies on little girls,” he said.
A total lie: Americans United for Life CEO Catherine Foster says 10-year-old Ohio rape victim ending her pregnancy is “not an abortion.” What? Why did the 10-year-old have to go out-of-state? MAGA GOP doesn’t want you to know their abortion laws force pregnancies on little girls. https://t.co/bH9LVqaIrT
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) July 14, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.