13 Year Old Performs Abortion At Home: Time To Rethink Parental Notification Laws

A story out of Pennsylvania illustrates the tragic and extremely dangerous consequences of laws that restrict abortion access.  A Polk Township 13-year-old girl performed a self-induced abortion using a pencil.  During the process the girl became horribly sick, began having contractions, and ultimately delivered the baby at home.

But this story gets worse.  The girl was apparently in a sexual relationship with Michael James Lisk, a 30-year-old man who has now been charged with rape and concealing the death of a child.  Apparently the girl was in contact with Lisk while she was in labor.  According to the criminal complain, Lisk came to the girl’s house and removed the baby in a plastic bag and buried it in a wooded area.  A state police forensic unit later discovered the body and are planning to conduct an autopsy.

Lisk’s involvement only surfaced thanks to staff at Lehigh Valley Hospital who treated the girl.  While at the hospital the girl admitted to conducting a “home abortion” on herself.  She apparently told staff that she believed Lisk was the father of the baby and that she had been having a sexual relationship with the girl since June 2009.  According to news reports the girl is still receiving medical treatment from the incident.

The ever-brilliant Care2 contributor Robin Marty’s coverage of this story over at rhrealitycheck.org sums up the problem of restricting abortion access to women, and in this case, to girls.  As Robin points out, Pennsylvania is a parental consent state, meaning that this girl had no real legal access to abortion.  So what happened?  Did she take the advice of anti-choice activists and embrace this “gift”?  No.  She tried to abort the baby with a pencil and nearly killed herself in the process.  Because that’s what happens when desperation sets in.

Abortion access would not have changed the tragic nature of a predator impregnating a child, and hopefully the law takes care of Lisk.  The fact that this relationship even happened shows a cultural failure that started long before the pregnancy.  But when women and girls have open access to reproductive health services it can mean the difference between the loss of one life or two.  This girl got lucky, if you can call surviving a DIY abortion and having your sexual victimhood exposed as luck.  And a culture that supports open access to abortion care is a culture that has recognized that women and girls have worth, that their lives and their health have independent value, a lesson clearly needed in the case of this young teen.

photo courtesy of erkillian5 via Flickr


Ken W.
Ken W.3 years ago

Who would think this could happen hell this is just like in the past.

Elie G.
Elie G.4 years ago

Hi, Chris H., I don't know if you were aware, but the sexual attraction to prepubescent children aged 13 or younger is classified as a (dangerous) mental illness, called pedophilia. Now, obviously, since she was pregnant, this girl was not prepubescent, and he might not necessarily be considered a pedophile by the strictest definitions.
There are plenty of women (such as myself) who have a lot of issues with statutory rape and age of consent laws, especially considering that many of them were originally put in place to protect the chastity of women- women being considered property at the time, and their chastity their most valuable aspect.
That doesn't change the fact that at 13 you are a child. When you are a child you depend on adults to protect you, to do what is best for you, to make sure that you are safe- not to take advantage of you. Of course children are sexually curious around that age, but naturally experimenting with other children and being taken advantage of by an adult are two vastly different things.
As an adult, if you are around a child, you are there to protect them and ensure they are safe. You have a position of authority over them. You are responsible for them. To take advantage of them for your own sexual pleasure is wrong. Always. Every single time. Keep it in your fucking pants. If you can't, then keep your hands off of kids. You have a serious problem.
This isn't about her being a woman (though you seem to have a lot of issues with women besides

Elizabeth K.
Elizabeth K.4 years ago

Chris H, and Brian C., two baby boys who should perhaps go away and come back with a slightly higher level of maturity.

Before you two embarrass yourselves even more.

Nicole C.
Past Member 4 years ago

Brian C, can you please elaborate without using ableist terms on what you mean? If you feel I missed his point, why don't you explain it again a different way.

Shannon G.
Shannon G.4 years ago

Please stop calling people retarded when making your point. As a sister of someone who is developmentally disabled I find it just as bad as a racial epithet.

I am sure that you can find a better word to use.


Brian C.
Brian C.4 years ago

I can't help but agree with Chris H. Also, it's obvious that Nicole C is retarded. Your lunacy actually leaves me dumbfounded. And even a little angry that you missed the whole point. You're retarded.

Ellen M.
Ellen M.4 years ago

@Dodia F. Where did you get your medical degree from? Do you realize how many other medical problems that birth control is used to treat in young women (even at the age of 13)? Why don't you educate yourself before posting your rhetorical nonsense on a public forum? Here, I'll throw you a little link to get you started: http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/med-uses-ocp.html

April C.
April C.4 years ago

Chris H., you're a disgusting, sleezey, repugnant human being who should be castrated as to not pollute the planet. I hope you stick to your hand and only your hand pal.

April C.
April C.4 years ago

Chris H., you're a disgusting, sleezey, repugnant human being who should be castrated as to not pollute the planet. I hope you stick to your hand and only your hand pal.

Nicole C.
Past Member 5 years ago

Chris H, you are a misogynist and seem to have more issues with women than I could ever go into here.

She was 13 and he was 30. That is rape. Plain and simple. Had she been 18, no problem, they are both adults.