Following President Trump’s address to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last weekend, members of the press and social media activists pounced on the president’s assertion that migrant mothers are giving birth control to their daughters with the knowledge it is likely they might be raped or assaulted on the journey to the U.S.
“Mothers who love their daughters give them massive amounts of birth control pills, because they know their daughters are going to be raped on the way up to our southern border. Think of that. True story told to me by the Border Patrol. Think of how evil that is,” Trump said in recounting stories told by Border Patrol agents.
It is not the first occasion he has spotlighted the tragic and all-too-common abuses. He made similar remarks on January 19 concerning the humanitarian crises on the border.
PBS Yamiche Alcindor questioned the truthfulness of the story.
“President Trump is now saying many immigrant mothers give their daughters birth control pills for the journey to America because they know might be raped. Fact check anyone? We need one,” demanded their White House correspondent.
Similar scoffing and skepticism met President Trump’s CPAC speech, as Alcindor was joined by a host of equally aghast pundits. Fact check? Well, perhaps Alcindor can start with her own network which, in 2014, reported that pharmacies in smuggling towns see young girls buying birth control, even at the suggestion of their smugglers.
They might even have Googled the remarks made by Jeh Johnson, President Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary, when he testified before Congress that same year. “We’ve heard about how before they leave Central America, some of these kids’ parents actually will give them birth control in case they’re raped along the way,” Johnson told the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Reuters interviewed human rights activists in 2016 who told them of women taking birth control before leaving their homes. Those stories are one reason why it is government policy all female migrants over the age of 10 are given pregnancy tests.
Chris Cabrera, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent and spokesperson for the National Border Patrol Council told CNN last spring that agents had seen 12-year old girls who were put on birth control because “they know getting violated” is a fact of the journey” to the U.S.
“When you see a 12-year-old girl with a Plan B pill or her parents put her on birth control because they know getting violated is part of the journey, that’s a terrible way to live,” Cabrera said.
Just one day after the tragic reality of rape and assault of migrant girls was retold, The New York Times published yet another strikingly detailed account.
The media may continue to play dumb about the realities of the border, but they should realize that their ignorance will not protect a single woman or child from being raped and abused on a perilous journey north.