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A National Conversation About Rape & Abortion

YYW
Posts: 36,242
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8/22/2012 2:53:35 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
That a prominent politician in the year 2012 would publicly make the groundless assertion that, somehow, the body exerts a natural defense to pregnancy in the case of rape is breathtaking to me. That such an allegation came from the Republican party is not surprising, in what has become an environment of competition among various republican politicians to hold the "most" conservative views.

Political forecasters of various agencies have speculated on the impact that of Sen. Akin's rhetoric, although it is my contention that the impact to the GOP will largely be decided on wether or not Sen. Akin's views are received by the American public as representative of the republican party as a whole. Although ostensibly the GOP has distanced themselves from him, this incident has catalyzed a national conversation about the question of abortion that follows rape.

Various pundits have -dishearteningly- discussed wether or not a moral difference exists in the instance of abortion in the case of rape or abortion not in the case of rape. It is my contention that while, as a moral issue, such a difference may exist, if it were the case that it did, such a difference is tangential and inappropriate for any discussion of birth control rights whatsoever.

In many cases, even the staunchest pro-life advocates abandon anti-abortion sentiment where the subject -grotesque as it is- is considered following cases of sexual assault. And yet, now, it is the case that to abandon this seeming logical inconsistency, selected members of the Republican party have adopted the argument that women may lie about being raped to be able to receive abortions. This line of reasoning, in context with the RNC Party Platform's proposition for a constitutional amendment against abortion, is especially startling.

Regulating abortion (that occurs before the point of viability) in principle is extending what control a government or society may impose on the choices of another's body. The maxim of the rule, being necessarily restrictive of those choices, is in effect as imprudent as it is culturally abhorrent (especially as discussion of a constitutional ban hangs as a chilling backdrop to this issue, as it is presently discussed).

The legal concept of abortion is grounded in the right to privacy, which originated from traditions of English common law and the various penumbras and principles of the bill of rights. Though the bill of rights makes no explicit mention of a right to privacy, its principles are exemplified in the first, third, fourth, fifth, tenth and fourteenth amendments.

Presently, the law states that at the point of viability the fetus becomes meritorious of rights of its own. Before viability, it makes little sense to argue that the fetus is in fact a person, because by definition it is incapable of sustaining life on its own. While that framework hinges the legal concept of personhood on modern medical development, such a framework is at the same time less arbitrary then the trimester framework, which though still contemporarily discussed, is philosophically nonsensical.

It is through that framework that I evaluate abortion in the case of rape. How the child/fetus came to be conceived is totally irrelevant. What is relevant is wether or not it can sustain life in its own capacity.

But naturally, this is and has always been (and presumably will continue to be) a wedge political issue. In this electoral cycle because of the rhetorical bombast of one southern senator has made that especially the case. In one sense it is good because the values and thought processes of certain politicians have both been made public and consequently placed on trial. As someone who is fairly familiar with the strategic utility of modifying ones "position" on controversial subjects, I nevertheless question who is merely jumping on the bandwagon and who sincerely believes their own bullsh!t. Time will tell.
ScottyDouglas
Posts: 2,350
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8/22/2012 3:06:15 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
He actually said, The female body has a defense mechanism to stop rape and/or prego from rape?
If so, I agree seer stupidity.
TheAsylum
YYW
Posts: 36,242
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8/22/2012 3:24:58 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/22/2012 3:06:15 AM, ScottyDouglas wrote:
He actually said, The female body has a defense mechanism to stop rape and/or prego from rape?
If so, I agree seer stupidity.

He did, indeed. And as a nation, we winced.
Chaos88
Posts: 247
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8/22/2012 4:21:30 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
His comments, at the least the one I heard, sounds crazy and old-fashioned, but it might not be so. However, as a politician, especially given the venue of the comments, this was a foolish remark.

Let me preface this by saying that I cannot speak for the guy; I am merely exposing the potential truth in the statement, which may or may not be all he meant (perhaps he is misogynistic). Also, personally, I am opposed to abortion; however, politically, I am pro-life (up to viability, perhaps even birth).
Let me also be perfectly clear, as I define the different kinds of rape, it does not excuse one over the other. They are all illegal, but the difference is how the woman is reacting during the rape.

Akin's comment has two major components: "legitimate rape" and a woman's ability to prevent pregnancy.

The first is to acknowledge there are different kinds of rape, and there are false accusations as well. There is a world of difference between (consenting) statutory rape, what I would call "casual" rape, date rape (like with roofies), and what most people think of as rape. In this context, I believe Akin was referring to forcible rape as being legitimate (not false accusations and with stress). He may have meant more than what I say (perhaps including "casual" rape), but I believe he meant at least this.

*Casual rape is rape in the context of the woman says no (like not in the mood), but may go along with it without too much protest (like with a husband and wife). The important difference here is the woman isn't stressed.
Similarly, if a woman is passed out and raped, she is also not under stress.

Why was Akin explicitly referring to these rapes in regards to the woman's ability to prevent pregnancy? Because, as I heard from a caller into the Jason Lewis Show, the stress from the rape will likely refuse the fertilized egg not to implant, thus preventing pregnancy. This caller stated this on his authority as a farmer, citing that a female steer under stress will not bear a calf; it will either miscarry or never be impregnated. I don't know if there is truth do this, but if there is (or if Akin believes it), the comments he made are not as abhorrent as they appear.

This begs the question: how many rapes yield a pregnancy? We must make sure these are actual rapes, and not false accusations made because Daddy would be mad, either at the pregnancy in general or at who the father is...
YYW
Posts: 36,242
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8/22/2012 7:53:47 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/22/2012 4:21:30 AM, Chaos88 wrote:
His comments, at the least the one I heard, sounds crazy and old-fashioned, but it might not be so. However, as a politician, especially given the venue of the comments, this was a foolish remark.

Let me preface this by saying that I cannot speak for the guy; I am merely exposing the potential truth in the statement, which may or may not be all he meant (perhaps he is misogynistic). Also, personally, I am opposed to abortion; however, politically, I am pro-life (up to viability, perhaps even birth).
Let me also be perfectly clear, as I define the different kinds of rape, it does not excuse one over the other. They are all illegal, but the difference is how the woman is reacting during the rape.

Akin's comment has two major components: "legitimate rape" and a woman's ability to prevent pregnancy.

The first is to acknowledge there are different kinds of rape, and there are false accusations as well. There is a world of difference between (consenting) statutory rape, what I would call "casual" rape, date rape (like with roofies), and what most people think of as rape. In this context, I believe Akin was referring to forcible rape as being legitimate (not false accusations and with stress). He may have meant more than what I say (perhaps including "casual" rape), but I believe he meant at least this.

*Casual rape is rape in the context of the woman says no (like not in the mood), but may go along with it without too much protest (like with a husband and wife). The important difference here is the woman isn't stressed.
Similarly, if a woman is passed out and raped, she is also not under stress.

Why was Akin explicitly referring to these rapes in regards to the woman's ability to prevent pregnancy? Because, as I heard from a caller into the Jason Lewis Show, the stress from the rape will likely refuse the fertilized egg not to implant, thus preventing pregnancy. This caller stated this on his authority as a farmer, citing that a female steer under stress will not bear a calf; it will either miscarry or never be impregnated. I don't know if there is truth do this, but if there is (or if Akin believes it), the comments he made are not as abhorrent as they appear.

This begs the question: how many rapes yield a pregnancy? We must make sure these are actual rapes, and not false accusations made because Daddy would be mad, either at the pregnancy in general or at who the father is...

The caller is mistaken, for various reasons, although not completely, but there are other factors in play. However, most cases of rape do not result in pregnancy, only because most sexual activity doesn't result in pregnancy.

Here's the problem with banning abortion except in cases of rape. Let's say that a woman has consensual sex, and becomes pregnant without intending to. She wants to have an abortion, but knows that the only way to have an abortion is to allege a rape. So, she says she was raped and an investigation ensues.

How do we know if she is telling the truth? Do we make her carry the fetus/child until the "rapist" is convicted? Do we prosecute her for lying if the alleged perpetrator is found by a jury of his peers to be "not guilty"? The point is that using rape -legitimate or otherwise- as an exception in practical terms is stupid, capricious and arbitrary. If there is a rape exception for abortion, where abortion is otherwise banned, you create an incentive to miscarry justice. In the theoretical sense it's perhaps interesting to some to consider, and perhaps the limit of the pro-life opinions of opponents of abortion, but the standard would be virtually impossible to enforce/verify.

As for this distinction between "legitimate" and "casual" rape, it is rather pretentious to pretend that one could -to any reasonable degree of certainty- prove one was the case and that the other was not the case. And even if one could, in the "rape exception" it would be preposterous to attempt to determine -before an abortion were performed- which, in fact, occurred.

I hypothesize that imposing such a standard would, in sum, change the legal stigma of rape from one where it is imperative to investigate to one where suspicion would be placed on the accusing woman, were she (understandably) in effort to have an abortion. Because of the incentive that a rape exception would create for women to falsely allege rape, the crime itself may become affixed with a "cry wolf" syndrome, where legitimate cases may be thrown by the way side, because of the doubt that necessarily follows incentivized miscarriage of justice. Again, the standard is stupid and capricious.