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To legislate, or not to legislate? Rape complicates the question.


This morning, the following question was raised in Reddit's /r/mensrights:   
"In the VP debate, Paul Ryan said they'd make abortion illegal, except in cases of rape. Wouldn't that result in women, who are no longer able to get an abortion otherwise, falsely accusing men of raping them? "  
(Discuss.)

I began to leave a short comment:

Women already falsely accuse men of raping them. 

That does not change the right or wrong of legalized use of abortion as a means of birth control.

What it does, and will continue to do if the legislation in question increases that behavior, is show that women as a group cannot be afforded an elevated level of trust with the privilege of automatic credibility as accusers. This doesn't mean we're less trustworthy than men as a group. If men were given this kind of power, there would be those who would abuse it, as well. In other words... people cannot be automatically trusted with such an imbalance of power.

However,  that really didn't fully communicate my thoughts on the matter, and they're not going to fit in the space of a single comment.
 
This debate brings out two very important points to me, both of which should be clearly and fully stated.

First, there is the question of why the circumstance of rape would be a reason for exception in a law banning the use of abortion for birth control.

The argument as to why Republicans want to outlaw abortion is that the baby is a living human being with equal right to life to that of any other human.

Does the rape of one parent by the other change the nature of the baby as a living, human being? If so, how? Are we saying that the offspring of criminals are guilty of their crimes? Does that translate over to all rape victims, or is it determined by the sex of the victim?

In other words, if we are going to allow raped women to abort, are we going to allow raped men to demand an abortion as well? If not, how is that not discrimination against men? Are we ready to admit that women's feelings are more politically important than men's feelings, or is there some justification someone can offer me for enforcing parenthood upon raped men? One that does not come across as terribly hypocritical?

What about rapists who commit their crime after parenting children with the victim or with other partners? If the parent of a 5 year old commits rape, do we execute the 5 year old because he or she is made no longer human by his or her parent's crime?  If the behavior of the parent does not change the 5 year old's status as human, the can someone logically explain to me why an unborn baby is so affected? And if you cannot do that, please explain to me why it is acceptable to execute a living human for the crimes of his or her parent, because unless that status is changed, that is the real, unvarnished nature of the act of aborting a rape baby.

Is excluding rape babies from the protection of the proposed law really the right thing to do? Is the law about protecting the rights of the helpless unborn, or is it about enforcing responsibility upon women?
Don't get me wrong - I am pro-life. I oppose a mother's choice to abort and a doctor's choice to perform the procedure, unless a dying baby who cannot be saved is going to also take the mother's life in the process, a rare circumstance that becomes more so with the continued advancement of innovation in the field of medicine.

This is just to say that it makes no sense to legislate control of the procedure on the life-affirming basis Republicans use to argue it, but then make an exception for a circumstance that does not change the applicability of that argument to the protected subject.
 
Second, there is the point on the mangling of due process in rape cases under the guise of protecting women.
If making the use of abortion for birth control contingent upon the circumstance of rape results in false allegations, does that not clearly demonstrate that women will use false allegations for their own personal gain?

And if women will use false allegations for their own personal gain under that circumstance, when there are other options that need not involve lying, does that not indicate the habit among some women of committing that act very lightly?

Does anyone in the legislative bodies of the US really believe that kind of lying hasn't been going on since the start of legislative attacks on men's due process rights in the name of protecting women from abuse?

Does this not show clear justification for the repeal of every law protecting women from being held accountable for leveling of and continued assertion of false allegations of rape and abuse?

If the Republicans really are going to do this - to outlaw the use of abortion for birth control, but make the nonsensical exception that raped women can abort, then they had better be prepared to also legislate heavy penalties for the misuse of that concession by women. By making that exception, they'll have made access to a convenience contingent upon the sacrifice of one's partner. They'll have incentivized malicious prosecution the same way the Violence Against Women Act and other legislative "protection" of women who accuse men of abuse have done. Good-by rape shield laws. Good-bye VAWA. Hello prosecution of perjurers in rape cases, and pursuit of charges against women who file false rape reports with the police. Otherwise, there would be no deterrent to a woman's decision to wreck some poor guy's life just so she can have the convenience of choosing to terminate an individual human life in lieu of the other birth control and custody-avoidance options which are available to her.
 
Republicans, you need to either shit or get off the pot.

If abortion is murder, it's murder regardless of how the baby was conceived.

It's murder regardless of the character of the parents.

It's murder regardless of why the baby might not be wanted.

It's murder regardless of how sorry we might feel over the indignity and pain the raped parent has suffered, or the feelings that might be associated to parenting a rape baby.

And if it's not murder under those circumstances, if our feelings change the nature of the crime... then it was never murder in the first place, and you have no business proposing any legislation based on the belief that it is. 

2 comments:

repressed said...

While I understand your point here, I'm confused about why you don't address the logic that causes politicians to advocate for a rape provision. Your exploration of the subject covers the impact abortion has on the rapist and child, as well as men falsely accused of rape, but doesn't acknowledge actual rape victims at all.

Carrying a rape-induced pregnancy to term increases the psychological and physical impact of the crime exponentially. It makes a violent, degrading experience a constant part of that victim's day to day life for the following nine months. It changes her body and brain chemistry for life. Do you not see a problem with the government forcing that victim to parent a child with her rapist? Does that not make them complicit in the act of robbing her of her bodily autonomy?

The trauma and psychological damage might seem minimal if the hypothetical is date or martial rape, but it's glaringly obvious in scenarios where a father rapes a daughter old enough to physically endure the pregnancy. The child created in that encounter is not guilty of its father's crime, but neither is the girl violently forced into motherhood.

Gloria Sass said...

@ repressed

The problem with your assessment is that there are only two ways to view the abortion issue. Either it's wrong (and that, for the specific reason that the baby is a living human) or it's not.

If it isn't wrong, that would be due to proof that the baby was not a living human being. In light of that, there would be no reason at all for anti-abortion legislation, in which case they should not be advocating it.

If it's wrong enough for anti-abortion leglislation, that would be because the baby is a living human. The method of conception does not change the status of the baby as a living human. If it's a living human when the sex was consensual, it's still a living human if the sex was not.

Therefore, you are arguing for the right to kill a living human being on the basis of another human's feelings. It is no different, then, to advocate killing a living human baby because her mother was raped than to kill a living human 5 year old or adult for the same reason. Regadless of the mother's feelings on the subject, or the mother's wishes, it is not acceptible to permit that killing to take place.








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