Brownback says rape survivors shouldn’t have access to abortion

Naturally. Speaking to the National Catholic Men’s Conference in South Carolina, Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Sam Brownback spoke out on rape survivors and abortion.
“Rape is terrible. Rape is awful. Is it made any better by killing an innocent child? Does it solve the problem for the woman that’s been raped? We need to protect innocent life. Period.”
Charming.

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140 Comments

  1. ris825
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    I just want to know how many of the “pro-lifers” anti-choicers actually are rape survivors. I am a rape survivor. Not only a rape survivor, the victim of a continued cycle of sexual assaults from the age of 6-11. Thankfully I wasn’t sexually mature enough to get impregnated. But I know damn well, that I would not want to raise a child that man put in me. I haven’t seen this man in 11 years but that doesn’t mean I don’t still have nightmares, I don’t still feel panicked to kiss my fiance, I don’t still watch every single step afraid I might see him again? Are you saying that if someone just “sucked him off” I wouldn’t have been raped? Now, what you don’t know. His mother gave birth to him because her parents wouldn’t let her have an abortion. My rapist’s mother was raped and resulted in my rapist’s birth. But I am glad to know that there are so many people fighting for the right for another man to be born, grow up, and inflict his desire on yet one more child. The very people anti-choice proponents claim to defend!

  2. Posted June 14, 2007 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    But I was met with fierce resistance to the idea last time.
    Uhm who would resist that? If anyone else made a post as hateful & screechy as her last one, they’d at least be threatened with being banned.

  3. Posted June 14, 2007 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Well I suggested that she should be banned (I think that she was making one of her abortion=rape arguments) and then lamented why we kept letting her derail things when we could be having an actual fruitful conversation, and a lot of people said that I was being too harsh and that they enjoyed the opportunity to debate.

  4. Posted June 14, 2007 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Now, what you don’t know. His mother gave birth to him because her parents wouldn’t let her have an abortion. My rapist’s mother was raped and resulted in my rapist’s birth. But I am glad to know that there are so many people fighting for the right for another man to be born, grow up, and inflict his desire on yet one more child. The very people anti-choice proponents claim to defend!
    OmG, ris, that took a lot of courage to share. That’s so deeply fucked up.
    And what I hate is when people insist that rape is about sex & that men can’t help it, it’s how they’re programed to spread their seed. Rape is a crime of violence, sex just happens to be the tool. Plus, saying “men can’t help it” is so degrading to men. It’s like when people say that it’s not their fault, women are just too dumb for science.

  5. sojourner
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    “Contrary to Roymac’s bulls–t, murder is not the deliberate killing of a person, but rather the deliberate killing of human.
    http://www.answers.com/topic/murder�
    Since when can people prove things by quoting answers.com? You can instead go to Merriam-Webster Dictionary where murder is defined as “the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought�. In any case, even your own link does not say “the deliberate killing of� but “The unlawful killing of one human�. Abortion is clearly not “unlawful�, even if a fetus were a full human being. Why don’t we ever hear you say that death penalty is murder?

  6. Posted June 14, 2007 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    It’s too bad, Cara, I had high hopes that this thread would bring harmony to the two opposing sides (low whistle, eye roll, runs away).

  7. Posted June 14, 2007 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Norbizness, are you trying to suggest that we can’t all just get along? CAUSE I’M NOT HAVING IT, nuh uh. Go on, give Sam Brownback a hug. No, seriously, you first.

  8. roymacIII
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    I had high hopes that this thread would bring eHarmony to the two opposing sides.
    But seriously…
    I’ve got nothing… although I love clue.

  9. Posted June 14, 2007 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Well, we’ve reached 0.1 out of the necessary 29 layers of compatibility that insane old man keeps prattling on about.

  10. Posted June 14, 2007 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    The distinction between an abortion to save a woman’s life and an abortion to save a woman’s health is specious. As was pointed out in the oral arguments in Roe v. Wade, you can’t protect life without protecting health. An exception to save the woman’s life without concern for her health requires physicians, who are sworn to protect a patient’s health as well, in an untenable conflict of interest.
    These are split-second decisions a lot of the time, which are based to a large degree on the odds. A doctor who is allowed to protect the woman’s life and health has no conflict – the decision is relatively easy. If only a woman’s life can be protected by means of an abortion, the doctor will find herself in an untenable position. Let’s say there’s a 50% chance that the woman will die without an abortion. Will that be enough to avoid jail? If the woman lives, will the court then assume that the abortion was necessary “merely” to protect her health (i.e. anything short of death, from infertility to coma or brain damage)?
    If you make an exception to protect a woman’s life while disregarding her health, you protect neither.

  11. Posted June 14, 2007 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Go on, give Sam Brownback a hug.
    I like to think that if a feminist tried to hug him that he’d: 1. cop a feel & 2. run away screaming, “Cooties! I has the lib-ruhl disease!!!!!”
    Well, we’ve reached 0.1 out of the necessary 29 layers of compatibility that insane old man keeps prattling on about.
    That man frightens me, but not as much as the Quaker Oatmeal man.

  12. Posted June 14, 2007 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Why do we keep letting oenephile derail good discussions? I’m being serious, everyone else has pretty much reached a consensus & then she comes in with her pseudoscience & hysterics & we react, which is just what she wants.
    My point exactly. THe only reason to even have a discussion with someone is if you’ve got something you’re potentially willing to concede. There’s nothing to concede to someone taking oenophile’s position but our own dignity and humanity. There’s also the part where she’s full of shit about just about everything she says (maybe she needs to do something about her oenophilia, because it might be turning into dipsomania). In general, it might be good to stop feeding the troll.

  13. Posted June 14, 2007 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    That man frightens me, but not as much as the Quaker Oatmeal man.
    His smarm makes my paint peel.

  14. SarahMC
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    I know you’ve gone away, Oenophile, but I’m compelled to dumb this down for you (since you’re a champion of missing the point):
    You said “abortion is murder.” And yet you think it’s acceptable for some women to have abortions (those who’ve been raped). So either you think abortion is murder but some women are permitted to commit murder, or you only think abortion is murder when the pregnant woman didn’t get that way via rape.
    I KNOW why you think abortion is murder – because fetuses are human. Yeah. To me, the question is not “Is it human?” but “Does it suffer?” I’d kill a human embryo before I’d kill a chimpanzee.

  15. SarahMC
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    And another thing -
    For someone who frequently uses feminist language to defend her position, you sure do explode into a fit of anti-woman rage when provoked.
    Insults re: menstruation?
    Women are naturally bad at science?
    Perpetuating myths about rape?

  16. Itazura
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    “Much in the same way a fetus doesn’t have a right to my reproductive, circulatory, and digestive systems, a man doesn’t have a right to my mouth, vagina, anus, or anything else of mine. You keep making these analogies, and they do not mean what you think they mean.”
    Actually EG wouldn’t the world be a much more beautiful place for men, If all men had the rights to your body (and every other women’s). I mean, personally I would like to deposit my sperm into everyone of your orifices whenever I wanted to without having to ask for your permission. Come on, I thought making sacrifices was the height of feminine virtue, and I thought that all that women wanted to do was be pregnant all of the time. On the topic of your pregnancy, I think it would be beautiful to have my fetus leaching off of your reproductive, circulatory, and digestive systems. And even though I am dead broke and married to someone else, I think you could raise great maladjusted, but otherwise decent, functionally illiterate, auto mechanics without a father to help you.
    At least give it a thought. Since it’s impossible for you guys (women) to be happy in this world that is going to hell in hand basket, can’t you all at least let it be pleasant for the male half, by relinquishing the rights to your body?
    (PS That was all satire, so please do not come looking for me, any of you nice feminism, because in reality I am actually a nice guy, just a trouble maker as the name implies.)

  17. EG
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    OK, Itazura, I get that that was supposed to be satire, and I know from reading other threads that when it comes down to the issues, your heart is usually in the right place, though I disagree with you about the Asian fetish thing, but I want you to know that it is still really viscerally disturbing to me to read something like this, personally addressed to me:
    I would like to deposit my sperm into everyone of your orifices whenever I wanted to without having to ask for your permission.
    I know it’s supposed to be a joke…but it invokes some really unpleasant feelings. Not the kind of thing you should joke about, especially when you don’t know the backgrounds of the people involved. For the record, I haven’t been raped, but you had no way of knowing that. I’m very close with a number of women who have, and there are some immediate images that come up when you address me like that which are not pleasant. Please don’t do it again. And not just me–in general, that kind of direct address makes the satire feel a lot less harmless.

  18. Itazura
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    Sorry about that EG.
    I pushed the envelope a little too far that time. But when I read your comment about your orifices I just couldn’t help myself. Also I wanted to point out how disturbing it would be for women to lose their rights to their bodies.
    I promise I will never joke about wanting to depositing my sperm into a woman without having to ask for her permission again.
    Still I hope people (both men and women) realize what is at stake if the anti-choice agenda gets enacted.
    PS The modesty and liking the taste of authentic Asian women remarks were also meant to be jokes, but I promise not to push the envelope in that area as well.

  19. anorak
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    Itazura, most women here, especially those of us who have been raped/had unwanted pregnancies/been sexually abused etc don’t need you to remind us what is at stake if we “lose our rights to our bodies”.
    I don’t know what point your long-winded “satire” was supposed to achieve, because the only effect it’s had on me (and others by the sounds of it) is to make me feel sick and think less of you.
    Maybe you’ll think harder about who your audience is next time you feel like doing some creative writing.

  20. Itazura
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    My apologies to women who have been raped, had unwanted pregnancies, or been sexually abused, or to any other supporters of this site who were offended.
    However I hope I can be funny and satirical on other topics that won’t offend any more feminists.
    Also Thanks EG and Anorak for not asking me to leave.

  21. SassyGirl
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    I was raped at the age of 16. Luckily, I was not pregnant, but if I had been I would have had an abortion quicker than you can “Planned Parenthood”. If someone had tried to stopped me, I would have probably tried to end the pregnancy using “alternative” methods, a la, overdoses of medication, purposeful injuries or even suicide. To have to look at the child of the man who violated me would be too much to bear.
    Just because women can get pregnant, doesn’t mean that they should have to have a baby. Our bodies should remain ours, to do with what we want.
    I have two children, who I love dearly, but they are an awesome responsibility. They are draining, mentally, emotionally and physically. I would never want to see the day when a woman loses the right to choose whether or not she becomes a mother and when.

  22. Peepers
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I honestly really want to throw up at the UTTER lack of morality. You all prance around and say that abortion is a big moral issue…
    I am glad that the issue of morality came up again. I am grateful to EG for addressing it so well.
    What is so sickening to oenophile is differing moral views. While it is understandable (in that morality is deeply held and deeply personal), it belies a failure to acknowledge the validity of moral views that are contrary to one’s own — a problem that is endemic to people who hold her position. It belies a willingness to (nay, a zeal for) foisting one’s own sense morality onto others, even in the event following your moral code would violate theirs.
    When it comes down to a matter of belief and ethics (as it has here) anyone who would seek to rob others of their right to their own moral choices is in no position to claim the moral high ground.
    Nobody is forcing oenophile and her ilk to undertake any actions that violate
    their version of morality.. Contrariwise, the assertion that people in that camp know what is best for everybody and would like to legislate that is sanctimonious, bullying and, from my perspective, morally stilted in and of itself.

  23. Peepers
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    although the woman did not ask (in this case she was raped) or did (by having consentual sex) to bear a child, shouldnt she give thought into the person this child may become even under horrible circumstances that may have created him/her?
    It is erroneous to presume that she does not.
    This article called up a host of stuff for me about a family member who was raped, who was Catholic, and who decided to abort. She, with the support, love, and involvement of her family, grappled with her anguish over just the question you raise. She made a decision that was morally appropriate for her at the time. I am sorry, but I feel like jess’s assumption kind of demeans her experience and that of other women.
    To those of you who have dealt with rape and spoke up about it here, thank you. That took serious guts and composure.

  24. Peepers
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and roymacIII, I ardently urge you to consider running for office. You already have my vote.

  25. PamelaV
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    EG-
    “Abortion is a moral issue because it is immoral to force a woman to endure pregnancy and childbirth against her will. It is the moral equivalent of rape. It is immoral to treat women as as secondary adjuncts to their fetuses. ….
    Finally, it is immoral to ignore the real-world consequences of legislation. It is immoral to sacrifice women to painful, unnecessary deaths that could have been easily avoided with a relatively minor medical procedure. It is immoral to tell women and the men who love them that their deaths are acceptable collateral damage.”
    BRAVO

  26. Kattyben
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Oenophile:
    Like other commenters here, I’m disturbed by your willingness to resort to anti-woman rhetoric (e.g., the Summers comment, the Midol comments), but I’m going to offer a couple of comments/questions in hopes of a good-faith dialogue. Here goes:
    1) You commented in your first post that there is complaint from pro-choice persons when pro-lifers are inconsistent, i.e., when they condone abortion in instances of rape/incest, but that we also complain when a pro-lifer is consistent, e.g., Brownback , who does not condone such an exception.
    On the contrary. Speaking only for myself, what is outrageous about Brownback’s remark is not that he consistently opposes abortion rights, but that he’s arguing that abortion doesn’t benefit (or prevent further harm to) women who is pregnant by rape in any way. In my view, that is preposterous. For all I know, there are rape survivors who find solace in carrying a rape-pregnancy to term, but I doubt this is usually or even often the case. Brownback’s remarks demonstrate insensitivity to and ignorance of the experiences of women who have been raped. This compromises his credibility, i.e., it suggests that his “consistent” pro-life position is tinged by the same misogyny that many pro-choicers find evident in the “inconsistent” pro-life stance.
    2) You support birth control and oppose abortion. Does you advocate the availability of comprehensive sexual education and readily-accessible birth control for everyone, at state expense wherever necessary? No snark; I’m asking. I will add that I don’t think your position (women should be denied abortion because they have the option of preventing pregnancy) is tenable unless your answer is yes, i.e., unless that option is realistically available to every single woman.
    Also, I do think that there are other reasons, besides than the difficulty of accessing reliable birth control, that preventing pregnancy is not a realistic option for many women – e.g., women are coerced into inadequately protected sex in ways that don’t fall into the legal definition of rape, but nonetheless prevent us from exercising enough “choice” to justify an implied-consent rationale for compulsory pregnancy. Frankly, until we have an end to patriarchy, there’s going to be far too much gray area for your reasoning to be satisfactory, at least to me.
    3) Per your position that abortion is “okay” when the pregnancy is the result of a rape: I understand your point about balancing, and while I think it’s a fair argument, I think it weakens your pro-life position. If life does not absolutely trump other concerns, then it seems to me that your pro-life position is not, in fact, that fetal life is sacrosanct; it is, instead, that fetal life is more important than the hardships suffered by all women who are pregnant as a result of voluntary sexual activity (setting aside the difficult question of what constitutes voluntariness). That’s a very difficult argument to sustain, it seems to me, because surely some women who are not impregnated by rapists suffer quite substantial hardships in carrying the pregnancy to term and either giving up or raising the child. If there is a balancing of interests, wouldn’t we have to consider the appropriateness of abortion on a case-by-case basis?
    Perhaps a stronger argument for your position would be that women who are raped may not have an opportunity to use birth control, hence there is no “implied consent” to a potential pregnancy. But this argument has at least two problems: 1) It looks a lot like a “pregnancy as punishment for voluntary sexual activity ” position, though perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it treats enforced pregnancy as punishment for a failure to use (100% effective) birth control. 2) All women capable of being impregnated could, of course, use 100% birth control at all times, regardless of voluntary sexual activity, because there is always the possibility of impregnation-by-rape. So by your logic, any woman who doesn’t do this has implied her consent to pregnancy-by-rape. Of course, this reproduces the tendency in our society to make women responsible for taking precautions against rape, a tendency that most of us (including you?) find odious.
    4) Though I am firmly pro-choice, I can respect a sincere belief that life begins at conception, and that abortion = killing a (nascent) human being. While I don’t agree, as a philosophical matter, that abortion = killing, I do agree that killing = wrong, at least as a general proposition.
    Given the technology that currently exists, an abortion before viability (which describes the vast majority of those actually performed) does two things: It desprives the embryo/fetus/baby of the wombic environment, and it physically destroys the embryo/fetus/baby.
    I’ve asked myself: if we had the technology to remove the fetus (my preferred language) from the womb without destroying it, and could then bring it to term without the participation of the biological mother, would the mother have a right to end the fetal life? My answer is no.
    However, I assert (and this is the part where I CANNOT reconcile the pro-life position, even with all due respect for different beliefs) that a woman has a right to her bodily integrity. And while the fetus arguably has a right not to be killed, it does not have a right to be nourished in her womb. Similarly, while I have no right to murder a person dying of kidney failure, that person has no right to take one of my kidneys, even though it would save her/his life. Would giving that kidney kill me? Barring complications, no, nor would (probably) carrying an unplanned pregnancy to term. But if the kidney patient can’t survive without my kidney, and the fetus can’t survive without my womb, it does not constitute murder to deny either one of them those things. In fact, it is my right to deny both of those things.
    Responses?

  27. Mina
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    “I’ve asked myself: if we had the technology to remove the fetus (my preferred language) from the womb without destroying it, and could then bring it to term without the participation of the biological mother, would the mother have a right to end the fetal life? My answer is no.”
    Does this remind anyone else of marsupials, which are born at an earlier stage of development than placental mammals are?
    How would the abortion debate look if the dominant sapient species on Earth that had the debate was a marsupial species?

  28. Peepers
    Posted June 15, 2007 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    It would look a lot different, to be sure.
    If we reproduced like marsupials, well-meaning fetus supporters like oenophile could put their money where their pouch is and step up to give the everlovin’ fetuses some real, tangible support.
    If we reproduced like seahorses, the right to refuse nurture to our fry would be written into the Constitution.

  29. Posted June 15, 2007 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    I was going to say that if we were marsupials that the creationists would have to believe in evolution b/c marsupials are considered an intermediary between placental mammals. But then I found out that that is wrong! I’m v. disappointed.
    But I did discover that female marsupials have two vaginas & male marsupials have a two-pronged penis.

  30. roymacIII
    Posted June 16, 2007 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Oh, and roymacIII, I ardently urge you to consider running for office. You already have my vote.
    It’s part of my master plan.
    1. Build a support base on-line.
    2. Convince you all to move someplace with nice weather.
    3. Run for office.
    What do you think?

  31. Posted June 16, 2007 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Where would we be moving? Also, would we be getting miniature American flags?

  32. OfftheCuff
    Posted June 18, 2007 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Mina wrote: “”I’ve asked myself: if we had the technology to remove the fetus (my preferred language) from the womb without destroying it, and could then bring it to term without the participation of the biological mother, would the mother have a right to end the fetal life? My answer is no.”
    A few problems here:
    1) Gender parity is an issue, since men typically cannot be made parents without their having voluntarily participated at some point. Being required to contribute sperm to a sperm bank at gunpoint hasn’t happened yet. So in the hypo women are potentially having their genetic material taken against their will and mingled with bad genetic material. What about a property interest in one’s DNA?
    2) Very abstract hypo. Who exactly wants the fetus to be removed and “harvested?” Where is the support coming from? Will the “mother” be required to provide support?
    3)Note the need to rearrange a lot of our constitutional doctrine that says a biological connection to a child is constitutionally protected. In this hypo, has the “mother” waived her constitutional connection to the child when she consents to forcible harvesting of the fetus in preference to hosting it for nine months rather than aborting it.
    4) Brave New World beckons. Since the draft was constitutional, what’s to forbid forcibly impregnating women and then harvesting the baby, since harvesting the baby has, under the hypo,passed constitutional muster as a reasonable state action? Not much more intrusive than being handed a rifle and told to shoot people.
    Makes the jurisprudence of privacy sound pretty good, huh? Seems like privacy works rather well for people with wombs.
    Indeed, it would be nice to take privacy all the way, and have politicans shut up about women’s anatomy.

  33. oenophile
    Posted June 18, 2007 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Kattybean,
    I can understand why you would think that refusing to allow a woman who is raped to abort (while maintaining a strong pro-life stance in other areas) would smack of misogyny.
    Yet, you go on in your third point to criticise me for believing that raped women should be allowed to abort. You’re putting yourself in a lousy position – because there’s a catch-22 there. If you stick by that, you’re going to get a bunch of pro-lifers who make noise about raped women, and laws like those in South Dakota.
    My position is pretty simple: I don’t like the idea of women or babies dying. I do believe that some raped women would gain solace in bringing a pregnancy to term, but I believe that even more of them would seriously consider suicide. I support an exception for rape for the same reasons that I support an exception for the life or the mental health of the mother. IMO,
    “rape” is a per se mental health exception.
    I do understand where you’re coming from when you discuss the right of the fetus to not be killed, but I think you’re completely wrong when you say that it lacks a right to its mother’s womb.
    I also think you’re wrong about extending the sex = consent doctrine into rape. I’ve chosen a 100% fail-safe method of birth control (i.e. abstinence). Rape effectively removes my birth control method, just as forcing a woman to take antibiotics to mess with her Pill during rape would have the same effect. Also, we don’t require that people plan for crimes to be committed against them.
    Any analysis of the rights of the fetus v. the rights of the mother MUST recognise a very basic fact: the fetus cannot prevent the situation at hand; in fact, the pregnancy arose coincidentally with its own existence. You might think that a moot point, but consider: the fetus literally has no other way of preventing its need for the mother – that need is intrinsically tied to its existence. We all started out that way – it is a basic fact of human life. This arose before medical technology allowed for blood transfusions and will continue long after we’ve developed artificial blood. Frankly, if a human lacks the right to the mother’s womb, I don’t know where we get other rights – because its right to the mother’s womb is its right to exist.
    (For all of you who will yell and scream about sperm having a right to be children – I won’t argue anything that ridiculous. Sperm, like skin cells, aren’t human.)
    While many people have desired to “punish” women for having sex, preventing them from aborting does not function in that manner. IMHO, biology does that – and biology has been doing that for a few million years. It also distracts from the people who really do punish women for having sex. My top picks for that: the people who kick high school girls out of National Honour’s Society for being pregnant, while the guy remains; firing pregnant teachers; calling women “sluts” without a similar condemnation of men. The fact that my love of wine reduces my blood pressure but increases my risk of liver cancer isn’t someone else’s problem; if I were to get liver cancer, I would expect medical care, but I would not expect to force someone else to die because I have a right to bodily integrity and you don’t want to punish me for drinking, now do you?
    Denying a woman prenatal care punishes her for having sex. Preventing her from aborting does no such thing. Really, are we that weak? If someone drops out of high school and earns $6.50/hour washing dishes, is that low wage “punishing” him for dropping out? Reality is ruthless, but not punitive.
    Frankly, I find organ donation analogies to be misplaced. You could consider abortion to be an organ donation – after all, you are removing the brains from the fetus to do it. In fact, the abortion procedure is certainly more invasive and destructive than organ donation.
    The only thing that such an analogy does is to bring a stalemate: the fetus doesn’t possess the right to the mother’s body (which I disagree with, but will assume for now), but the mother does NOT possess the right to kill it (a form of organ donation).
    The stalemate ends when you start to balance the harms to each individual. Even if a person will die of lung cancer, we don’t allow them the organs of the unsentient; yet, the right that most women assert is the right to avoid discomfort. (I fully support abortion rights when the life of the mother is threatened, so I can’t – and won’t – argue for any other position.) The harm to the fetus is death. We are right back where we started: discomfort v. death.
    If you are to not balance the harms, the woman does not have any right to abortion. None, zip, zilch. She may have the right to deliver, but that would be done in the context of doing everything possible to save the life of the fetus. A doctor in a nursing home doesn’t have the right to kill a patient, even if she may not live much longer; likewise, there is no right to abort simply because the fetus could not survive delivery.
    If it makes people squeamish to deliver a baby and let it die on the operating table, that’s just personal squeamishness and doesn’t enter into the abortion issue.
    All of this, of course, assumes that organ donation prohibitions are the result of the reasons you put forth. What if we were to consider the right to not have your organs commandeered against your will as the right to bodily integrity, as biology formed you? When you donate organs, they are permanently removed from your body. Pregnancy does not change the status quo; abortion, and, forced organ donation, do.
    If you’ve heard of Judith Jarvis Thompson’s theory about abortion rights, you can start to understand why someone would allow for abortion in the case of rape only. Her analogy breaks down because the woman is not accosted out of nowhere and made pregnant; they not only created the situation in which their bodies would be needed for pregnancy, they created the being that relies upon them.
    There is no right to assert your rights via any mechanism you choose. For example, I have rights to free speech, but I don’t have the right to harm others in the assertion of that right. My Second Amendment rights (that explicit Constitutional right) does not give me the right to shoot anyone. Likewise, bodily integrity cannot be asserted at the expense of someone else – especially when the person asserting that right created the conflict of rights in the first place.
    Between the woman and the fetus, one is capable of preventing the situation; one is not. Basic contracts/market theory: if one person must bear the harm, it should be the one best able to prevent the situation in the first place. Free markets will eventually work to ensure that rational beings will not be in that situation.
    Rape undermines this. A woman raped is not a woman able to prevent pregnancy.
    FYI: I’m completely for Plan B. I’m squeamish about gov’t-funded birth control, at least at the federal level, but don’t think it’s necessary: if enough people believe in it, they can provide it themselves.
    What I would really love to see, though, is for both the mother and the father to be jointly and severally liable for delivery costs. I have zero clue why it should only be the woman’s insurance that covers it; why it’s her credit that gets trashed if she can’t pay. If we consider prenatal care, labour and delivery to be a COST associated with the child, not the mother, we can start getting men to pay those costs. You know what? Rational men would be a LOT more careful about birth control.
    Fact is, a pro-life stance that allows for rape exceptions encourages men to be careful, too. Currently, they don’t have to worry: if she’s pro-choice, he’s not going to be a dad, no matter what.

  34. Posted June 18, 2007 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I do believe that some raped women would gain solace in bringing a pregnancy to term, but I believe that even more of them would seriously consider suicide.
    Serious question: Do you not think that there aren’t women who weren’t raped that wouldn’t consider suicide if you denied them the ability to abort? Or that they aren’t willing to risk great personal harm in the pursuit of one? If you outlaw abortion, women will still seek them- they’ll go back to back-alley abortions, and women will start to die from them again. Or they’ll take to injesting dangerous mixtures of chemicals in an effort to kill the fetus themselves. It still happens in places where abortion is illegal- it happened here before abortion became legal, and it would happen again if abortion was banned again.
    Any analysis of the rights of the fetus v. the rights of the mother MUST recognise a very basic fact: the fetus cannot prevent the situation at hand; in fact, the pregnancy arose coincidentally with its own existence.
    I’m not at all clear why you think that this is such an important point. Why does this matter?
    the fetus literally has no other way of preventing its need for the mother – that need is intrinsically tied to its existence.
    Again: I understand that you see this as really important, but I’m not sure why.
    Frankly, if a human lacks the right to the mother’s womb, I don’t know where we get other rights – because its right to the mother’s womb is its right to exist.
    Which is weird, because it seems to me that most rights actually extend out from our right to personal autonomy. To our right to self determination. The right not to be murdered? The right not to incriminate yourself during a trial? The right to protection from illegal search and seizure? The right to free speech? Most of our rights reduce back to the right to self-determination. Our right to exist never extends to a right against someone else’s body. I have no rights to another person’s blood or organs. No matter whether my situation is of my own making or not.
    You could consider abortion to be an organ donation – after all, you are removing the brains from the fetus to do it.
    That’s patently untrue. The vast majority of abortions do not involve removing the fetus’ brain. Most abortions are suction aspiration. The entire fetus is sucked out of the uterus.
    Further: This isn’t really at all like organ donation. Organ donation necessarily involves giving the organ to someone else to use. You know, the donation part.
    The only thing that such an analogy does is to bring a stalemate: the fetus doesn’t possess the right to the mother’s body (which I disagree with, but will assume for now), but the mother does NOT possess the right to kill it (a form of organ donation).
    She has every right not to be pregnant, though. That the fetus dies is unfortunate for you, I suppose, but it’s no more a case of her unjustly killing the fetus than your refusal to donate organs is the unjust killing of someone who needs them.
    Even if a person will die of lung cancer, we don’t allow them the organs of the unsentient; yet, the right that most women assert is the right to avoid discomfort.
    See, you’re getting the analogy all wrong.
    In pregnancy, the fetus isn’t donating an organ to the woman- the woman is donating an organ to the fetus. The fetus uses the woman’s body to sustain it’s own life.
    You’re right, we don’t force other people to donate organs, no matter how much good could come of it. We don’t harvest the organs of people in comas. Why, then, should a woman be forced to donate her body to another being?
    She shouldn’t.
    The harm to the fetus is death. We are right back where we started: discomfort v. death.
    Again, how consistently are you applying this?
    I refuse to donate my kidneys. There are people who need kidneys. They can die without healthy kidneys. So, it’s discomfort vs. death.
    Yet… no attempt to suggest that we should force people to donate kidneys.
    Pregnancy does not change the status quo; abortion, and, forced organ donation, do.
    In what way does pregnancy not change the status quo? Becoming pregnant does change the status quo. I don’t know about you, but most women I know spend a great deal of their lives not being pregnant. Thus, becoming pregnant is a break in the status quo.
    My Second Amendment rights (that explicit Constitutional right) does not give me the right to shoot anyone.
    It doesn’t give you the right to shoot anyone you please, that’s true. But it’s commonly accepted that you have the right to shoot someone in self defense.
    Likewise, bodily integrity cannot be asserted at the expense of someone else – especially when the person asserting that right created the conflict of rights in the first place.
    Again, that’s simply untrue. If I cause an accident that creates a need in another person for blood and organs, and I’m a match, I still have the right to refuse to give my blood or organs to that person. I have the right to invoke my personal autonomy, even if it means that person dies. If I pass genetic disorder to my child and sie needs a healthy organ, I could still refuse it, even if it meant the child would die. I’m under no obligation to provide organs to anyone else. No matter whether that person dies as a result or not.
    Fact is, a pro-life stance that allows for rape exceptions encourages men to be careful, too. Currently, they don’t have to worry: if she’s pro-choice, he’s not going to be a dad, no matter what.
    Because pro-choice women never have children?

  35. Kattyben
    Posted June 18, 2007 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    oenophile, thank you for your long and detailed response. I don’t think it advances the ball for me, so I won’t pursue the dialogue any further.
    roymacIII, thank you for responding to oenophile point by point. I quite agree with you.
    OffTheCuff, it was I who wrote the passage you quoted, not Mina. I think you’ve misunderstood, because it was out of context. My point was that even if a fetus has a right to life, the mother has no duty to permit the fetus to remain in her womb. It was a variation on the “famous violinist” analogy, if that rings a bell.
    P.S. – FYI, I am “Kattyben” not “Kattybean.”
    Cheers.

  36. Mina
    Posted June 18, 2007 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    “Because pro-choice women never have children?”
    Or more accurately, “because pro-choice women never choose to give birth?”
    “OffTheCuff, it was I who wrote the passage you quoted, not Mina.”
    Yeah, I’m the one who responded with marsupial stuff.
    Meanwhile, what would the breastfeeding-in-public debate sound like if the would was ruled by sapient monotremes?
    http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-390160/monotreme

  37. Posted June 19, 2007 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I apologize to Kattyben for attributing something she posted to someone else. I know about the famous violinist. In any event, I am not sure where you stand, but that’s not the critical point, since we may agree but need not. The critical point for my post is that the famous violinist is entitled to get out and about, maybe for a hot dog or whatever, and also entitled to keep possession of every shred of genetic material, without any seizures effected by whatever means. The famous violinist would only mate with another musician, perhaps, and would be unlikley to contribute genetic material randomly, on any basis.

  38. OfftheCuff
    Posted June 19, 2007 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    To be clear, I mean that the famous violinist is entitled to keep possession of every shred of metaphoric genetic material. The famous violinist must carry the burden of metaphor all the way. Indeed, the famous violinist must consider what would happen, and what to do, in any hypothetical or any set of facts. It comes with the burden of being a metaphor.

  39. annajcook
    Posted June 20, 2007 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    If you outlaw abortion, women will still seek them. . .
    As Melody Rose writes, in her new book Safe, Legal, and Unavailable?:
    “Abortions have occurred in all cultures across all periods of human history. What is more surprising to some is that there seems to be no relationship between the number of abortions performed and its legal status: women have abortions regardless of whether they are legal or not” (28).
    “Women consistently report a desire to end their pregnancies after giving the situation and options available careful consideration . . . American women echo the voices of their global contemporaries. Women in different nations face distinct cultural, economic, religious, and legal climates for abortion, yet [the] commonality is striking, and indicates a universality in women’s desire to control their fertility” (32-33).

  40. Eliza-Rose
    Posted June 17, 2009 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    You made the point I wanted to, about rape not being about sex. Thank you.
    Perhaps some people cannot get off unless they’re raping someone. Not my fucking problem.

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