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. Human Bean
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    “Does it solve the problem for the woman that’s been raped?”
    Um.. yes?

  2. soupcann314
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    That Brownback’s a classy guy.

  3. String_Bean_Jen
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    COSMIC. I posted about this on my other forum yesterday and one friend was so incensed, she sent Mr. Brownback an outraged email. The ace thing is that my friend is an English woman in London, so this twat’s words, thankfully, do not affect the laws she’s under in the UK!

  4. Posted June 13, 2007 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    innocent fetus life > innocent female life
    Brownback seriously brings out some violent tendencies in me.

  5. Posted June 13, 2007 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Better the lunatics in the GOP be honest about their disdain for women as forced child-vessels, rather than using rape and incest as a fig leaf for being 99.9% anti-choice.

  6. flyinfur
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    “woman that’s”
    Shouldn’t that be “woman who’s”?
    Shows once again, that we are simply objects, not people.

  7. Heroine of the Story
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    It’s nice to know that he cares so much about women. If one of his daughters was raped by a ‘godless liberal’ (sarcasm), do you think he’d still view women as objects? HOW his wife stays married to him, I have no idea…

  8. Kelly D
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    And supposedly he got a standing ovation… from a room full of Catholic men. Who better to make abortion policy decisions? Riiiiight.

  9. Posted June 13, 2007 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    What about the fucking innocent woman who got raped, G-DAMMIT?!

  10. annajcook
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I think Brownback is wrong, period, in his stand that abortion should be illegal. But I’m not sure that I think his stand is made more (or less) reprehensible because he thinks that a fetus resulting from rape is of equal value to a fetus resulting from consensual sexual activity.
    In a sense, I actually agree with him (horrors!). I think women who have been raped, and women who become pregnant from consensual sexual activity, should have equal access to abortion and all other aspects of reproductive health. Abortion policy should be about what we believe about the nature of pregnancy, not what we believe about the nature or morality of a woman’s sexuality and sexual history.

  11. creeps
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I agree with anna: if a politician takes the less popular stance that there should be no rape/incest exceptions, i am more inclined to believe that he is part of the pro-life cause because he actually believes life begins at conception. I don’t agree with this position, but I find this view much less offensive than one that seems to care much more about punishing woman for their behavior.

  12. Moxie Hart
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    This makes me wonder if Brownback & oenephile are the same person.

  13. SarahMC
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    While I strongly disagree with Brownback’s stance, I agree with the commenters who appreciate it as being more consistent than a “pro-life” stance that makes exceptions for rape and incest survivors.

  14. Posted June 13, 2007 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Generally agreed with creeps and anna in that I find the position ideologically more palatable.
    But as policy, definitely worse.

  15. Posted June 13, 2007 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    At least he’s consistent?

  16. Posted June 13, 2007 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    It’s things like this that make dual citizenship seem even more attractive than usual.
    (US and some decent country, where they outgrew this uterine federalisation bullshit decades ago)
    And what exactly does Sam Brownback (lovely surname, by the way) know about what does and doesn’t solve the problems of rape victims?
    Some guys force themselves on women on a retail basis, and get caught. Some guys are a bit smarter about it, and try to force themselves on millions of women at once through the legislative and judicial processes.

  17. Posted June 13, 2007 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    And why exactly have we let them call themselves “pro-life”? Their commitment to life is at best selective (“anyone but a woman or a doctor” being the usual selection).
    The only way these people are “pro-life” is if life begins at fertilisation and ends at birth. Most of them have no problem with the death penalty, or with the 650,000-odd Iraqis murdered thus far by the occupation (maybe someone should have told them that there are foetuses in Iraq, too, but I’m sure they’d just be “intrauterine enemy combatants”.
    The only thing these “right to lifers” are really fighting for is their right to control women’s lives. There needs to be a name for them that accurately describes them, and “pro life”/”right to life”/etc. etc. etc. ain’t that.
    Personally, I’ve taken to calling them “the rape lobby”, since one thing they do all tend to share is a desire to force themselves on/into women on a wholesale basis.

  18. ccall
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    While more dire if put into practice, I agree that the Brownback stance is more honest, as far as “protecting life� versus merely controlling/punishing women.
    I have found through numerous discussions and panel sessions for a short film I made about the South Dakota ban that when you are able to speak to a pro-lifer for just 5 minutes and explain the controlling/punishing nature of bans-with-exceptions versus total bans, you can actually make headway.
    I’ve watched people’s mouths just hang open when I ask “why do you think its okay for a rape victim to ‘murder her unborn baby’ but not a woman who became pregnant through consensual sex?�
    It’s the question pro-lifers hate the most because there is absolutely no good answer to it in the context of the “it’s a person� argument.
    It forces someone either to get into Brownback’s camp or to acknowledge that they aren’t really so sure that abortion = murder. And far, far fewer people are willing to get into Brownback’s camp with the prospect that they, or their daughter, or their wife, would be forced to carry a rapist’s baby.

  19. Posted June 13, 2007 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    There’s nothing remotely honest about the Brownback stance. It’s completely hypocritical, given his record. The only time he has ever been interested in protecting “life” is when it’s being protected from the person whose body it occupies.
    Otherwise, as with quite a few “pro-lifers”, life is pretty cheap for Brownback.

  20. Posted June 13, 2007 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Why not let the rapist go free and make everyone happy? *eye roll*

  21. micheyd
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Well if Brownback wanted to really get Biblical, he’d make rapists marry their victims and pay their dads dowry.
    Sadly, he’s not too far off from that position as it is.

  22. Posted June 13, 2007 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Good point FEMily. I mean, jailing the rapist doesn’t fix the woman’s problem!!
    :vomit:

  23. oenophile
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Well, let’s be honest. Pro-choicers throw a fit when pro-lifers want rape exceptions, because they say that restricting abortion is punishing women for having “Teh Sex.”
    Then you throw a BIGGER fit when someone takes an intellectually consistent position.
    (FYI: I think there is an intellectually consistent position for allowing rape exceptions – basically, stating that as a matter of law, the rape tips the balance of rights in favour of the woman. After all, there is a balancing of rights – it is not as if either the woman or the fetus is without any legal recourse. One need not be less valuable for the other’s rights to occasionally trump.)

  24. era4allNOW
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Love the comment, micheyd!

  25. jess
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    as a catholic i am against abortion in any form. yet as a woman i feel i and any other woman for that matter should have the right to do what they please with their body. but i dont believe sen. brownback was stating that the womans life is any less precious than that of an unborn child. and 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?

  26. Roni
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Oenophile, who do you mean by “you”? There are several commenters, myself included*, that think the intellectually consistent position is preferable. Maybe other commenters think having exceptions is preferable. It’s not like there is a universal feminist position.
    The exceptions are still untenable in your example as a political position. Deciding that rape tips the scales seems a rather arbitrary personal opinion. Because why, rape’s ickier? What if it was the frequently gray area of date rape? At what point is the situation bad enough to weigh more heavily than the murder of a purportedly innocent human life?
    *At least I thought I commented but it seems to have been eaten. I’d much rather see Brownback make the hard-line no exceptions argument because it’s more honest, and the execution of exceptions would be terribly subjective. I’d rather fence-sitters and moderates face their decisions than be wooed by purely theoretical compassion.

  27. jess
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    as a catholic i am against abortion in any form. yet as a woman i feel i and any other woman for that matter should have the right to do what they please with their body. but i dont believe sen. brownback was stating that the womans life is any less precious than that of an unborn child. and 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?
    and either way, how is getting rid of the child solved the problem that she was raped? in the end she was still raped….

  28. jess
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    as a catholic i am against abortion in any form. yet as a woman i feel i and any other woman for that matter should have the right to do what they please with their body. but i dont believe sen. brownback was stating that the womans life is any less precious than that of an unborn child. and 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?
    and either way, how is getting rid of the child solved the problem that she was raped? in the end she was still raped….

  29. Genny
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Frankly, I don’t think Brownback is consistently pro-life at all, as Elise pointed out. And that is what I find amazing, that so many “pro lifers” will support the death penalty, will support a war that is killing women and children in the middle east, and will support a president who gives doctors the right to remove babies from life support after 10 days without parental consent. One just has to look at the execution record in Texas and the casualties in Iraq to see just how “pro-life” our president and his supporters are.
    Furthermore, to answer oenophile, I can disagree with the man’s position even if it’s consistent. I have no problem with the man being opposed to abortion even in the case of rape, I have a problem with him putting his personal beliefs into legislation that will affect millions of people who are not him.

  30. Posted June 13, 2007 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Generally agreed with creeps and anna in that I find the position ideologically more palatable.
    But as policy, definitely worse.

    True. Excepting, of course, that it helps illustrate how offensive the pro-life position is.
    Well, let’s be honest. Pro-choicers throw a fit when pro-lifers want rape exceptions, because they say that restricting abortion is punishing women for having “Teh Sex.”
    Then you throw a BIGGER fit when someone takes an intellectually consistent position.

    I know this is complicated, but bear with me:
    Logically consistent position != correct position
    Just because someone takes a logically consistent position does not mean that they’ve taken the right position.
    In this case, it just means that I’m more likely to believe him when he says that he’s pro-life. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to suddenly think that his position is the right one.

  31. SarahMC
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    So oenophile, women who’ve been impregnated by their rapist deserve more rights than the rest of us?

  32. Pro-Life And Proud
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Genny wrote:
    And that is what I find amazing, that so many “pro lifers” will support the death penalty…and will support a president who gives doctors the right to remove babies from life support after 10 days without parental consent.
    FYI, Senator Brownback is not in favor of the death penalty except in rare cases where the public at large still cannot be protected from the criminal, even if the criminal is doing a life sentence. This would be the case for people like Osama bin Ladin and other people who have large, dangerous networks. Also, Senator Brownback is AGAINST the policy that allows doctors in Texas to remove life-support from children against their parents’ wishes.
    What can I say? I am one female college student who will totally be voting for him. He is one politician who isn’t pro-life for political gain, but because he genuinely belives in the inherent dignity of all human life and has made this a CENTRAL priority of his time in the House and in the Senate, not just a politically convenient after-thought to keep the public happy.

  33. SarahMC
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    how is getting rid of the child solved the problem that she was raped? in the end she was still raped…

    It DOESN’T solve THAT problem. It solves the problem of her being pregnant by her rapist.

  34. EG
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Right, well, if the rapist breaks my arm in the process of raping me, what’s the point of setting it? In the end, I’ll still have been raped.

  35. SarahMC
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    His position on choice notwithstanding, Brownback is a grade-A crazy. Did anyone else read the Rolling Stone article on him?

  36. Charles
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    What about the guys who masturbate. Theres thousands of innocent children killed in a session of male masturbation!

  37. Charles
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    What about the guys who masturbate. Theres thousands of innocent children killed in a session of male masturbation!

  38. Mina
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    “If one of his daughters was raped by a ‘godless liberal’ (sarcasm), do you think he’d still view women as objects?”
    Some men who view women as objects actually pay other men to rape their daughters (and eventually impregnate them once the daughters reach puberty), so I wouldn’t be surprised.
    “I’ve watched people’s mouths just hang open when I ask ‘why do you think its okay for a rape victim to ‘murder her unborn baby’ but not a woman who became pregnant through consensual sex?’”
    Ever asked ‘why do you think its okay for a rape victim to ‘murder her unborn baby’ but not a woman who became pregnant through marital sex?’? Some of these idiots seem to think unplanned pregnancies only happen after singletons have one-night stands.

  39. SarahMC
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Mina:
    …and they’ll be pleased to bits when they see Knocked Up. “Slutty,” independent woman keeps the baby.
    I wonder how many anti-choicers creamed their pants during the scene where she’s crying after the ultrasound.

  40. oenophile
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    I blogged about the Texas futile-care law. Being too lazy to repeat myself, here’s a copy & paste:
    “Several years back, disability and life advocates in Texas lobbied to change the state laws regarding treatment of “futileâ€? patients. Formerly, doctors would be able to unilaterally terminate treatment if a hospital determined that continued care would not benefit the patient. The resulting law (Texas Advance Directives Act), signed by then-Governor George W. Bush, gives a family ten days to arrange a transfer of care if a hospital declares a patient to be “medically futilie.â€? If no transfer is arranged, the hospital may terminate care, even when it would result in the death of the patient. While the changed law is certainly an improvement over its Draconian predecessor, it does not go far enough in protecting vulnerable patients and their families; Texans did not realise that ten days was not sufficient time to arrange for a transfer of care.”
    Before Bush signed this law, there was NO WAY for a family to stop a doctor from pulling the plug. The fact that he gave families ten days, not realising that 10 days was not enough, hardly makes him an inconsistent pro-lifer.
    Fact is, it’s not like doctors lacked the right to pull the plug and he gave them this right after 10 days; this law is a big improvement over the previous one.

  41. SarahMC
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and Mina’s right. Having a daughter does not automatically turn a person into a feminist. It’d be nice, wouldn’t it?

  42. oenophile
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    RoyMac – kind of like how I know that you’re logically consistent, but wrong? :)

  43. Genny
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Well, oenophile, I’m glad to know that if my baby were in an incubator in Texas, and the doctor deemed it futile, then I’d have a whole week and a half to move it on my own thanks to Mr.Bush. Thrilled, truly.
    I notice you didn’t answer SarahMC’s question, but I have another one; What if a sexually active woman has consensual sex and is raped the same night, making it impossible to tell if her resulting pregnancy is from consensual sex or rape? Should she be allowed an abortion? Does she have to get a DNA test first to prove it’s the rapist’s baby? Just curious.

  44. oenophile
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Genny,
    I’m glad to know that if you had a baby that was deemed to be futile, doctors couldn’t pull the plug without your consent, like they could before Bush signed that law.
    If you cannot grasp the simple concept of “better than nothing” or “better than the alternative,” I can’t help you. If you don’t get the fact that the LEGISLATURE wrote the law and had the 10 days in there, and Mr. Bush’s choices were to sign an imperfect law or let a Draconian law remain in existence, then I’m sorry for you.
    Which question, Genny?
    As for yours – again, do you think that legislation should not happen unless it can be perfect? Should we stop giving out welfare to single mothers in poverty because some people cheat the system? Just curious.
    Honestly, I’ve never seen such asinine thinking as I’ve seen around Feministing. You talk on one thread about how female Presidential candidates are held to ridiculously high standards (damned if you do, damned if you don’t) then turn around and do the same thing to your opponents. You HATE a law that has saved the lives of many futile patients because it is not perfect. You hate the person who signed that imperfect but improved law, but don’t hate the people who wrote the imperfect law.
    It is deeply irrational. Don’t let your ideology get in the way of your intellect.

  45. Posted June 13, 2007 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Intellectual consistency is nice, but it doesn’t equal moral consistency.
    Even if the name “pro life”/”right to life” weren’t a particularly tasteless joke, if they truly showed respect for human life even when it came in the form of a woman or a doctor, there would still be the fundamental moral problem: namely, that they feel that they, rather than individual women, should have control over women’s bodies.
    Intellectual consistency isn’t always a particularly good thing. If we were intellectually consistent in applying the principles underlying US foreign policy, Iraq, Iran, Nicaragua, Grenada, Cuba, Guatemala, Chile, North Korea, South Korea, Mexico, along with about half the world would be perfectly justified in carpet bombing the US.
    If we were logically consistent about the notion, for example, that it is just as justified to attack countries that provide financing sources for terrorists as it is to attack the terrorists themselves, the RAF would be justified in bombing large sections of South Boston and New York.
    It’s logically consistent, but hideous, because logical consistency is elevated, in these examples, over basic morality

  46. roymacIII
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    RoyMac – kind of like how I know that you’re logically consistent, but wrong? :)
    Oooh, scathing.
    *yawn*
    Maybe I should give that some thought, though. You do rather seem to be the expert on “consistent, but wrong.”
    It’s a lot like how consistently you repeat the same tired arguments (“I’m not trying to punish women for having sex- but women who have sex should deal with the consequences!“) and the same offensive and ignorant comparisons (“abortion is just like rape or murder!”), and how consistently you ignore the difference between “human” and “person” (as though they haven’t been discussed and explained time and time and time again).
    Consistent, and wrong.

  47. Posted June 13, 2007 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Roy, as usual, you rock.

  48. jeff
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    What I never understood is, if a fetus’ life is worth more than a woman’s life, what if the fetus is a female fetus? Is that still then case? Or can we abort them then?

  49. Itazura
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    oenophile, you and the rest of the pro-coat hanger crowd really disturb me.
    No one likes abortion, but the pro-choice crowd at least acknowledges that a woman’s right to privacy, if she wants to remove something from her uterus, is a right that should be preserved.
    Why do you want to turn back the clock to the dark ages of coat hangers?
    I am sure a lot of people have asked you asked you that question, but it sounds like you have never given them an answer that sways their opinion to support coat hangers.
    One only has to see the horrors in El Salvador to realize that anti-choice is a socially dangerous idea.

  50. Itazura
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    oenophile, you and the rest of the pro-coat hanger crowd really disturb me.
    No one likes abortion, but the pro-choice crowd at least acknowledges that a woman’s right to privacy, if she wants to remove something from her uterus, is a right that should be preserved.
    Why do you want to turn back the clock to the dark ages of coat hangers?
    I am sure a lot of people have asked you asked you that question, but it sounds like you have never given them an answer that sways their opinion to support coat hangers.
    One only has to see the horrors in El Salvador to realize that anti-choice is a socially dangerous idea.

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