Friday, January 23, 2009

The Exception

I have blogged before over here on what I think of the so-called "rape exceptions" in anti-choice legislation. To grab an excerpt:

"Well, they should have thought about that before they started having sex," you might say. It's a common enough argument. If women don't want to get pregnant, they shouldn't engage in risky behavior like sex. Most people will agree that a woman who is raped or molested at a young age is not "to blame" for her sexual activity, and as a result an abortion is okay in these cases.

But here's what this really says. A woman who doesn't choose to have sex deserves the choice of whether to keep an unwanted child. A woman who does choose to have sex does not deserve the choice of whether to keep an unwanted child. What makes this misogynist is that it takes a moral imperative ("good women don't sleep around") and uses it as a framework to give "bad" women fewer rights than "good" ones.
I was reading something that made another point about this exception, and it's here. The author mentions those anti-choicers who're willing to admit that rape is terribly sad but "why should the baby have to pay for someone else's wrong?" She rightly questions just whose wrong we're looking at here, suggesting that the figure blamed is seldom the father who didn't wear a condom, but the woman who "wrongly" took an interest in sexual activity.

And here's an excellent question, one that is asked but seldom by people who seriously offer an answer. What about the woman? Whose choices should she suffer for, and to what degree?
I know, it’s a radical thought, but really: what of them? Why should they have to pay for someone else’s wrong? What about their lives? Don’t they matter a damn bit? Or again, are we just assuming that they are partially at fault for the wrong committed?

Of course, anti-choicers will argue that we’re looking at disproportionate interests/rights. The “baby” has a life; the woman just has “convenience” and her lazy, selfish desire to not have a physical reminder of her traumatizing experience every second of every day for 9 months, not to mention a child created by that rapist at the end of 9 months.

In fact, regaining control after a rape experience really can be about a woman’s life. Thankfully, I don’t know the trauma of having been impregnated as the result of rape. But I do know the trauma of rape itself. And I know, or can read in tons of readily accessible literature, about how rape takes away a sense of control over one’s body. It can, in fact, heavily make one question who that body belongs to.

And anti-choicers want that answer to be the government. In spite of the fact that the right to an abortion after rape really can be about a woman’s life — since a woman may be easily made suicidal over a forced pregnancy as the result of rape, or simply traumatized forever because of it — anti-choicers think that a fetus’ rights overrule it. When forced to choose between the life of a fetus, and the life of a woman (and often thereby her fetus due to simple biology), anti-choicers choose the fetus time and time again.

Once again. The unborn always take precedent for an anti-choicer over the already-born. Whose suffering has worth to you? Whose life has worth to you?

This is why the anti-choice position is not pro-child. It is anti-woman. That's why we don't call them pro-life, because it sure as hell isn't my life they're fighting for, nor is it yours. They'd sacrifice you in an instant if it meant that those dirty fornicating whores get what they deserve, subhumans who should have kept their damn legs closed, or not had that third drink, or not worn that skirt, or screamed a little louder, fought a little harder.

It's not about protection; it's about punishing women who step out of line--a line drawn by misogynist factions of our culture more concerned with keeping women in their proscribed "traditional" gender role than with keeping women safe.

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