Conservatives have whined that comparing Republican Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” remarks to the GOP’s party platform as a whole is “intellectually vacant”. How intellectually vacant is it when the current Vice Presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, authored ignorant rape-related bills with Akin, and when the GOP party platform echoes exactly what Akin said? Have these disgruntled conservatives failed, somehow, to notice that Republicans have at least several dozen ignorant politicians and pundits constantly spouting ignorant non-scientific fairy tales about biology and rape in addition to Akin? So. You explain that to me, because I don’t know how someone can claim it is “intellectually vacant” to make the connection when the connection is right fucking there.
Let’s be clear. This “rape” business is just the right’s way to pretend they are making policy to overturn Roe v. Wade based on secular arguments and not extremist far-right evangelical beliefs. Because not everyone believes that a clump of cells is a person, and because they can’t argue that it has “a soul” and be taken seriously outside their evangelical hug-boxes, they are determined to grant it “personhood”, thereby making miscarriages murder and some forms of contraception illegal. (‘Fun’ fact: Paul Ryan’s stance is so extreme, it would outlaw in-vitro fertilization. Irony alert: Some of Mitt Romney’s grandchildren were conceived thanks to IVF.) They cling to junk science not, I suspect, because most of them actually believe it (though some undoubtedly do), but because it allows them to pretend they are not trying to legislate religion-based morality. They want to re-frame the discussion to distract us all from the fact that they are making a 100% legal procedure more difficult to access. They want to force women to be incubators, because they value clumps of cells, zygotes and fetuses far more than the women who will incubating them. They don’t give a shit about women at all, ever, and only care about clumps of cells, zygotes and fetuses until they are born, at which point they don’t give a shit anymore. It is about control, and establishing their religious beliefs as law that everyone else will then be forced to abide by. It completely ignores the Separation of Church and State and they don’t care, because it is THEIR flavor of Tealibangelical Shari’a Law, so it is OK.
Let’s get real about something else. If you overturn Roe v. Wade, here’s some of what will happen:
1. Abortions won’t magically go away. Instead, you have more illegal abortions. Roe didn’t make abortions suddenly pop into existence, women were getting them long before the early 1970s. Women frequently died or were rendered sterile from illegal abortions. Make abortion illegal again, and women will be dying or suffering preventable injuries and sterility again.
2. If abortions are made illegal, then who will go to jail? We have nutters willing to murder doctors already, so I am guessing that doctors will go to jail. Medical professionals are already terrorized by radical anti-choice activists and worried that they may be the next Dr. George Tiller, who was murdered simply for providing a legal and patient-requested medical procedure. And, guess what, if miscarriages are illegal, then women will be going to jail, too. Yes, even women who may have dearly wanted that child. Fabulous.
3. People who are completely ignorant about how contraception works are going to be legislating birth control. Rush Limbaugh doesn’t understand birth control pills, for instance, thinking you somehow take “more” if you are more sexually active (much like Viagra). That is not how it works. Further, contraception literally means it is “against conceiving”. You aren’t “aborting” anything; you are preventing conception from occurring at all. Sperm and egg never even say “howdy”.
4. Dead babies. You do know we already have panicked mothers disposing of infants they can’t or won’t care for, right? Then there are poor mothers who can barely financially support themselves who won’t be able to feed or get appropriate medical care for their babies, and those babies will suffer for it, some of them dying of starvation or preventable diseases and illnesses. Wouldn’t it be preferable that every child be a wanted and cherished child?
Question: why would you think someone is responsible enough and suitable for parenthood if you can’t trust them to make their own personal reproductive and/or healthcare decisions? If you think adoption is the solution, then you are demonstrating that you know NOTHING about how adoption works, and I don’t see swarms of anti-choice people lining up to adopt a non-white, non-infant, non-“cute” American child who may come with some emotional, mental, or medical problems. Most adopted children are fantastic, I know some personally, BUT there are far fewer suitable parents who are willing to adopt and who are also actually capable and available to care for these parentless children than you fantasize there are.
It is past time for this shit to be shut down. If you do not want an abortion, do not get one. Deal with your own personal unwanted pregnancy in whatever way you see fit. You do not have the right to dictate what medical decisions other human beings make. It is none of your business whatsoever. It doesn’t matter what “kind” of rape it was, either. Rape is rape, and it is not up to you to determine if you think that it is OK or not OK to abort an unwanted pregnancy.
Here is how to work to reduce abortions, if they offend you:
1. Sex ed. Comprehensive, clear, detailed, thorough, ACCURATE and science-based sex ed that explains How Babby Is Formed and How Gril Get Pragnat. But seriously, abstinence doesn’t work, and some evangelicals are even starting to clue into this. Teach more than “don’t do it”. Teach about STDs, and contraception, and the whole shebang. Educate people. Debunk stupidity like “falling down stairs causes miscarriages” or “Coca-cola mixed with aspirin makes an abortion-inducing or contraceptive douche” or “Pulling out is 100% safe” or “vaginas are sentient rape-sperm-destroying creatures which prevent rape victims from getting pregnant”. Allow kids to ask questions about the human body and sexuality and menstruation and conception and contraception or whatever and let them do it 100% anonymously, and then answer every single question you receive, no matter how silly you think those questions might be, because if they are asking, then they do not know the answer. Abolish ignorance about sexuality and basic human biology.
2. Realize that the human sex drive can’t be prayed or scolded away, and offer contraception options. Lots of them. With clear instructions on how to use them. Stop trying to defund groups who offer contraception. Learn how contraception WORKS so you don’t say something mentally deficient and stupid such as implying that more sexual activity requires more birth control pills. Learn that no method is 100% fool-proof except sterilization or, yes, abstinence. That is an appropriate time to mention that no sex = no pregnancy. But it can’t be the only option. You are allowed to preach whatever moral “dos and don’ts” you like, but not in public schools that are funded with taxpayer money, nor are you allowed to prohibit other people who do not share your faith from teaching factual information.
3. Expose Rape Culture and break it down. Teach young men not to rape. Stop interrogating rape victims as if they are the criminals. Jail some rapist sons of bitches until they are old and gray. STFU about “forcible” or “legitimate” or “real” rape. Rape is rape. You can be raped no matter what your sex or age or race or piety or modesty or behavior or location or time of day or how you are dressed or what you do or do not drink and so on. Rape is rape. You don’t ask someone who has been mugged what they were wearing or how they were behaving or if they were drinking, or imply that they were “asking for it” or “deserved it,” and rape is a far worse crime than simply having some asshole steal your wallet. And if someone CHOOSES to bear a child conceived during a rape, fine, but if she does not, it is none of your fucking business why she has made that decision and you don’t get to waste time arguing over the definition of her rape, and whether you think it is “forcible” or “legitimate” or “real” or what the fuck ever, all of which is just a sneaky way to delay until it is too late for her to legally abort anyway. We are onto you assholes, and you aren’t going to get your way on this.
4. Strengthen social safety nets. Funny how the most vociferous anti-choice people are also against any and all types of welfare and aid. Here’s a free clue: If someone can’t afford to clothe, feed, house, offer medical care to, school and care for a child, she may choose to abort that clump of cells. If, on the other hand, the woman wants a child and thinks she might be able to afford to care properly for it, she is more likely to have it. It is that simple. So get cracking on creating jobs, making it easier for low-income families to acquire shelter, make it easier for people to get decent health care (including dental, and vision, and preventive), make it easier for people to afford medications, make it easier for low-income families to get food assistance, improve public transportation so poorer people can access a wider variety of job opportunities, improve public schools (including sex ed classes that don’t suck), support libraries and museums and the arts to supplement public school educations, and don’t pretend that churches are going to fill in the gaps when society as a whole won’t, or that everyone is religious.
You know what happens when people know how their sex organs work, and how to prevent pregnancy, and that rape will be prosecuted vigorously and strictly with fucking JAIL TIME and naming and shaming of the rapist(s), and when people feel they can afford to have more kids? The number of abortions go way, way down. It is like magic how that works.
You know what happens when you preach abstinence-only by saying “just don’t do it,” and keep contraceptives hard to get, and quibble over definitions of rape and publicize victims’ names and situations, inviting everyone to judge what the victim did to “deserve” being raped, all while insisting that rapists deserve privacy protections, and make being poor as close to a death sentence as possible? People abort more often, either because they didn’t know how pregnancy happens and/or couldn’t help prevent contraception, or there are more rape victims and more of those victims getting pregnant and not wanting to be forced to care for their rapist’s child forever and ever, or you get a lot of impoverished people who can NOT afford to have a(nother) child, even if they might really want one. You wind up with more women getting abortions. DO THE MATH.
I don’t know how to dumb it down more than that.
If you’re so all-fired concerned about fetuses, then you need to get to work promoting things that will actually result in fewer unwanted fetuses. Trying to force pregnant women to deal with unnecessary waiting periods, shutting down as many abortion-providing clinics as you can, forcing women to endure guilt-and-shame-inducing “counseling” (typically from religious types), mandating unnecessary additional ultrasound procedures with vaginal probes and forcing women to view ultrasound images of their cellular or fetal blobs? That is not the right way to decrease abortions, and you fucking know it.
But we suspect–nay, we KNOW–that you’re really into imposing your Christian beliefs and morality on strangers and being punitive if they don’t comply. You’re really into controlling women and making decisions for them, and punishing sexual activity, while reserving the right to be smug and nasty about the poor. At least be honest about it. It’s not about fetuses. It’s about having your personal religious beliefs made into law in order to control other people.
And that is wrong.
Want more links? An updated version of this article has been posted at Addicting Info.