Rape and abortion

The official Republican Party platform is opposed to abortion under all circumstances other than to save the life of the mother. There are no exclusions for pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.

There have been some high profile candidates seeking elective office who have effectively said something akin to the platform, albeit in a less-than-politically correct manner, and who have gotten into trouble because of it. Most noteworthy are Todd Akin, who is now famous for his “legitimate rape” comments, attempting to argue (incorrectly) that women’s bodies can somehow prevent a pregnancy if under enough stress, and Richard Mourdock, who said that if a pregnancy comes about as a result of a rape, it was something that god intended and, thus, it shouldn’t be aborted. Only in word is the latter declaration not a statement that the rape itself was something that god intended.

One thing I sometimes wonder about — as it’s not a knowable statistic — is how far back we each have to go, to find a direct ancestor who was conceived in what was, by modern standards, a rape. Not necessarily a violent rape (which is what I believe Rep. Akin meant when he said “legitimate”), but a rape all the same. You really only need to go back to an arranged marriage and chances are, a child of that marriage was conceived in a rape.

That doesn’t justify or excuse the rape, though.

I’ve written before about how abhorrent I consider the concept of rape. Arranged marriages still happen, and the girls often willingly go along with it because they’ve been taught that it’s their role. That teaching is just as horrible as the rape itself.

The Mourdock statement is troublesome because he is applying the opinions of his own god, to the question of abortion. It’s been said so often that I’m not sure who first said it, but you know you’ve created god in your own image when he hates the same people you do. Of course, it’s not a surprise that a lot of religious groups seem to think that abortion is morally wrong.

It comes from a straightforward interpretation of Exodus 20:13, which holds that one of the ten commandments is not to kill. Because we understand how babies are conceived (now), they are extending this rule to the unborn. Fine.

But can’t an argument be made, though, that Genesis 2:7 dictates that life begins when we first breathe the “breath of life”? If so, then life wouldn’t begin until quite literally the moment after we’re born, when the doctor slaps us to start us breathing…. Anything before that, then, could be fair game for termination since it wouldn’t be alive. Thus, it couldn’t be killed.

Of course, the other big problem with the no exceptions for rape and incest rule is Deuteronomy 22:28-29, which holds that a woman must marry the man who rapes her. It doesn’t say anything about what she should do with any babies conceived as a result of the rape.

So, if I may be totally tongue-in-cheek when I say this, the punishment for someone being raped, shouldn’t be to bear the child. She should just marry her attacker.

And then she could just pretend she’s the next incarnation of Lorena Bobbitt….


4 responses to “Rape and abortion

  1. Ack! Sorry it’s taken me so long to comment on this.

    Now that we know the results of the elections, I guess it’s proven just how damaging those rape gaffs were. Though I’m even sure they are gaffs when the candidate honestly believed them to be true. It’s not as simple as saying something in an asinine manner. These men were saying exactly what they believe exactly how they believe it. Regardless, I still find it hard to understand how anyone as successful as these two men can be as stupid as they seem to be.


    I don’t think the doctor slaps a baby on the bottom in order to start their breathing. Or, really it’s just thst it’s not a necessary step and some doctors and midwives don’t do. Most of the times now, I believe that the person attending the birth will use a small suction device to clear the mouth and nose and help stimulate the breathing process.

    The only reason I’m mentioning this is because I loved the rest of your blog post and it seemed a shame that this one point was niggling at my brain and preventing me from think the post was perfection. If you are discussing someone’s medical misinformation, I think you have up be super careful about doing your own fact checking.

    • You make a good point. Slap or no slap, though, we don’t take our first breath until we’re (or more specifically, our lungs are) forced to do so, and that doesn’t happen until after we’re exposed to air, or after we’re born. Thus, the biblical interpretation of what life is, still holds.

  2. This doesn’t have anything to do with God; this has to do with another politician who believes he has the right to tell women what they should do with their bodies. (And according to Todd Akin how female biology work, cause apparently male politicians know so much about that). Murdock, or any other politician, has no right to tell a victim of rape, that she has to relive that violation every day, for another nine months. And I may not be a religious person per say, but I don’t think God would be that sadistic either. I really hope that’s not what mainstream Christians believe. I do believe in God, but I can’t believe in a god that would be that deliberately malicious. Republicans have approved that Viagra be readily available, but not contraceptives for women (Source: http://www.politicususa.com/gop-viagra-planned-parenthood.html). So I ask these questions of all Republicans, who agree with Murdock’s statements: Why do you want to take away a woman’s right to protect herself? And Why are you trying to take away a Woman’s right to say ‘No,’? Frankly, Why are you making all these policies against Women? WHY DO YOU HATE WOMEN?

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