Arguing Against the Rape Exception
[Today’s post is by Kristine Kruszelnicki and is the second in a point-counterpoint debate. See the previous post for an argument in defense of the rape exception.]
Is abortion justified to ease the suffering of a rape victim? Consider the following scenario:
A married woman and her husband make love in hopes of conceiving a child. A few days later she is brutally raped, only to soon discover that she is pregnant. With great difficulty she struggles through the pregnancy, trying to get over the trauma of the rape while hoping that the child she is carrying is the child she and her husband conceived in love.
The child is born. His racial traits makes it obvious that the child she is nursing is the rapist’s offspring and not her husband‘s child. Every time she looks into her son’s eyes she sees her rapist looking back at her and is reminded of the trauma she endured.
Is the woman in this fictitious scenario justified in ending her newborn son’s life in order to erase the ongoing reminder of the rape she endured? Most people would say no. And why? Because hardship doesn’t justify homicide. As a civil society we don’t kill human beings who remind us vividly of a traumatic experience.
That is why it is inconsistent of pro-lifers to make an exception for abortion in cases of rape. If we are pro-life because we believe the testimony of science that life begins at fertilization, then a child conceived in rape is no less a human being. If we will not justify the death of a born child whose father is a rapist and whose presence is causing his mother pain and suffering, then neither ought we justify the death of a younger and less developed child conceived in rape.
Making an exception for rape sends the message that while it is wrong to kill a pre-born human being if a pregnant woman’s struggles involve concerns like financial hardship, family disruption, social isolation and shame, an apparently greater hardship does justify the child’s death. Pro-lifers discredit their claim that abortion is wrong because it kills a human being, when they make allowances for any case other than to save the immediate life of the mother. Hardship does not justify homicide even when that hardship is extremely hard.
Bodily Rights and Unplugging the Violinist
Judith Jarvis Thompson’s Unplugging the Violinist argues in favour of bodily rights, and ever more so when a pregnancy is the result of rape and not the natural consequence of one’s own choices. Thompson argues that a child conceived in rape is like a famous violinist who hooks himself up to a woman’s kidneys without her consent and makes her life miserable for 9 months. A woman is justified in unplugging the violinist from having the support of her body, she argues, because she did not consent to such a bodily sacrifice.
Thomspon’s argument is flawed on several grounds, including the following:
1. Unlike the violinist who is a stranger, a woman’s prenatal offspring is biologically her flesh and blood, even if the father is an evil man. Thompson’s argument assumes the humanity of the unborn and consequently must grant that women have a basic obligation to their human offspring – at least to such a degree that they cause no direct harm and provide basic care for them until such a time as care of an unwanted child can be transferred to another party.
2. A pre-born child is not a rapist, nor is he enslaving the woman for his own gain. Pregnancy is a natural phenomenon in which an innocent bystander is invited into existence by the body’s natural functions. This is a far cry from a violinist maliciously kidnapping a woman and unnaturally attaching himself to her body.
3. An abortion does more than simply deny access to one’s resources. Abortion actively dismembers a human being and kills them. If the pre-born child is indeed a human being, “unplugging” him or her is not a mere passive act of independence and denying of resources, but the active infliction of death.
Death Penalty for the Wrong Party?
Rape is a horrendous and terrible crime and it is wrong because it violates the body of an innocent human being. Rapists should certainly receive the greatest penalty permissible under the law. But if we don’t even give the death penalty to the rapist, why do we justify the death penalty for an equally innocent bystander whose only crime is to have an evil and terrible man for a father?
Rebecca Kiessling’s mother was brutally attacked at knife-point by a serial rapist, and Rebecca was conceived as a result of this rape. Rebecca says:
Please understand that whenever you identify yourself as being “pro-choice,” or whenever you make that exception for rape, what that really translates into is you being able to stand before me, look me in the eye, and say to me, ‘I think your mother should have been able to abort you.’ That’s a pretty powerful statement. I would never say anything like that to someone. I would say never to someone, “If I had my way, you’d be dead right now.” …This is the ruthless reality of that position, and I can tell you that it hurts and it’s mean.
Rebecca and others conceived in rape dispel the myth of the rape-child being a horrible monster, and they help put a face to the second victim in a rape resulting in pregnancy.
Does Abortion Help Rape Victims?
A woman’s bodily integrity was violated when she was raped. An abortion will not ‘unrape’ her or undo the rape in any way, nor is it likely to make her forget that she was raped. Instead, an abortion turns a rape victim into a victimizer. Having been wrongly violated she turns around and destroys the body of an equally innocent party and bystander in the rape.
“I felt that the abortion was like being raped again,” said Nicole W. Cooley in her book Into the Light: Rape, Abortion and the Truth that Set Me Free. “Only this time, it was much worse because I had consented to the assault.”
David C Reardon interviewed more than 200 women who became pregnant as a result of rape for his book Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault Of those who chose to give birth to their child, nearly all of them felt it was the right thing to do, and many felt that having had something good out of their terrible ordeal helped them to find healing and meaning for what had been done to them. Conversely, more than 80% of those who chose to abort felt that the abortion had only compounded their pain, exposed their bodies to further invasion, and led others to dismiss their need for comfort and support.
“I deeply regret having put my innocent little baby through such torture and painful mutilation, letting her be cut up into pieces while still alive with a beating heart,” said Irene van der Wende after she witnessed a video of a 12 week abortion. “Killing an innocent baby is never right, even after rape. Two wrongs don’t make a right. The father harmed me, but I harmed the baby. The baby didn’t do anything wrong. The baby is a third person. I could have grown to love her, or [had] her adopted in a loving family. A baby should not carry the burden of the sin of the parent and be killed for it.”
In conclusion, rape is wrong because it violates an innocent human being, and abortion is wrong because it kills an innocent human being. Abortion hurts many women and adds a new trauma and sorrow to their lives and therefore women who become pregnant from rape deserve so much more than the wound of an abortion multiplied unto their current pain. Women who are raped need the utmost care and support, whether or not they are pregnant. In a case of pregnancy, both the woman and her child are equally innocent victims of the rapist, and we have a moral obligation to do everything that we can to help both of them, without taking an innocent life.
To my mind, bodily autonomy is the crux of the rape exception debate. A few thoughts:
1. Children sometimes get sick and need organ or blood donations to survive, but we have no laws requiring parents to provide those organs or blood. Do you think we ought to?
2. Thomson actually says that a society of music lovers kidnap you and connect you to the violinist. The violinist does not do it himself. It's a 3rd party action, leaving the violinist innocent, like the fetus.
3. I think this is the killing vs letting die distinction is the best argument I've seen against the rape exception, although I believe even if we banned abortion and replaced it with induced labor (i.e. "unplugging") we'd be back at square one with the debate.
I still not impressed by 3. I would be justified to kill an escaped mad man who threated my life or my family. It would be unfortunate to do so as he is in a sense innocent, but I still one isnt required to sacrifice ones life for another innocent party.
& even if pregnancy was 100% risk free I fail to see why just because it is passive occupation, that the rape victim should be forced to do so when no one else seems prepared to take on a similar burden.
The underlying principle could still be applied to everyone when the need arrive, and we are cognitively sophisticated enough to see that this can happen without someone being attached to the other party.
M: perhaps, then, we need to include death as the direct and inevitable result of deliberate neglect, or something like that, then.
Simon: Let's introduce a similar dilemma. What if this madman was your brother or grown child? Would you hesitate to kill him — would it be your first resort? Would you be stayed by any sense of pity or responsibility to him?
"when no one else seems prepared to take on a similar burden"
What do you mean, like surrogacy? Okay, I know people do that, but I really doubt that would be practical.
@enness. Say my mad brother was raping a woman plus for the sake of argument could end up killing her -and even if not- and the only way to end the rape would be to kill him then yes. If the only other option were to let him continue and say for arguments sake that means she is his sex slave for months, than again yes.
No we are looking at the underlying moral principle that we could make into a law that would cover when you could override a persons bodily autonomy. If you want it to apply in general to rape victims then it would go something like we can a override persons bodily autonomy in any case where by doing so we can directly save someone elses life.
We could override your bodily autonomy for forced blood and organ donation plus say make you a care giver for nine months for orphan children.
You might counter about a law about not killing innocents but then you would run into the mad man problem. Or you might restrict the law so it only applies to women which would take away moral parity and introduces sexism.
This is a supererogatory class of moral problems it could be considered more moral to do so but isn't always morally required.
The one big difference though is that a born child who needs organ or blood donations to survive does not start out relying on someone else's organs or blood to survive, and their deaths (should they happen) are a natural consequence of their illnesses and "unplugging" them so to speak, puts them back into their natural state. An unborn child begins his or her life relying on someone else, by virtue of its humanity (it is, after all, how we reproduce). They cannot be moved, and they cannot be "unplugged" into a more natural state. Their state is already natural – it is exactly where they are supposed to be, and inducing labor or otherwise killing them by directly stabbing/burning/poisoning them are actions taken directly to end the child's life for that sole purpose. That is a BIG difference when comparing induced labor of children conceived in rape to giving the sick organ or blood donations. I think a more apt comparison is already having the blood or organ needed (i.e.: already donated) and purposely with-holding treatment because the some of the sick persons associations are known criminals.
Again using forced organ donation isn't a perfect analogy but still aims at the underlying principle of forcing someone to use their body or body parts against their will to save alife.
Nor is the fact that its already happening relevant because the underlying principle is still there whether they are currently attached to you or waiting in the next room. They need existential care & by overriding someones bodily autonomy we can save that life.
BTW you are in fact also using a form of naturalistic fallacy, just because there is a biological/natural context that in itself is no reason to do it or allow it.
Like I said about the innocent mad rapist just because he is -innocent in the sense he doesnt know what he is doing- is no reason the woman should have to let it continue.
Lastly for your anology to work the burden should currently be on an individual who hasnt consented at all not consented then withdrawn. AT no stage has a rape victim consented.
I should clarify my last sentence – I do not say this from the pov of the pregnant woman, who is just as much (if not more) of a victim as the unborn child, and whose wish to abort (should she have one) is perfectly understandable. My last statement is said as an observation of society, who would condemn children to death for their fathers crimes, and who as a result do very little of consequence to help mothers who end up in these situations (or really, any situation that leads to an unwanted baby) choose life.
I think I see what you mean. While I argue that abortion in cases of rape should be legal, I still think it is immoral and would hope any rape victim who wants to carry her pregnancy would get all the support she could need. Perhaps if society did a better job of that, this would be less of an issue–as you said, for all unwanted pregnancies.
1st as far as I know the violinist argument is just generally about bodily autonomy not specifically rape where many have said the argument doesnt apply .
Next if the rape victim is obligated to override bodily autonomy because of the family relation I fail to see why this wouldnt happen in born offspring as well. We would be forced to donate organs and blood to our post partum offspring whether we want to or not. & if not a son or daughter how about a 2nd cousin removed to save their life?
2nd and 3rd point see my mad rapist point in the above post & even if you argue pregnancy isn't violent but passive occupation of the womans body, it still invloves health and existential risks plus nowhere else in society do we say some other party has a right to use your body or that you must automatically override your bodily autonomy to save another life..
You do realize that the only reason we would have to have such a rule would be for the *exceptions*, which is to say, people who are so hateful or indifferent toward their own family that they would withhold something they don't need to live, knowing the other will die? People generally want to save their family members' lives if they can, even if there's some risk involved.
"You do realize that the only reason we would have to have such a rule would be for the *exceptions*"– a rule we DON'T HAVE because it overrides bodily autonomy. Call it hateful, but laws requiring donations do NOT exist despite there existing some very hateful and indifferent people (family members) in the world. You said "people generally want to save.." so I'm assuming that means you know there are exceptions to that, yet we don't require them to get over that hate and submit their body, do we?
Exactly Pantheroom & since genetically speaking we are all one big family this sort of stance would mean we would be required to donate to anyone around the world who needed a organ let alone in our own countries.
Of course parents shouldn't be forced to donate organs to their children. This is because there are hundreds (possibly even thousands) of other people who are capable of donating organs to save the child's life. In pregnancy, there is only one person who can save that child's life. I'm not sure why this is such a hard thing for people to understand? The fetus cannot be removed and placed into some sort of fake womb. If there is organ failure, a person can be on a machine until an organ becomes available. A fetus cannot be held in a state of limbo until a womb becomes available.
In rape, the fetus becomes a victim of the natural order of life. I can't think of anything worse than that. We cannot change how life works. We can force conception (IVF), but not implantation. No matter what we want to believe, we actually have no control over how this all works. We cannot change the natural order of how things live. Even in cloning, we cannot remove the womb. So we can argue this all we want and demand "bodily autonomy", but in the end, the fetus is a person who has no choice but to be inside the woman's body. The fetus did not intentionally come to life. The fetus is not malicious and does not try to hurt the woman in any way. The fetus is there because science dictates….no demands…that s/he be there.
There are still children who die while on waiting lists for donations. In those cases–when the child is going to die absent the parent stepping in to help–do you think the parent should be legally required to help?
In sickness, many people also become victims of the natural order of life. In the end, a patient suffering from Acute Myelogenous Leukemia is a person who had no choice but to suffer under a fatal disease. The person did not intentionally get sick. The person is not malicious or trying to hurt anyone by needing bone marrow transplants. …I'm just not sure what that has to do with saying other people should be required to donate bone marrow to save the patient's life.
Well said M the only other thing I would add akaVarmint is that you are using a naturalistic fallacy. Just because this or that happens in nature that in itself is no reason to do it. Rape is reproductive strategy in nature, that doesnt make it ok.
Fetal development isn't a disease, and you can't donate your heart or kidney and expect to get it back a few months later.
True but it still creates a existential dependecy.Recently I read a post that pointed out nowhere in law do we allow the body to be used as compensation.
(BTW that same person argued it was biology that caused the dependecy not the woman, even if she consented to sex. That would be like kidnapping and not feeding the victim and then claiming biology caused the victim to starve.)
I can accept the laws stance about the body but we do still punish the offender even if that isn't an option.
You know, there is a scenario we can speak of, though it's much more rare: conjoined twins. Sometimes they are able to be (relatively) easily separated, but sometimes they share vital organs. I don't have any idea how the Bunker twins managed to get along — this was long before the first known human organ transplant — much less marry and have children, which they did, but can you imagine suggesting that one of them 'disconnect' the other to be free to live his own life if it meant his brother would shortly die? Nine months is hardly a lifetime. These two lived conjoined for over 60 years. Just try to imagine that.
9 months not a burden? Nor is giving up an organ or being forced to donate blood multiple times a year. Even less being forced to work at an orphanage for 9 a year.
Great arguments in this post. I'm glad to see SPL making both sides forcefully heard.
However, I think some of the points are made imprecisely, and it has a huge effect on how they should be received. For instance, point 2 under bodily rights: I find it common for people who oppose the rape exception to argue that the fetus is "innocent." Of course the fetus is innocent. That's not the point. It is not a question of whether the fetus *intentionally* imposes on the mother's body. It is simply a fact that the child is an imposition, and it is not so clear that the mother should be forced to be responsible for the care of that child.
Which leads me to point 1 in that section, when it is asserted that "women have a basic obligation to their human offspring." This may be begging the question. What is a "basic obligation"? Where does that obligation come from? In this case it clearly does not come from the choices the woman has made. It is no longer a matter of personal responsibility, and instead it has become a matter of societal obligation. I'm a little wary of this kind of thinking.
I think we have to take very seriously the inherent risks involved in pregnancy. Even in a developed society like ours, maternal deaths due to pregnancy are not as rare as we would like; in fact, depending on your source of statistics, it's more likely that you'll die from carrying a child to term than from aborting. That should be important in the discussion, because it's not simply a question of the woman not wanting to deal with a child conceived in rape. It's also a matter of caring about her personal safety, and whether she should be obligated to put her body at risk for the sake of a child she did not voluntarily conceive.
One last point: I find that appeals to emotion in this debate really do tug at my heart. To hear a woman like Rebecca Kiessling give her stance on the issue is naturally more powerful than any arguments I can give (although, oddly enough, it hasn't really changed abortion law in this country). But that's exactly why appeals to emotion aren't really fair in a debate. Experience is important, and it's good to know how these issues affect women and their children emotionally. Yet I don't see how you can derive firm moral principles from that. After all, you're always going to have to selective when you appeal to emotion. Some women really do feel great about having abortions (and not just because of rape). I don't understand that, and I don't think that's healthy, but I do acknowledge that it's real. At the end of the day, our moral and legal framework must come from something beyond what particular experiences can tell us.
Again, I'm glad to see this very difficult issue being discussed.
Jameson, I do not think the innocence of the fetus is nearly so immaterial. The fact that the imposition is not willed or even known is an important consideration because we're not just talking about being responsible for its care, which is something that can be abdicated at birth, but we're talking about the justification of deadly force.
Are you equally wary of paternal child support? That's a pretty well-established societal obligation.
Finally, do you think there is currently as much effort to reduce the incidence of maternal death from complications of pregnancy as there is to justify abortion? I could be wrong, but my perception is that there is not.
I would be wary of paternal child support in cases where the man was raped.
Since a mans stake in his offspring is cancelled so is his financial responsibility so no male should have to provide child support.
The problem with this argument is that a zygote isn't a rational human being, stop using the "multi cell pre-human has all the same rights as trayvon martin" argument.
How ironic that the average pro-lifer would support violence and the "stand your ground" legislation that led to the death of an innocent child (a real child, one that was actually born) and oppose the right of women to choose when and where the want to be a mother.
In Arizona, the "pro-lifers" are trying to pass a bill that says a fetus is "human" before it even exists. This shows that "pro-lifers" are simply out there to make women's lives a living hell if they want to have an abortion.
Pain, you've suddenly become the exception to the many rational points being made here. Just because you do not like the argument, it does not follow that the argument is invalid and everyone should "stop using it" at your demand.
Of course it does not have "all the same rights as Trayvon Martin." That is a straw man. If Martin lived another year he'd have the right to vote and serve in the military and buy cigarettes and all sorts of other things. What they both have is a right to life, which as we say in this country's Constitution, we do not infringe upon without due process of law. While recent revelations have cast doubt on the theory that George Zimmerman hunted him down with the intention of killing him, I think it is clear that Trayvon certainly didn't get due process, and that it may very well have been a misuse of the law you refer to.
Even if the Arizona law says exactly what you claim, which I am taking with a grain of salt, it does not show that '"pro-lifers" are simply out there to make women's lives a living hell if they want to have an abortion.' You cannot read minds, but you're trying to ascribe motives anyway — please don't, it's foolish.
You don't like getting called out on what you're doing, that's why you're not owning up to it. People can see what you really represent. That's why sites like these do nothing but preach to the converted.
How do you know the average pro-lifer supports the Stand Your Ground laws? Or are you just making assumptions?
Sorta like how I knew that enness would defend Andrew Zimmerman on the Trayvon Martin murder case. This site is heavily republican or at the very least young college republican/ron paul supporters.
Who is Andrew Zimmerman?
Re, the AZ law – are you aware that the medical field dates pregnancy as beginning in the first day of a woman's last menstrual period? 40 weeks is date of LMP to due date, not date of conception to due date. Given this, why do you object to AZ adhering to the standard medical method of dating pregnancy?
@Pain is Cupcake, maybe you missed the recent furore about the Post Birth Abortion paper, but hasn't it occurred to you that a neonate isn't a rational being either. Whether you subscribe to viability or bodily autonomy logically neither of these arguments in themselves give any reason why a neonate cannot be treated like any other non person organism and be killed humanely.
A cat in a artificial womb would be viable, is not using a womans body and would have a higher cognitive capacity than a neonate. Would we give it full moral rights due to viability and bodily autonomy?
JoAnna– That is a process that leads to pregnancy. Pregnancy beings with implantation. If you have any sources to demonstrate your claim, I'd like to see them.
Pregnancy has often been dated from the first day of the mothers last menstrual period, which typically occurs two weeks before fertilization or three weeks before implantation.
Pantheroom – will Planned Parenthood suffice as a source?
Pregnancy is measured using “gestational age.” Gestational age starts on the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period (LMP). – Planned Parenthood
Ah. This is what confuses me:
"Pregnancy begins when a fertilized egg implants in the uterus."
" But because pregnancy is measured from a woman’s last menstrual period — about 3-4 weeks before she is actually pregnant — a full-term pregnancy usually totals about 40 weeks from LMP — roughly 10 months."
So for consistent dating purposes, the fetus is said to be at __ week of development. Yet we know that pregnancy doesn't ever actually begin until implantation. So we are knowingly saying women were pregnant when a lot of times they weren't (3-4 weeks before she's actually pregnant).
I haven't read a lot on the AZ bill, but it appears they want to use this standard medical dating practice rather than…? My question is what were they using before that they are now throwing out? Was that actually less reliable?
Pantheroom – pregnancy actually does begin at conception, not implantation; PP likes to claim it begins at implantation so they can make the claim that birth control pills and IUDs aren't abortifacent. I wrote a blog post about this issue today that contains the text of the bill, and no, the way AZ dates pregnancies in terms of legal status has not changed. It's simply pro-abortion propaganda.
Catholic trying to argue that birth control is murder. Not big suprise.
Hey! not all of us want to live according to your "Rick Santorum" vision of this country. Can't you be content to live and worship without forcing your religious beliefs on everyone else.
No… I didn't think so.
Since I'm an atheist nor do I, but as far as those types of birth control goes they are right.
BTW you still didn't reply to my post about the neonates not being rational agents nor as to why a cat shouldnt have full moral rights. Lets see if you know your underlying arguments.
You win Simon, we should all punish women by forcing them to carry a pregnancy to term, even if it's something they don't want. Only by making abortion a felony will we truly be able to correct this terrible sickness of women not wanting to raise families. We shall now continue to socially ostracize single mothers, adopted children, and welfare recipients.
Your are a waste of time, you don't even know what you are talking about or are prepared to show you have any understanding of the philosophy behind your stance.
Just another troll
It must be trolling around here to say that the "pro-life" movement's stated goals of making birth control and abortion illegal will do nothing to address the root causes/motivations of why women decide to have abortions in the first place. Lets ignore how the Catholic Church and other "pro-life" institutions support ideas and policies that promote more Abortions rather than less abortions.
Instead lets argue over whether a cat is a person or whether a newborn reacts to visual stimuli.
Who is the real troll here?
Clear cut example of why christian groups claim to be against abortion but do everything in their power to make it in women's best interests to have an abortion. You religious people make me sick.
If you had been here long enough you will know there are many of us who take exception to many things religious and conservative pro-lifers say; are for increased resources for single mothers, universal healthcare, pro-sex & sex education & some forms of contraception, and against the death penalty.
Secondly if you want to raise these concerns do so on the apropriate post not on a post where the philosophy of the debate is being discussed. Plus you raised a philosophical point about rational agents but when put on the spot then whine about discussing that same philsophical point. HYPOCRITE!!
BTW that stil doesn't get away from the fact you don't even understand the reasoning behind your own stance and are just here to sprout rhetoric. Thats what makes you a troll.
Secular Pro Life gives lip service to the notion of giving aid to single mothers and other types of policies that, in theory, they should support. But the only thing you see them talking about is why abortion is child-murder and a lengthy defense of christian/conservative initiatives like the outlawing of abortion and contraception. You're a two bit propoganda outfit of the religious right's secular outreach program. None of your disingenuous "debates" about the "scientific basis" of fetal personhood is fooling anybody.
Indeed, SPL works hand in hand with tea party activists to force the most divisive, reactionary, christian fundamentalist legislation down the throats of everyone.
Go knock on doors for Mitt Romney.
In truth I don't have much time for the toxic politics in the US, & don't think that much of socialism hysteria that goes on over there.
But even if you thought that this was the case politically that still doesn't take away from the point that the Pro-Choice trolls coming here have no understanding of the philosophy behind your stance and therefore no better than any clueless teabagger.
Nobody can claim to be a real american pro-lifer and make an exception for killing a child just because of special circumstances of the innocent child's conception. Abortion should be legal in all cases, even if the woman was forcibly inseminated at the human guniea pig blacksite of a top-secret paranormal research facility.
This chart is useful for anyone who wants to understand the real meaning of american pro-life.
and that's "…shouldn't be legal…" for all you typo squatting anti-life baby killers who would dare to accuse me of not being pro-life.
If you want to address the issue pls do but you have added nothing here so far. If you disagree with bodily autonomy fine then pls feel free to advocate that we all abrogate it when we could save someones life.
I was raped by the man who was supposed to love and protect me. Unfortunately, this happens all the time. But when a husband rapes his wife, she does not then "get to kill" all of her already born children, just because they look like, act like, or otherwise remind her of her rapist. I got over being raped, but I have never gotten over killing my own child conceived in rape.
This is a powerful testimony, thank you. I truly hope you find the healing you seek.
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Wait. Who argued anywhere on here that abortion should be legal in cases of rape because the woman doesn't want to be reminded of her rapist? I thought the argument was that it should be legal because of bodily autonomy.
In the general debate it is used.
This is a little off-topic but I think it's worth pointing out: the author's use of the term "racial traits" to identify the baby as the rapist's implies that the victim and the rapist are of different races.
In the majority of real-life cases the victim and rapist are the same race. The suggestion in this case (fictional but intended as representative) that they are different feeds into the stereotype of white victims attacked by men of color. The same point could just as easily been made by referring to the baby's "features" or "looks" without bringing race into it at all.
I don't mean to distract from this interesting discussion and I'm sure this wasn't intentional on the part of the author, but attitudes toward race inevitably factor into our attitudes toward crime.
(Accidentally posted this as a reply to an earlier post which is isn't–trying again.)
As I recall, haven't there been cases where Jehovah's Witness parents have been forced to allow blood transfusions for their child? It seems like that is somewhat relevant to this particular discussion.
On another level, I was thinking we could have point-counterpoint posts on the issue of birth control. I've often felt pro-life has needed to examine its views on this for a long time, and we could have both a liberal perspective and a conservative perspective on this. And to really make it balanced we could post these two perspectives not only on this blog but also on a conservative blog (e.g., Timmerie's Blog)
rt4rtl: "As I recall, haven't there been cases where Jehovah's Witness parents have been forced to allow blood transfusions for their child? It seems like that is somewhat relevant to this particular discussion."
That doesn't seem relevant as nobody's bodily autonomy is being sacrificed against their will. Parent's don't want to allow willing donors to give blood to their children. No one in this example is being forced to donate.
The rape pregnancy abortion legality is definitely a difficult decision.
I definitely do not believe that abortion would help the woman feel better at all. The combination of rape and abortion could be enough to make a woman never want to have sex, be with a man, or have children again. I think psychologically the woman wants to have an abortion after a rape to rid herself of the memory and try to "kill" the rapist. I strongly believe that this will just lead to double the trauma of rape alone.
I have not yet decided how i feel about rape abortions being legal yet.
Another thing I've noticed is that pro-choicers always try to convince pro-lifers of abortion through the rape scenerio. But at the same time when you try to agree with them to have all abortion illegal except rape ones they don't want to. The pro-choicer is using the rape scenario to vilify ALL abortions whether rape or not.
In this case neither the child nor the mother has done anything wrong.
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Nor is as far as intent if a madman harms you, yoou have to think outside the box and a bit deeper to understand you can be innocent and still cause someone harm.
This is a good post from Simon:
"We are looking at the underlying moral principle that we could make into a law that would cover when you could override a person's bodily autonomy. If you want it to apply in general to rape victims, then it would go something like, 'We can a override persons bodily autonomy in any case where by doing so we can directly save someone elses life.'
"We could override your bodily autonomy for forced blood and organ donation, plus, say, make you a caregiver for nine months for orphan children.
"You might counter with a law about not killing innocents, but then you would run into the mad man problem [I would be justified to kill an escaped mad man who threated my life or my family]. Or you might restrict the law so it only applies to women, which would take away moral parity and introduces sexism.
"This is a supererogatory class of moral problems; it could be considered more moral to do so, but isn't always morally required."
Simon, are you pro-life or pro-choice? All of those are perfect arguments for the pro-choice side in general. And you also resist the naturalistic fallacy, I see. Do you consider yourself pro-choice?
@Pro-Choicer techically I'm not,& though I lean in that direction I don't agree with many Pro-Life stances. In fact I lean more towards a secular Janist stance. Plus I'm a stickler for logical consistency. Whatever stance you take, all I ask is that you apply your moral precepts consistently.
For Pro-Life for instance that would mean if you are against rape abortion then you must allow forced body/blood donation on everyone to save lives.
For Pro-Choice if you are so big on bodily autonomy and using personhood then no restrictions on late term abortion or Post Birth Abortions for reasons similar to early abortions.
I'll go where the logic takes me and don't have a cultural position to defend. BTW while I have strong left leaning atheist views I just don't identify with any group and feel compelled to criticize all if I think they are wrong.
Let's analyze a hypthetical example with women being forced to give birth after rape, because of absolute abortion bans. Startiong at 12 years old:
At 12: a gril is raped, gets pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 13: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 14: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 15: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 16: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 17: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 18: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 19: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 20: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 21: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 22: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 23: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 24: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 25: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 26: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 27: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 28: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 29: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 30: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 31: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 32: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 33: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 34: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 35: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 36: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 37: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 38: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 39: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth
At 40: gets raped & pregnant, is forced to give birth, DIES IN CHILDBIRH
This is what your "morality", if enforced by law, might ultimately lead to.
Mitt Romney doesn't think for himself. He just says every side of every issue, and then lets people stop him when they like what they hear.
Do there seriously not exist any effective deterrent punishments for rape, that the same woman can get perpetually raped year after year?
Is timing sexual activity relative to menstruation, a form of murder too?
What if you time your sexual activity, such that conception occurs, but her cycle on its own, prevents implantation from occurring? No non-natural objects used.
If it is a legitimate rape, the male body has its ways of shutting the whole thing down.
Ugh my comment has a horrible layout. Can somebody fix it for me please?
1. A rape exception to a ban on abortion will never happen, even if all pro-lifers agreed to it. A legal conclusion would have to be made that a woman was raped before an abortion could proceed. That would require at a minimum: (1) conviction of the rapist (2) establishment of paternity (3) proof that the baby was conceived in rape as opposed to earlier consensual sex with the rapist (he could be a bitter ex-boyfriend). There is no way this can be done inside a three or even nine month window.
2. Forgive me for being insensitive, but how exactly is the child "a victim of the rapist"? The child was not raped. The mother was. The child could be put up for adoption and be unaware of her origin for decades. Discovering at age 18 or 40 or 60 that you were conceived in rape does not make you a victim, any more than learning your great grandfather was a slave makes you a victim.
3. It is almost a certainty that every person on earth has an ancestor who was conceived in rape. Are we all victims now?
The only solution to abortion is artificial wombs, which protect a baby's right to life and a woman's right to her body. Now all we need is some maverick politician to start the initiative, like JFK pushed for the moon landings.
I've thought about this a little. Would you have to convict a rapist. The police could simply investigate to rule out all those women in relationships. Even single women would need a plausible story. When, where, description, physical damage if any. Also my stance is to also provide funding so taking away the financial burden which is the justification for most abortions.
It could be a black couple having a white baby. Our any couple having who are not Asian having an Asian baby. The idea was it was supposed to be un-deniable that the baby was not her husband's child.
While I agree that this is a real issue in media today, I don't think it is one in this article.
For every 1,000 black children born 1,200 are aborted. Some of us are just trying to end the genocide. We are not going to agree on where life starts. That "pile of cells" gets to looking more like Trayvon Martin than a pile REALLY fast. So fast, that some people are shocked when they lose a child and find it looks like a child at 4mths. Little people are people too.
Also you probably should lump us together with people who think Trayvon deserved what he got. Lumping people together never goes anywhere good.
It's interesting to note that men cannot terminate child support if they were raped in at least 14 states. If they were tricked into getting a woman pregnant NOW thinks he still doesn't have the right to eliminate child support
"Women who are raped need the utmost care and support, whether or not they are pregnant."
I believe that this is what many people miss. What help do raped women receive? They get nothing. Society is completely apathetic to rape and does nothing to prevent it. They also think the woman must have deserved it. There is no way to unrape someone. We must find a way to prevent men from becoming rapists.
Chandler Klebs said…
"Women who are raped need the
I believe that this is what many people miss. What help do raped women receive? They get nothing. Society is completely apathetic to rape and does nothing to prevent it. They also think the woman must have deserved it. There is no way to unrape someone. We must find a way to prevent men from becoming rapists.
Teaching them to respect women would be a start. More women leaders might also help.
"Is the woman in this fictitious scenario justified in ending her newborn
son’s life in order to erase the ongoing reminder of the rape she
endured? Most people would say no. And why? Because hardship
doesn’t justify homicide. As a civil society we don’t kill human
beings who remind us vividly of a traumatic experience."
If a woman was to kill any human that reminded her of the rape, she would have to kill every male human that she encountered as every single one of them would have certain physical similarities to the man who raped them. In so doing, she would end up killing a lot of innocent men who never raped anyone.
>> Death Penalty for the wrong party.
If some guy came and raped my daughter, here is what's going to happen. I'm going to hunt him down and rip his nuts off to make sure his garbage DNA doesn't have a chance to multiply, and my daughter would definitely not view that a pregnancy resulting from being raped is "something good." I would defer to her wishes what to do, but I'm guessing she would also want no part in spreading this cretin's DNA. It boils my blood that some idiot would be trying to force a woman to carry in the case of rape.