They Had No Choice Then; They Deserve One Now

5 03 2009

If men could get pregnant from a rape, would they still prohibit abortions for rape victims? Two stories today bring home the inhumanity of men’s stands on pregnant rape victims.

Story #1 – A Brazilian 9-year-old was allegedly raped by her step-father (who is now in jail for this). Weighing only 80 pounds and 15 weeks pregnant, this little girl was pregnant with twins. Abortion is against the law in Brazil, but a judge can make an exception if the mother’s life is at risk. It was determined in this case that this child’s life was at risk. The abortion was carried out yesterday amidst protests from the Catholic Church.

Story #2 – According to an article by Human Rights Watch, officials in the Mexican state of Guanajuato are preventing rape victims from getting abortions even though the Mexican Supreme Court upheld a ruling that it is legal. The HRW article says this:

Guanajuato permits legal abortion only after rape. But over the past eight years, the state has denied every petition by a pregnant rape victim for abortion services. Over the same period, about 130 persons have been sentenced for seeking or providing illegal abortions. Hospital workers often report women suspected of having received abortions to the police, instead of focusing on the provision of safe and confidential medical care for women with post-abortion complications.

In Mexico City, women can have an abortion in their first trimester, no matter whether they were raped or not.

Feministing.com includes this unbelievable bit. Their comment about it is in bold type:

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore was quoted in 1997 as saying he opposes abortion, but “supports exceptions for rape and incest if the woman reports the crime to police within a week.” Cause really ladies, seven days is plenty of time to deal with your dad raping you.

In a different take on men’s appalling insensitivity to what it is like to be raped and impregnated by a rapist, I read a story about how a Japanese computer game was available on Amazon.com and eBay where players must rape women and force them to have an abortion. It was taken down off Amazon on 2/13/09.

Rape in itself is violent, intrusive, and forever changes and affects a woman or girl. I do not believe that abortion should be used as a form of birth control, but no woman or child should be forced to carry the child of a rapist. Lawmakers and churches who disregard not only the danger to a raped child’s life but also the emotional devastation of having to carry and give birth to a rapist’s child are not just or godly. And entrepreneurs profiting from glorifying rape and the men who buy this disgusting filth bear culpability in promoting a world where rape is seen as a means for men to take out their aggression and as entertainment.

Women who were raped had no choice in the matter and they did not choose to have a child by their attacker. They deserve a choice on whether to carry to carry and be a mother to a rapist’s child…especially when the unwlling mother-to-be is a child herself.

UPDATE: The Vatican has excommunicated the mother of the raped 9-year-old Brazilian girl who had the abortion and the doctors who performed the abortion. The step-father, who raped the girl, was not excommunicated. The regional archbishop said that even thought what he did was “… “a heinous crime … the abortion – the elimination of an innocent life – was more serious”. The girl said the step-father had been sexually abusing her since she was six years old. Police said the 23-year-old stepfather also allegedly sexually abused the girl’s physically handicapped 14-year-old sister. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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One response

6 03 2009
William

Instances of rape only account for 1% of abortions in this country. Slightly less than 2% if you include incest. Both of these are some of the most awful circumstances imaginable for a person to experience. And without question, are nearly universally at the hands of deeply troubled, violent men, for whom no excuses should ever be made.

But, I think the question of whether or not these situations justify an abortion is a deeper philosophical issue.

It’s a general rule among most societies, that children are not held responsible for their parent’s wrong doings. Now, lets say that in a sexual act a woman was required afterword to wear some kind of marking that detailed what she had done with that person. (I know it’s bogus, but for the sake of illustration stick with me here). If a woman was raped, we would all hope that she would not be required to wear that mark. And, when a court allowed her not to wear it, we would all rejoice because it would be a just ruling based on all of the available and involved parties. But, that’s not exactly what’s happening. Indeed, the pregnant victim of rape ends up having to carry the mark of her attacker, but the mark is not inanimate. The mark is an entirely new, living entity, with it’s own DNA. And, according to the laws of nature, it can’t be some inhuman thing growing. It has to be a person–albeit not much of one quite yet. (Of course we have a lot of those post-womb life too!)

To allow a rape victim to abort a baby based on the father’s actions frees her from the effects of his crime, but it also inadvertently punishes the growing child for it’s father’s crimes. In no other realm would we accept something like that as just. If we did, then what would happen if the son of a woman’s attacker was found, but not her attacker? Should she have the authority to have him terminated instead?

But, I think it’s still a lot more involved than that.

People are left with scars from an incredible gamut of situations. True, few are as painful as rape, but sometimes they can be compounded to compete in that arena. What most of us fail to remember is that we contribute to other people’s scars regularly. Not necessarily on our own, but in our own ways we’re all dropping our bit into each other’s buckets.

Take for instance a young woman who doesn’t grow up in a loving household. Not violent, not abusive, just not particularly loving. She goes off to school and she’s not well adjusted. She’s a little awkward and her lack of a good home life makes making friends difficult. In fact, things swing the other direction. She’s made fun of and emotionally abused all throughout high school. Eventually she heads off to college where she gets a fresh start. She learns there that she make’s friends easily with promiscuous behavior. It isn’t long before she’s pregnant.

Now, without a doubt, she’s where she is, in many ways, because of the way she’s been treated her whole life. But, nonetheless, she is pregnant with a child she doesn’t want. For her to abort this child is very much for her to use it as a birth control method. But, given the circumstances of compound wounds inflicted by people around her, is it all that much different than someone who’s wounds come all at once? The reality is, some variation of this story is extremely common. Vastly more common than situations of rape.

But perhaps even more than that, who along the way did she scar? And what because of her actions toward them is now permissible?

Philosophically, and even logically speaking, pain and emotional trauma are a tricky ground to walk on. And, it becomes even more tricky when a whole new life is involved. I don’t think that the question is answered so easily.

Phew… Sorry for such a long comment. I just got going there! 🙂

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