Friday, January 4, 2013

The "Rape Exemption"

In my wide-ranging reading--anything from biographies, historical fiction, nonfiction, spy thrillers, biological and geological textbooks, blogs--I follow some feminist blogs to understand what's in the forefront of such issues.

Naturally the assault on abortion rights--or more broadly, women's bodily autonomy rights--is a prime topic.  I ran across this a couple weeks back that highlights one of the inconsistencies of some of the anti-abortion folks on the so-called rape exemption:

Question: What is the difference between a woman who wants an abortion after accidentally becoming pregnant with her boyfriend and a woman who wants an abortion after becoming pregnant through rape? Answer: The first woman voluntarily chose to have sex while the second woman didn’t.
In other words, people who want to see abortion banned but want to keep a rape exemption care very much whether a woman chooses to have sex or not. A woman who chooses to have sex should be required to deal with the “consequences,” i.e. pregnancy, birth, and child rearing. But a woman who becomes pregnant after being raped? Well, she didn’t choose to have sex so she shouldn’t have to deal with the “consequences.” In other words, if someone allows for a rape exemption, their opposition to abortion is not about “saving babies” but rather about making sure women who voluntarily choose to have sex and then become pregnant have to deal with the “consequences” of their decision to have sex.
It is likely that there are some people who believe abortion is murder but also support rape exemptions simply because they haven’t thought through the consistency of their position. They believe abortion is murder, but it seems instinctively wrong to force a woman who never chose to have sex in the first place but was instead forced against her will to carry and bear her rapist’s baby.

I don't know why this is so hard.  It's actually very easy: a woman gets to choose whether or not to be pregnant because it's her body.  BECAUSE IT'S HER BODY. 

Case closed.  Nobody else gets to decide, regardless of how "moral" their arguments may be.


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