I saw the news earlier today regarding Rep. Todd Akin's comments about rape and women's reproductive systems.
Setting aside, for the moment, the incredible arrogance and idiocy that would cause a male, and a politician, to put a qualifier in front of the word "rape", and affirming that the comments regarding a resulting pregnancy that "the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down" are fantastically asinine, I had some thoughts about the legislation that ties this loser to the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate and the narrative behind it.
(more below the squiggle)
The "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" connects Todd Akin with at least 173 other Republican legislators, including Paul Ryan.
The proposed "Hyde Amendment" to this Act, which was eventually abandoned, was the document that contained the now infamous term "forcible rape". It was this language that signaled that the uneasy quasi-truce between pro-choice and pro-life camps concerning cases of rape and incest was over.
When Rep. Akin said "legitimate rape", he was traveling in a trajectory that had already been outlined in the Hyde Amendment.
Folks in the anti-choice camp, like Congressman (and Senatorial candidate in MO) Todd Akin, defend denying abortion coverage to rape victims by arguing that the child that might result from a rape is an "innocent victim" as well. They would force victims of rape to carry their attacker's child, by pressure of guilt or statute or economic leverage. In so doing, they propose to extend the experience of rape to nine months.
This is the narrative behind the entire anti-choice movement, in fact. The idea that a fertilized egg or an unborn fetus is fully equivalent to any human being and that its individual rights take priority over the individual rights of the mother. Take the justification by religion out of it. Take emotion out of it. Nuance it as you will, this is the argument.
Now, whether you agree with the idea that a fertilized egg or an unborn fetus (at any stage of development, really) should have the same rights, responsibilities, and privileges as any other citizen, or not, you ought to be able to follow my alternative line of reasoning:
1) In the United States, I have a right to defend my home. This right is derived from a recognition of the inherent right to self-defense.
2) That right (self-defense) is not diminished if I leave my door unlocked. It is not invalidated if I invite someone in. The right to self-defense is not removed if the threat is a family member, a spouse, or a minor. I have the right to go on defending myself until I am no longer threatened, i.e. until the invader is killed or driven off. The only thing that I need to "prove" is that I was attacked (and, bear with me, I'm not suggesting that women who have been raped "left their doors unlocked" or "invited in" their rapists, what I'm saying is that those arguments are not only insulting, they're irrelevant to the issue).
3) Rape that results in pregnancy is the most obviously egregious home invasion imaginable (this doesn't diminish rape that doesn't, or couldn't, result in pregnancy, I'm making a specific argument about abortion). Our first home is within our skin. If a burglar moved in to our basement we would have little trouble proving that they had invaded our home (whether unlawful entry or breaking and entering, "forcible" is not the issue). Their very presence would convict them.
4) Arguing against a woman's right to elect to have an abortion in cases of rape is arguing against allowing her to choose to "evict" the home invader in her uterus. The fact that she is pregnant against her will is all the proof that is needed. Should we allow the thief to remain in the basement, continuously stealing, simply because they have set up a cozy little room? Does the fact that the foreign sperm has appropriated to itself an accessible egg to fertilize change the fact that it was always an intruder?
5) If we allow that a fertilized egg is a human being, then in cases of rape that result in pregnancy, where that pregnancy is terminated by abortion, it is the rapist, not his victim whose reproductive system he invaded, that is guilty also of murder. And, to be fully fair, child abandonment as well.
The "mother" cannot be accused of anything except self-defense.
So, you could say, if you're anti-choice in cases of rape, then you're pro-home invasion and anti-self-defense.
For the record, I have no uterus, no vagina, pregnancy will never be an issue for me personally. I am male, and so my observations in this matter should be given no more weight than that of any other person who has no real skin in the game.
It is women whose opinions truly matter, on the subject of pregnancy, abortion, and rape. I hope that female readers will forgive me for my presumption to comment on this topic.
I have deliberately chosen to label Rep. Akin and like minded folks anti-choice rather than pro-life. I am pro-life. I believe that most folks who are pro-choice are also pro-life. It because I am in favor of life, full and abundant, that I support a woman's right to reproductive choice and believe that legislation on these issues should primarily be in the hands of women.
Oh, one more thing,
vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina!
10:03 AM PT: And just when you think that the GOP has pulled itself together a little and condemned Rep. Akin for speaking the truth about their policy goals along comes another little nugget in the ever-expanding cluster of fk (with respect to Charles Pierce)