Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Brownback: Abortions Worse Than Rape and Incest

By Guest Blogger
Posted on June 12, 2007, Printed on June 12, 2007
This post, written by Jill Filipovic, originally appeared on Feministe

From an anti-choice site:

Sam Brownback, the Kansas senator, is widely considered by many in the pro-life community to be one of the strongest pro-life candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president. He proved his pro-life bona fides again over the weekend when he said he opposed abortion in cases of rape or incest.

Brownback's comments came during the National Catholic Men's Conference.

An appropriate venue if ever there was one.

He said that encouraging a woman who has been a victim of sexual abuse to have an abortion doesn't address the problems she faces as a result of the rape and does nothing to prosecute the rapist.

"Rape is terrible. Rape is awful. Is it made any better by killing an innocent child? Does it solve the problem for the woman that's been raped?" Brownback said, according to an AP report.

Well, if the woman has a problem with being impregnated by her rapist, then yeah, it kind of does solve that problem.

No one argues that abortion will solve all the emotional and physical problems that come with rape and incest. But legal abortion does give pregnant women the right to exercise control over their own bodies -- something that is taken away from women and girls who survive sexual assault. Abortion is not the choice that every rape or incest survivor makes, but forcing a woman who has already had her sexual agency stripped from her to give birth against her will seems particularly cruel -- just as it would be horribly cruel to force her to undergo an abortion against her will after having her body sexually violated.*

At least Brownback is consistent in his forced-birth views, though. Rape and incest exceptions sound nice and they're certainly better than nothing (they're also a good bridge from full illegal abortion into limited legality), but they essentially turn pregnancy into a punishment for women who chose to have sex -- if you were forced to have sex then you can have access to this medical procedure, but if you had any sexual agency then you need to be punished for your slutitude.

At least Sam thinks that all women should be punished for their slutitude, agency or not. Score one for consistency.

*To be clear: I think it's horribly cruel to force any woman to have an abortion or to continue a pregnancy against her will.

Jill Filipovic is a New York-based freelance writer and a law student at NYU. More of her writing is available online at her blog, Feministe.


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