So, by now, you’ve heard of the national efforts to allow funding of abortions only in cases of forcible rape, though “forcible rape” has no legal definition. I want to stress what McEwan says in her post–“The proposed law effectively, if not by design, gives veto control over terminating pregnancies resulting from rape to the rapist.” If you are poor or otherwise without resources to pay for an abortion, this law guarantees that your rapist, by deciding how you’ll be raped, gets to control whether you can have an abortion.
And this is the “moral” side.
Of course, in Tennessee, Blackburn, DesJarlais, Duncan, and Roe have signed on to co-sponsor the bill. I’m sure they’ll be asked by reporters just where they personally draw the line between rape victims not deserving of our sympathy and those who are. But I want to get beyond that just for a second. You know I’ve been waiting for the ultrasound for abortion bill to be entered. I haven’t seen it yet, but I have little doubt that one’s coming–where women who want abortions will be forced to undergo an ultrasound and have to watch it.
And I’ve been thinking a lot about this because it involves such a level of sadism–that you would force a doctor to sexually assault a woman and force her to watch–that you can see people almost physically deny that that’s what it is, that it’s not that bad, that doctors have to do an ultrasound anyway, that they’re just trying to get a woman all the information she needs, etc. I don’t blame folks. Having to stare the truth, when it’s so ugly, right in the face is hard.
But this, deciding there’s a level at which a woman has been raped enough to entitle her to help with paying for an abortion, is a similar kind of sexualized sadism, in that it requires women to perform our degradation, to testify to our own violation in detail to whomever might require it, in order to receive medical care.
You know how we talked about how recent studies have shown that there really isn’t such a thing as the “accidental” rapist, the guy who thinks a girl is consenting when she isn’t? But how very deliberate rapists use the smoke-screen of the “accidental rapist” to serially rape women? By making all men, men who wouldn’t actually ever rape anyone, afraid of being accused of “rape by misunderstanding,” they have been able to create situations where well-meaning men provide them cover because well-meaning men don’t see that they are also being played?
I think we’ve reached a point where we may need to come to this realization about the abortion debate as well. Most people are having an intense discussion about which they feel strongly. And a small, but apparently influential, group have figured out that they can use people’s anxiety about the abortion issue to get laws passed that appeal to their sadism and allow them to get off by degrading women.