There's been a lot of talk lately, due to Rep. Akin's comments about "legitimate rape" and pregnancy, about the "rape exception" for a ban on abortion. Entropy makes, what i think is a very key point about this common "except" that people make:
What does a law look like that only allows abortion for rape, incest or the life of the mother?In a different corner of the internet, Razib pulls some data from the General Social Survey on who opposes abortion even in cases or rape:
Incest or the life of the mother can be confirmed by doctors but who confirms that the baby is the result of rape? Does the rape victim have to bring a positive rape kit into the abortion clinic? The conviction of the rapist? The word of the mother?
I'm not trying to be insensitive but I'm sure that I'm failing at that. It just seems like either it's ok to have abortions or it's not. And if it's not but we allow it in terrible situations, then it seems the victim will have also the burden of proof as well.
A few commenters expressed surprise that women are significantly more likely than men to oppose abortion in cases of rape. This doesn't actually surprise me. I think that one reason people who are otherwise against abortion make the exception is because of a feeling of guilt: "I think abortion is wrong, but do I really have the right to impose that belief on someone who's in a truly horrible circumstance?"
It doesn't surprise me that men, in general, feel less willing to impose their moral views in a situation which doubles up two things which they are highly unlikely to experience (rape) or simply can't experience (pregnancy).
I also particularly enjoyed this exchange down in the comments:
14. Clark Says:
It’s quite surprising that those who believe Bible is fables still have such a high rate. Are these people who are very religious but simply not Christian?
15. Lance Says:
It could be that they are atheist, but still believe fetuses have a right to life. I actually held that position until a few years ago, when Freakonomics opened my eyes regarding the drop in crime rate legal abortion leads to. Now I’m pro-abortion as a social good.
16. Razib Khan Says:
#15, i have a book to sell you about how enslaving low productivity humans increases overall utility! you see, the lazy don’t respond to economic incentives, but they do respond to punitive slave drivers :-)