Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Abortion and the Rape Exception

Yeah, yeah, I should be writing. But procrastination is a powerful thing.

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?

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.

Another violation.
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:

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 :-)

7 comments:

entropy said...

Love Razib's comment.

Now get back to writing.

Charming Disarray said...

I wonder if the pro-abortion-because-of-Freakonomics guy is also in favor of the death penalty.

Lois in Indy said...

I would think freakonomics figures are from the same whole cloth those back-alley abortion figures came from when the numbers were made up out of thin air.

Jenny said...

Maybe I'm thick, but I have never understood why there are three standard exceptions and not just two. Rape and life of the mother I get, but why is incest always thrown in there? I mean it was either incestuous rape which means it already would be covered or it wasn't. If it wasn't rape but a consensual relationship, why are the arguments for its inclusion held in higher regard than aborting disabled babies? Gross and random, I know...

The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

Jenny,
I've often wondered the same thing. My theory is that "rape and incest" is a phrase old enough that "rape" implied "forcible rape" and "incest" implied adult-child incest, which is what people assumed when they heard about children being molested. My grounds for thinking this are that I'm old enough to remember when it was a little controversial to call date rape "rape" without a modifier, and nobody imagined consensual incest. Heck, I remember when people avoided the word "rape" - you couldn't say it on tv - it was either "assault" or "molestation" depending on the age of the victim.

Lois in Indy said...

Incest refers to sex between close family members (i.e. father-daughter, sister-brother) and such inbreeding can cause serious problems for the baby. I think it is still illegal to marry someone closer than a second cousin.

Tony said...

These pro-life politicians have got to be ready for that question. Akin made a stupid comment to give himself emotional cover for his opinion. Here is what he should have said in my opinion:

"For no other crime do we punish the child for the crime of the father. I do not support it in these cases either".

Then you'd expect: "But, but, but..."

"No 'buts'. You asked my opinion. That is what it is. I will comment no further on this subject".