Abortion Demographics

This is from Sarah Kliff at WonkBlog in an article Who rejects abortion in the case of rape? It tells you all you need to know about abortion politics. If you are very religious in a fundamentalist way, you’re for rapists getting to keep their babies. If you are very ignorant, you are for rapists getting to keep their babies. If you are conservative, you are for rapists getting to keep their babies. Strangely, women are more likely than men to think that rapists should be allowed to keep their babies.

Abortion Demographics

Update (22 August 2012 9:40 pm)

Via CNN via Digby:

It would not be long before I would learn firsthand that in the vast majority of states—31—men who father through rape are able to assert the same custody and visitation rights to their children that other fathers enjoy. When no law prohibits a rapist from exercising these rights, a woman may feel forced to bargain away her legal rights to a criminal trial in exchange for the rapist dropping the bid to have access to her child.

On Hating Women

5 Day Old Human BlastocystThe anti-choice movement is anti-woman. They hate women.

When I wrote about Todd Akin, I got a little push back regarding my insinuation that Akin was some kind of a sexual deviant. I want to be clear: I do think that Todd Akin is a sexual deviant. I think that all the fundamentalist religious people are—at least, based upon their obsessions. Sam Harris noted this in Letter to a Christian Nation when he said something to the effect that the Bible warps people’s priorities and this is why Christians are usually more concerned about premarital sex than they are about genocide.

Todd Akin claims that he cares about women, but he shows no signs of it. I suspect in his mind, he sees a blastocyst as a living, breathing human being. He’s like the serial rapist and murderer who weeps while watching Old Yeller: he is immune to actually human suffering while falling apart over imagined suffering. It is sick. Todd Akin is sick. Those like him are sick.

My issue is not with allowing abortions for rape victims. I think that humans have a right to their own bodies and that society has no right to interfere. There are questions in my mind regarding fetuses that are developed enough to experience pain. However, I would note that very few people are against abortion because of the suffering of the fetus, and this is clearly not an issue in the first few months of a pregnancy.

I at least understand people who say they are against abortion in any case. Their claim is fantastical: a single cell should be given equal rights to life as actual breathing human beings. (I don’t know when fetuses get lungs, but it certainly isn’t at conception.) But given this belief, the rest follows. If a fertilized egg is a human being, then it doesn’t matter how it came into being. If two serial killers mated, that would be no excuse for killing their baby. The baby is innocent. (Although I’d want to keep an eye on it!) So I at least understand where these people are coming from.

Those who allow exceptions to their abortion restrictions are vile. If you deconstruct the rape exception, it comes down to, “If you enjoyed the sex, you have to host that fetus even if it kills you, but if you didn’t enjoy it then we will allow you to avoid your hosting duties.” In this kind of thinking, there is no thought of the fetus as an individual. This is just punitive. Girls that enjoy sex should suffer the consequences! I can’t see this attitude (and it is the most common) as anything other than patriarchal: women must be kept in their places.

The no exception crowd get into trouble when a pregnancy is life threatening. Here it is not just a question of the fetus’s life; it is a choice. What’s more, it could end in mother and fetus dying. Regardless, anyone who chooses the life of the fetus over the life of the mother[1] just hates women.

The whole abortion debate really is about hating women. I don’t think the no exception crowd are just morally rigid. I think they started off hating women and over time they learned that they needed to be consistent. It is only quite recently that people have made “fetus rights” arguments. In the past it was normally “father rights.” This is why I don’t accept the term “pro-life”; these people are anti-choice and anti-woman. In contrast, the pro-choice movement really is made up for people who are in favor of choice.

In the long run, the pro-choice movement will win. Our only way forward is to empower women ever more. And I pity the man who tries to stop them from empowering themselves. A necessary result of female empowerment will be reproductive rights. So we will get there, as long as we don’t move backwards.


Note that if the anti-choice movement got its way, it is clear that they would next go after birth control. This is all about un-empowering women. What’s more, they would also pass laws about health standards that women would have to maintain, because from their perspective, until a woman spits out a baby, she has rights only to the extent that they don’t affect the fetus. All you have to do is listen to what these people say today to know how they will act in the future; it is all in their ideology.

Update (22 August 2012 12:51 pm)

This via Digby, the GOP Abortion Platform Survey offers only three answers to the question, “What do you think of the GOP’s platform outlawing abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest?”

  • I’m not sure.
  • I disagree. I believe exceptions should be carved out in cases of rape and incest.
  • I support it. Like the GOP, I believe in “the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”

The GOP have defined “pro-choice Republican” out of existance.

[1] Other than the mother herself. Although I think it is wrong, people can choose to die so others may live.

Ari Melber Describes the Republican Party

Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed Ari Melber of The Nation today. I thought what he had to say about Paul Ryan and the Republican Party was very good:

Paul Ryan was for earmarks before he was against them. He was for deficits before he was against them. And he’s part of a political party that inherited a surplus from a Democratic administration in 2001 and as you said in the introduction, spent their way into this big deficit. They are the party that goes out with you for dinner, orders not just appetizers and desert but two big fancy bottles of wine and when the check comes they start yelling at you and the restaurant and the waiter.

He notes that Paul Ryan voted in favor of 91% of the Bush era deficit increases. But he’s a fiscal conservative.