Sunday, September 26, 2021

The Question Anti-Choicers Are Being Forced to Answer

Since he signed the anti-abortion bill, which provides no exception for rape or incest, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is being forced to answer a difficult question - even from Fox News host Chris Wallace.  

As Wallace suggests, the first time this question was posed to Abbott, he responded with the ridiculous notion that he would eliminate rape in the state of Texas. But notice how Abbott squirms in trying to avoid the question altogether. In the end, he admits that "the goal is to protect every child with a heartbeat." So yes, he plans to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term, even if it is the result of rape or incest. 

J.D. Vance, Republican Senate candidate in Ohio, was even more direct.

When asked during a local interview whether abortion laws should include exceptions for rape and incest, Vance, a Republican, said he thinks “two wrong don’t make a right.”

“It’s not whether a woman should be forced to bring a child to term, it’s whether a child should be allowed to live, even though the circumstances of that child’s birth are somehow inconvenient or a problem to the society,” Vance told Spectrum News in Columbus on Wednesday.

“The question to me is really about the baby,” Vance added. “We want women to have opportunities, we want women to have choices, but, above all, we want women and young boys in the womb to have a right to life.”

The comment that drew the most attention was that rape and incest are "inconvenient." That is nothing short of appalling. 

This, however, is one of the inconvenient questions anti-choices will be forced to answer as they continue to take steps to overturn Roe vs Wade. If, as they want us to believe, life begins at conception, abortion amounts to murder. When you accept that premise, Vance is right - two wrongs don't make a right. Just because a fetus is the result of rape or incest doesn't mean its life is less worthy, and a woman should be forced to carry it to term. That's their argument - but one that is likely to be rejected by most people, which is why they'll do almost anything to avoid saying so directly. 

The other difficult question that will eventually emerge is that, if abortion is murder, then why wouldn't both the mother and the provider be criminally charged? You might remember that this is the question that was posed to Trump during the 2016 Republican primary. 

Recognizing that statement was problematic - even in a Republican primary - Trump's campaign tried to walk it back.

If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed - like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.

Of course, we have no idea how a woman seeking an abortion becomes a victim. But it really is just an excuse to get around a policy that would shock most Americans. Punishing a woman for seeking an abortion is the logical response to a claim that abortion is murder.

The fact is that we are reaching an inflection point on the issue of a woman's right to chose. As the anti-choicers get closer to completely overturning Roe vs Wade, we will either take steps towards the culture Margret Atwood described in "Handmaid's Tale" where women are forced to carry every pregnancy to term or be faced with criminal charges, or we'll reaffirm the sanctity of women's bodies and their right to chose.  


  1. If Republicans codify into law that life begins at conception, then every fertilized egg that does not implant in the uterus is a stillborn child. The births and deaths will have to be recorded and the microscopic remains treated with the same dignity society demands for all other deaths. Finding and identifying those remains is problematic, but I'm sure Gov Abbott has a solution.

  2. If Republicans do codify that into law, I can only be horrified at the woman's loss of autonomy and the practical burdens that places on her as well. (Not that a man may not be involved in the decision and so be punished, too.) Yet it really is codifying a religious agenda, that of an intolerant Christian sect, into law, and I'm ever so glad that Linda Greenhouse the other focused on that, the establishment clause, and how religion does not belong in a Court decision. As someone who identifies as Jewish, that has me scared to death.


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