I just want to say hello to everyone who has found, and who will find, my post on fetal personhood. So far, that post has received hits from over ten thousand readers from 67 countries, spanning 6 continents, including, by way of example, Sweden, India, the United Republic of Tanzania, Iceland, Bangladesh, Austria, and Zambia. Not surprisingly, most of these views – in excess of 9500 of them at this point – are from U.S. readers.
Over 100 people have also commented on that post, most of them with words of encouragement for me and for other readers. My heart has been variously warmed and broken. More than one woman who was the victim of a rape has commented to say “thank you” to me for speaking on their behalf. I’ve been admonished for using profanity, and advised that my reasoning lacks a logical foundation.
I did stop posting opposition comments several days ago, although I broke my rule for the guy who represents the most extreme anti-abortion view, and who is perfectly comfortable with the idea of prosecuting rape victims for the termination of a pregnancy forcibly imposed upon a woman by a rapist. I suppose I should give him credit for being honest about his view that a sentence of life in prison for both doctor and woman is a perfectly reasonable societal response to a private medical procedure that terminates a pregnancy. He did not specify what sentence a man who facilitates the woman in getting the abortion would receive, but I think it is fair to say that he is probably fine with that individual also receiving a life sentence for conspiracy to commit murder. The rapist, on the other hand, would presumably receive a sentence that is far less severe.
To summarize the content of the remainder of the comments that I didn’t approve is pretty easy. They nearly universally point out that it is their belief that life begins at conception. I have been told, twice, that they “knew” a woman who was raped and who didn’t have an abortion and that she was happy with that decision. I don’t quibble with this – she was lucky enough to have a choice and I would never take it upon myself to tell a woman who chooses not to have an abortion that her decision was wrong. I’ve been told that this their opposition to abortion has nothing to do with “punishing” a woman for being sexually active.
I acknowledge that I used that phrase intentionally, and that it was meant to be a bit inflammatory. However, I have heard far too many anti-abortion politicians and activists say things like “if she didn’t want to have a baby, she should’ve kept her legs closed” to take very seriously the position that opposition to abortion has nothing to do with female chastity and/or sexuality. Perhaps on an individual basis, those commenters are telling the truth. But when the same people who seek to outlaw all abortions also seeks to impose “abstinence only” education on the educational system, in spite of the fact that it is proven to be ineffective at reducing the rate of teen pregnancies, and also seek to inhibit the ability of insurance companies to voluntarily cover contraception for women – poor, middle class, affluent and otherwise – because their bosses are morally opposed to it, I simply cannot take that position seriously.
After I wrote the post, we had yet another Republican Congressional hopeful, from the State of Washington, make yet another offensive statement about rape victims. It seems that there is an unlimited number of such candidates who are prepared to marginalize and minimize the impact of the crime of rape on rape victims by referring to it as “the rape thing” and contending, shockingly, that “crime has consequences.” While I agree that crime should have consequences, it is my position that those consequences should be visited upon the criminal not the victim. Preferably in the form of long-term incarceration. I would note that never, in my career, or in my life, have I heard someone refer to a serious and violent physical assault as “that assault thing” or an armed robbery as “that stealing thing” in the context of dismissing the impact upon the person who has been assaulted or robbed.
In any event, to everyone else who finds their way here, welcome.