California State Assembly member Shannon Grove (below) knows exactly why her state is in the middle of a severe drought, and she explained her theory last week at a banquet sponsored by the California ProLife Council.
“Personal responsibility” is language that often gets thrown around in the abortion debate by those who would limit women’s reproductive choices. “Abortion is selfish. Abortion is the ultimate rejection of personal responsibility,” is a familiar refrain. If a woman consents to sex, she consents to pregnancy, and should “take responsibility,” the thinking goes, by carrying through the pregnancy.
Now, there are quite a few flaws with that thinking (consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy being the most obvious), but it seems to be a line that meets with some success. While many people believe there should be limitations on when abortion is available, a full 75% of Gallup respondents, for instance, believe that abortion should be legal for rape victims. While there are many reasons that could go into that (like not wishing to force further trauma, through forced pregnancy, on a victim), at least among the pro-life people I know, the fact that the woman didn’t have a say in the matter and isn’t “just using abortion as birth control” factors heavily into their support for rape exemptions.
As it happens, personal responsibility is more of a wedge tactic than an actual argument against abortion. Rape and incest exceptions become the compromise between the two sides.
But this isn’t the way anti-abortion groups and activists see things. For years now, for instance, the Republican Party has maintained a strict anti-abortion platform… with no exception for rape and incest victims. The slow whittling away of abortion rights may make it necessary to concede these exemptions in the short term, but what about in the long-term?
Anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, speaking of a recent anti-abortion bill that passed in the House, answered that question. And she pulled no punches in discussing the “political calculations” of these exemptions:
In Paraguay, abortion is only legal when the mother’s life is in danger. Which apparently doesn’t cover the risks inherent to being pregnant after being raped… when you’re ten years old… and weigh only 75 pounds.
The story of that anonymous child, five months pregnant after being raped by her stepfather, is causing a stir in the staunchly anti-abortion nation. It’s not hard to see why since the government has completely ruled out abortion as an option for the girl:
Missouri Satanist, Forced to Wait 72 Hours Before Abortion, Says in Lawsuit Her Religious Freedom is Being Violated
… Planned Parenthood of St. Louis is currently the only abortion provider in the state. Not only does Mary live hundreds of miles away, but there is also a dehumanizing 72 hour waiting period between her initial appointment and the procedure itself. This means that Mary must either find lodging or make the trip twice. She doesn’t have the means to do this.
As it turns out, though, Missouri also has its own version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which provides a defense for people who believe the law restricts their free exercise of religion.