Jesurgislac’s Journal

September 12, 2008

Pro-lifers support rapists

Hilzoy on Obsidian Wings:

One Vice Presidential nominee turned her back on past and future rape victims. Another was looking out for them. Read the rest

It’s one of the examples of how feminism has worked its way into general acceptance since the revolutionary movement began: it’s now accepted in most modern jurisdictions that rape is a crime committed by the rapist, for which the rapist is prosecuted by the state: it is not a crime that the rape victim claims is done to her for which she personally must seek redress. (I use gendered language in the last part of that sentence because the legal acceptance that men too are raped is another by-product of feminism.)

Old-fashioned legal language used the term “prosecutrix” to describe the rape victim if charges were brought against the rapist in court, blandly presenting the idea that the rapist’s victim was pressing the charges, rather than being the key witness. It is a source of the blame-the-victim attitude – “being raped” was something that happened to the victim, not something that someone else did.

For example, explicitly for “pro-life” reasons, the Catholic Church recently withdrew all support for Amnesty International, because AI had decided that they would support the right of a raped woman to have an abortion and to get medical treatment for problems caused by an illegal abortion – a decision caused by AI’s work with women gang-raped by soldiers in the Congo. At the other end of the scale, Catholic hospitals routinely deny emergency contraception to rape victims – a procedure which in a civilised country leads to more abortions than would otherwise occur.

Although Hilzoy doesn’t mention it, this belief usually runs in parallel with the belief that a woman made pregnant by rape ought to be forced through pregnancy and childbirth – no matter the age of the victim, her being raped has removed her status as “innocent”: the fetus she may carry has that status, but a raped child does not. (The recent example of an 11-year-old girl in Romania, who had been raped – allegedly by her uncle, who fled when his niece’s pregnancy was discovered – but who was denied an abortion by the pro-lifer authorities in her country, “to protect the innocent child”. The girl, you see, was no longer an innocent child – she had been raped.)

Sarah Palin famously said, in response to a question about whether she supported abortion, not even if her own daughter was raped.

(That she reneged on that decision, and has since declared herself to be pro-choice, makes her a better human being, but her principles at the time she was Mayor of Wasilla were apparently, explicitly, for forced pregnancy.)

It doesn’t surprise me that, just as Palin regards a raped woman as an incubator for the rapist’s seed, Palin also regards evidence for prosecuting the rapist for his crime as a matter for the rape victim to pay for.


  1. “has since declared herself to be pro-choice”

    …buh? When? No.

    Comment by Rebecca — September 13, 2008 @ 8:26 pm | Reply

  2. Tuesday 2nd September 2008. Bristol Palin is under 18, so technically Alaskan law allows her parents to force her to have the baby against her will. Sarah Palin asserted from the first public announcement that she hadn’t done that – that it was Bristol’s decision to have the baby. So within her own family, at least, Sarah Palin is pro-choice – and has publicly said so.

    I think her pro-life supporters need to be reminded of that on a regular basis.

    Comment by jesurgislac — September 14, 2008 @ 1:07 pm | Reply

  3. I’d been led to understand that the “choice” they praised was between keeping the baby and adoption. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are making her carry to term.

    Comment by Rebecca — September 15, 2008 @ 2:39 am | Reply

  4. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they are making her carry to term.”

    I think it better to assume that Sarah Palin is, with regard to her own daughter, a decent, humane, pro-choice mom. That’s exactly what she said she was, not two weeks ago, after all.

    And I think it important to point this out, loud and clear, to any of her pro-life supporters who would prefer to believe that Sarah Palin is the kind of mom who would force her daughter unwilling through pregnancy and childbirth.

    Comment by jesurgislac — September 15, 2008 @ 3:45 pm | Reply

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