Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rape ensoulment logic

The weirdest aspect of extreme Republican opposition to all abortion is that they have succumbed to logic. Once, anti-abortion politicians routinely excepted rape, incest, and the safety of the pregnant woman from their proposed bans on abortion.

We in the women's rights community pointed to this and said, in effect, "See, you don't really believe in the absolute right of the fetus to be born." We thought this was a deft reductio ad absurdum. If they would just admit that the fetus could be aborted in certain circumstances, which they already had done, they could not claim any absolute right of the fetus to birth.

As we had hoped and expected, the GOP came around to our premise.

But they reject our conclusion - the conclusion we thought their humane moral intuition would require - that at least there had to be a balancing of principles such as Roe v. Wade solomonically outlined. Maybe there's a better balance to be found, we had thought, maybe viability is only a contingent rule of thumb. But we were sure that the living, breathing woman standing in front of them would convince them that our less black-and-white view of what constitutes life would win out.

Boy, were we wrong.

Instead, ever more beholden to the most fanatical Christian fundamentalists, Republicans concluded that the woman should be indentured to the fetus. Not just if she had erred, not just if her birth control had failed, but also if a monstrous moral wrong, rape or incest, committed against her had led to her pregnancy. God came in at the instant of conception - whenever in the precise dance of fertilization the fundamentalists decide that is - with the new zygote's fully formed, weightless, immortal soul, and that tiny piece of metaphysics outweighed the woman's self.

This is how they choose a blastula over a woman controlling her own uterus.

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