Thursday, August 23, 2012

Todd Akin, Jon Stewart, and Kinds of Rape

On the way home from work I heard a segment that seemed aimed at getting Todd Akin and Mitt Romney mentioned in the same bunch of sentences (look, they have me doing it!) as possible. They didn't say what Todd Akin said. But apparently Akin gave the press the thing it's been salivating over--an excuse to stop the discussion of policy on the merits of policy and get back to 'Republicans want to molest your dog, cook your cat, and leave the toilet seat up.' So I'll weigh in here...

I know of two family members who have been raped. Not "I-got-drunk-and-that-other-drunk-I-was-with-should've-realized-that-I-was-vulnerable." An assault on the mind and body that makes you want to put some very serious hurt on a guy and make him wish he hadn't been born. I take the subject very seriously, and I don't assume that women are "asking for it." Running through Central Park at night wearing a tube top and mini skirt is a very bad idea; it still doesn't mean she deserved it or desired it. (Leaving your keys in your car--after 1960 anyway--is a bad idea; doesn't justify stealing.)

Dennis Prager has one of the more reasoned responses to Todd Akin's statement here.

It's more reasoned than the kneejerk reaction to denounce Akin and distance oneself from Akin as much as possible. But I've heard women say that they think that the stress and trauma associated with brutal assaults (as opposed to alcoholic blackouts or the nefarious cases where women are intentionally drugged) makes it more difficult to conceive, for the same reason that an early fetus, having already started, may be lost due to stress. I don't know if that's true, but it doesn't sounds implausible. All the same, I've never heard any good statistics offered on just what the effects on conception are the stress associated with the various kinds of rape.

Prager rightly notes that Akin's sin sounds like one of ignorance. That certainly isn't unique to Congressmen, and Democrats aren't experts at sounding enlightened. However, I'm not sure anyone knows, Prager or Akin or the various progressive pundits, what the numbers really are. The Soviet soldiers were more notorious for rape than almost any other army (one possible exception: the Japanese army in China). Does anyone know what the conception rate was? There were a lot of babies, but then the Russian soldiers committed a lot of atrocities. Not that I think Akin knows what he's talking about. I'm not sure anyone does.

Prager also trots out the "Feminist Perspectives on Rape" to remind people that there is more nuance to the issue, much as Jon Stewart's "hilarious" rape-rape lampoon tried to imply otherwise. In fact, the "Perspectives" article seems to imply that consensuality can be hazy under some conditions. Is it worse when some person takes something valuable when I've left it unguarded versus braking down my door, bashing my head in with the butt of a gun and taking my valuables at gunpoint? They are both theft. What? Are you saying there's theft, and then there's theft-theft? A thief is a thief. I'm not going to defend Roman Polaski, but if the same events had occurred with a woman of consensual age, would he still be a rapist? (As a grown woman she had claimed that Polanski did not try to hurt her in any way; not all women are so gracious toward their assailants) If not, is he as bad as some of the predators that get a thrill off the pain they cause? Would people have felt the same way if the girl had been 17? 16? Is 13 worse than 17, even if the legal remedies are the same? Jon Stewart can sneer about a spectrum; I suppose he thinks all crimes are equal. (There's crime, and then there's crime-crime.) Somehow, I doubt that is the case. The "Perspectives" itself describes a moral landscape that covers cases fundamentally different from that of the Trisha Meili case. That article doesn't even get into the shades of meaning that venture from the coercive to matters where consent is questionable. If the man and woman are both too innebriated to know what they're doing, who's fault is it? A feminist might reply that the man should never have allowed himself to get that drunk.

Akin plainly says that sexual assault can and does result in pregnancy. And he states that the fetus is an innocent child who should not pay for the crime. This latter part is contested by progressives. But rather than have this debate, they want to speculate on what Akin meant by 'legitimate rape.' It apparently doesn't mean that rape doesn't result in pregnancy. At worst, Akin's statements taken together seem to imply that conception likely means that the sex was consensual. Pundits largely aren't contesting Akin on the science; they are imputing evil intentions to a conservative. At best, Akins' statments imply that abortion is rarely about rape, and that where abortions are made available for that reason, they may well be procured for cases that were more a matter of drinking with some guy without intending that it would end with sex. If Crystal Mangum had become pregnant after the Duke Lacrosse incident, she would have been eligible for the get-out-of-jail-free-card, even though the law later determined that it was not a legitimate case of rape.

However, Jon Stewart can gloat about how little effect the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act actually had given the actual number of understandable terminations of in utero children, not just for rape and incest but for the health of the mother-- which pro-lifers who have been in the abortion business will tell you includes any time a girl/woman is experience stress or fear about having a baby. So, how many of the 191 women Stewart's show refers to fall into something other than "stress is threatening her mental health" category? That's not said. But let's assume for the moment that restrictions for this federal funding were limited to cases where the life of the mother was truly (legitimately) threatened. You do the math and find that the taxpayers were billed $1400 for each case.

Whatever one makes of the "evil intentions" of Todd Akin trying to keep all women barefoot and pregnant and "punish them with babies," the vast majority of abortions in the U.S. occur for the sake of convenience. The more young teenage girls get pregnant and are guided to abortions by altruistic abortion counselors, the more women grow up that are more than willing to buy into the progressive gospel that fetuses aren't babies and so abortion-on-demand is a wonderful expression of women's freedom. The alternative is too unthinkable.

Contra Stewart, there not only is a spectrum acknowledge by feminists, it is the foundation of the slippery slope we slid down at the very beginning. Rape and incest were merely talking points for killing infants in utero, because if you can destroy an infant over an extreme case of unwantedness, why deny more mild cases? It's not wrong until the infant can breathe air. That's the only explanation for why women get 5-18 years for killing their newborns immediately after birth, while Senator Obama refused to outlaw abortions into even the 9th month for fear that it would set a bad precedent. In the 70s progressives marched through the door with a banner that read "safe, legal, and rare" and have been celebrating having accomplished "legal" for the last 40 years. Rare was (and is) a blatant lie, and safe was a terrible joke. The press can't stop talking about the money interests of Big Oil but they won't "follow the money" in the abortion industry--it's too much of a darling project of a certain ideology. I think Todd Akin and Jon Stewart have both said stupid things. Unfortunately, people are still listening to Jon Stewart. Rape and abortion are just too darn funny.

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