Yep, we don’t get to be too smug about Todd Akin
Gordon Campbell covers some pretty good points from Alison McCulloch about why we here in NZ shouldn’t be too “oh, you stupid Americans” over Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments:
Unlike in the US, where … thanks to the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade, abortion is legal to around 24 weeks, our Crimes Act covers abortion at all stages of pregnancy, and abortion is only legal under a narrow set of grounds, of which rape is not one.
Check out Alison’s full column here.
So there you go, proud Kiwis skiting to your international friends about our liberal ways and great track record on progressive issues. US abortion law is (in this one respect, at least) better than ours. Want to know why?
The 1977 Royal Commission on abortion, on which our current laws are based, actually made an argument frighteningly similar to the one Todd Akin is now furiously backing away from.
In its report, the Commission noted, citing some questionable sources, that among a “considerable number of rape victims” there was a “very low incidence of pregnancy”.
Even worse, it went on to argue that if rape were a ground for abortion, women would simply lie about being raped.
How do you like that, New Zealanders?
I just want to know, if you legalise abortion only for rape victims, HOW WOULD THAT PRACTICALLY WORK? The justice system is not that good or that speedy. Do you require a woman to report the crime to access an abortion? Do the police need to rule that the complaint sounds legitimate to them? Do they need to arrest someone? Do you need a conviction? Because by then the baby will be born already and something like nineteen out of twenty women won’t get a conviction anyway. And it’s stupid anyway, because it’s privileging one kind of harm over all the others – carrying your rapist’s fetus is totally horrifying, but there are other things that are horrifying too, like carrying any embryo/fetus you don’t want to be carrying. Not to mention the hypocrisy – if abortion is so bad it needs to be illegal, why is it suddenly okay when the pregnancy is the result of rape? It just makes it painfully clear that pregnancy and babies are a punishment for women having sex when the only exception available is if the sex wasn’t consensual.
HOW WOULD THAT PRACTICALLY WORK?
Well, my general understanding is, if you’ve got money and political influence you keep having abortions anyway, and they assign Genuine Victim Points to everyone else based on a complex matrix of factors developed by world-class rape cultivators.
In the States, where they have the Hyde Amendment stopping federal funding for abortion except in rape/incest cases – but other abortions are still (usually) legal – it looks like a lot of people are still having to use services like Planned Parenthood because it’s so difficult for doctors to get reimbursed under the rape/incest exception.
And the worst part? Labour consistently refused and still refuses to do anything about the sorry state of our abortion laws despite the overwhelming public support in NZ for women to be allowed control over their own bodies vis reproductive health. All for fear of loosing the religious wanker vote…
It really beggars belief, doesn’t it? Just because Bob McCoskrie is really good at getting himself on TV.