In an excellent post Cara at The Curvature highlights an article which provides arguments by supporters and opponents of South Dakota Measure 11 and this section of that article is what caught my eye.
Before a doctor could perform an abortion in these instances, the victim would be told that a report was required, and the doctor would be required to report the crime “by telephone or otherwise” to the state’s attorney or law enforcement. [...]
Pro: Shifting the burden of reporting from victim to doctor eases some of the trauma, supporters say. The report can help catch the perpetrator, they add. “It’s an unfortunate situation, but if it is truly a case of rape or incest, we’re doing a disservice to society if we don’t do that,” Ridder said.
Notice that, "if it is truly a case of rape or incest," which shows the basic assumption that false rape reports are common. It also reinforces the biases against rape victims who don't report. We all must be stupid rather than making the best choice we can under the circumstances.
Also notice that if the woman backs out of having an abortion -- either out of fear of how she'll be treated by law enforcement or fear of what her rapist or others will do to her if the doctor reports -- then her rape won't be reported by that doctor. If the goal is to catch rapists and rape victims decision to not report should be overruled, this conditional mandated reporting will leave many rapists on the loose with the blessing of those who vote for Measure 11.
Those who wrote this measure are allegedly intent on catching rapists, but only if a girl or woman who was raped has an abortion. I guess if she doesn't have an abortion it's better that the biological father have access to the child than be held legally accountable for rape.
That means this reporting requirement is not designed to help catch rapists, it is designed to stop most rape victims from getting abortions. The proponents of this measure have to know that most rapes aren't reported.
The bottom line is that this rape exception exists in name only which I believe was the intention of those who wrote this ban.
I wrote about the reality of rape exceptions last year and my belief that the only way to truly allow rape victims, and those whose lives are at risk due to pregnancy, to have abortions is to have no restrictions on abortion rights. Just as rape victims will be accused of lying in order to get an abortion, girls and women whose lives are at risk will only be able to prove that pregnancy will kill them once they are dead.
The carefully worded rape exception in Measure 11 allows the anti-abortion activists to lie when they claim that the abortion ban doesn't apply to rape victims.
Since this is a pro-life measure, it speaks volumes about whose lives are expendable since these pro-lifers failed to address the possibility that a rape report will result in the murder of the pregnant girl or woman who has been raped.
There are no requirements that rape victims who seek abortions be told about services for abused girls and women. There is no provision which automatically severs the parental rights of rapists even though this might help some girls and women decide not to have an abortion.
This requirement to report without a requirement to inform pregnant girls and women about safety resources puts an especially tight bind around a girl or woman who believes she may be murdered if she carries to term.
If she doesn't get an abortion, she might be murdered. If she does get an abortion, she might be murdered. The risks of murder are real since one of the top causes of death during pregnancy is murder.
But this South Dakota measure isn't about rape victims, it is about elevating the egg or the fetus into being more than fully human. Many of the so-called pro-life activists want to give the egg or fetus more rights than girls and women in the name of making them equal which in reality reduces girls and women to being little more than their uterus.
As a pro-life commenter named Mike wrote to me in response to my post Catholic Men's Group Cheers At Idea Of Forcing Rape Victims To Give Birth:
As usual, all of you folks are completely missing the point. The topic is about abortion, not rape. The topic is not about how Sen. Brownback is not setting up programs to prevent rape, or about choice, or about sensitivity courses. The topic stems from human life and what it's worth is, no matter how it comes about. Why is a value put onto a child because of how he or she was conceived?
Why is there such an uproar with "how", and why does the "who" always get passed aside.
The reason this conference had excitment is because there stood real men, men who are willing to stand up for LIFE. The topic has NOTHING to do with rape, it has to do with conception. If a married woman has a baby with her husband, and a rape victim conceives as a result of a sexual crime, how does the value of that life some how become different? All you bloggers need to look a little deeper and not concern yourself so much about feeling, but should start to look more on value and principle. Try pulling the "choice" card to a surviving child (or "result" as some would say) of a rape. See what they think about the choice their mother made.
All of you people are survivors in this day and age.
And if you are looking for an answer to solve the epidemic of violent sexual crimes, look deeper and find the source. If you dig deep enough you will find that every crime starts with pornography. Every crimes starts with a degradation of the most beautiful creature ever created, woman! Porn is the root of all these crimes, and it is the root of all abortions. Behind virtually every abortion is a lustful man. If men could stand up and fight for woman instead of cowering and giving in to temptation, the world would be a much stronger place. There comment about the uterus, and if men had one, they can then have a say. The concern should should be "once men start to respect the beauty of the uterus, then men can have a say".
The one thing that makes a woman a woman is her uterus, her ability to bear children, and the world has made the uterus a very hostile place, a place that for every child should be the safest place on earth. It has now become one of the deadliest.
Mike doesn't understand why there is such an uproar about how girls and women get pregnant? That's scary. He has values all right and one of them is to throw out false accusations (All of you people are survivors ...)
What he values isn't human life, but human life before birth. He proves this by defending his failure to fight rape or other forms of violence against women.
Women are described as creatures which is dehumanizing even if he says he sees women as "beautiful creatures." What he respects is the uterus, not women as fully human beings whether or not they have a uterus.
The only emotion he shows toward rape victims is disdain. When he describes men who get girls and women pregnant, he makes no distinction between rapists and non-rapists.
That he summarizes women in a way that makes them nothing more than the bearer of children shows why he has no emotion when it comes to pregnancy through rape. Rape often gives Mike what he values above all else.
Update (11/7): South Dakota's proposed draconian abortion ban Measure 11 was defeated.
Also Colorado's Amendment 48 which proposed to give fertilized eggs the same legal rights as women failed. In reality this amendment would have given fertilized eggs more rights than women.