Alabama Maybe Not So Sure About Denying Abortions To Rape Victims After All
Right now, there is an anti-abortion bill floating in the Alabama Senate that, like the one that recently passed in Ohio, does not include exceptions for rape and incest and which would outlaw all abortions except for those meant to save the mother's life.
That, apparently, is making even a few anti-choice Republicans cringe a little. So today, they will vote on whether or not to add those exceptions to the bill before it goes to the desk of Republican Gov. Kay Ivey.
Speaking to the Washington Post, Rep. Del Marsh (R), the president of the state Senate, said he hopes the exceptions will be added because although he'd love to see Roe overturned, he's not "real comfortable" with the idea of forcing a woman to have her rapist's baby.
Rep. Cam Marsh is not too comfortable with it either, noting that he would not want to force his own daughter to carry a baby from rape.
"The question is, are we going to be the state that says this is okay?" he said. "Even if this is just a legal strategy, I also have a 16-year-old daughter. Would I want her to carry a baby from a rape?
"That's where my stomachache comes in," he said. "That's where folks feel real sick about this."
Gee, it sure is too bad about that stomach ache. It's also too bad he cannot figure a way to extend that empathy to anyone who does not want to be forced to give birth. Because I just have a feeling that if his daughter were to get pregnant from consensual sex, he still might not actually be too keen on her having a baby at 16. He probably has great big hopes for her life that he would not like to see derailed by an unwanted teen pregnancy. Just like lots of people have for their lives and their children's lives.
There is good news for Rep. Marsh, though—he's probably got enough money to spirit his own daughter out of state to get an abortion if she needed one, just like rich people did in the "good old days." Abortion has always been safe and legal for those who can afford it.
The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Terri Collins (R), says she totally gets why some people might want to have exceptions for rape and incest, but says that because the whole point of her bill is to get it to the Supreme Court so that they can overturn Roe v. Wade, this is the way it has to be. It's a legal strategy!
"It has to be 100 percent a person at conception," Collins said.
Collins said she would support states making their own decisions about exceptions. And she herself agrees "that rape and incest could be an exception in state law.
"But what I'm trying to do here is get this case in front of the Supreme Court so Roe v. Wade can be overturned."
Wow, what a truly gross person. Though at least she's consistent.
As horrifying as it is to force a rape victim to have their rapist's baby, it is just as horrifying to force anyone to to have a baby they don't want to have, period. The reason why "rape and incest" exceptions exist is not because the people who believe in them are more reasonable or moderate or slightly more empathetic than their "no exceptions" counterparts, but because they really don't care so much about the fetuses as they do about forcing women who have recreational sex to "face the consequences" of their actions. They see rape victims who did not want to have sex as "innocent" and those who did want to have sex as "guilty" and, well, "if you do the crime, you do the time."
As usual, the ACLU is planning to sue if the bill passes.
"It shows how extreme and how emboldened the people who are pushing these laws feel now," [ACLU senior staff attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas] said. "Before, they knew they couldn't get away with it. Now they think they can."
The ACLU, she said, is preparing to sue if the Alabama measure passes — with or without exceptions.
"At the end of the day, an all-out abortion ban, whether it's at six weeks or before, is blatantly unconstitutional whether those exceptions exist or not," Kolbi-Molinas said.
Unfortunately for us all, that's probably not going to be the case for too long. Conservatives on the Supreme Court showed this week, in their decision on the case of Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, that they are willing to overturn court precedent if they happen to not like the way a case was decided in the first place—principle of stare decisis be damned.
Oh well, at least some Republicans are feeling mildly glum about it. Sort of.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse