South Carolina Super Psyched To Force Rape Victims To Have Their Rapist's Babies
Rape, as we should all understand by now, is a crime of power. This week, South Carolina decided to give rapists a 2-for-1 deal on that power by stripping the rape and incest exceptions from an already-terrible bill banning abortions after six weeks. The move was decided by a Senate Committee that voted in favor of removing the exceptions 4-3, down party lines. But don't think they're entirely heartless — the bill will still allow abortions if they are to "save the life of the mother," meaning they won't actually condemn rape victims to die while having their rapist's baby. That's just about as generous and kind as the forced birth contingent gets these days.
Of course, the measure does still have to go through committee, but it will most likely glide right on through there as well, and Republican Governor Henry McMaster is reportedly eager to sign it.
Most pregnancies are not even discovered before six weeks (and even if they are, you can't actually get an abortion in 93% of South Carolina counties), so this pretty much means that if you are raped and get pregnant in that state, you're having a baby. You get to spend nine whole months feeling violated, and like you have no control over your own body, again. And in case being raped and forced to have your rapist's baby did not fully drive home the complete loss of agency over your own body, the bill — being a so-called "Heartbeat Bill" -- also requires your doctor to force you to listen to the fetus's "heartbeat."
This is despite the fact that you still cannot choose to have an abortion after that, and the fact that it's not actually even a "heartbeat" at that point, but rather "fetal pole cardiac activity."
Although the very idea of "rape and incest exceptions" is gross to begin with, as they suggest that it's only OK to get an abortion if you weren't being a slut and getting pregnant wasn't "your fault," the fact that anti-choicers are boldly going after these exceptions is cause for alarm. They used to be able to muster up some amount of empathy, say, for a teenage girl who was raped by her father and does not want to be forced to have his baby, but that is now out the window. In fact, earlier this year, Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa actually went so far as to say that we should all be grateful for all the rape and incest babies women were forced to have throughout history, because without them, we would not have the population we have now.
It may seem prudent to take comfort in the fact that when other states have attempted to pass similar legislation, they have been blocked by federal judges, but it is also important to be aware of the fact that the very reason states like South Carolina are pushing these extreme bills with such regularity now is because the real goal is to get one of them to the Supreme Court so Brett Kavanaugh can have his chance to be the deciding vote in finally overturning Roe. And that will, sadly, almost definitely happen.
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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. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse