West Virginia Republican Looks For The Bright Side Of Rape
Brian Kurcaba, a Republican legislator in the state of West Virginia, recently made quite the contribution to the “Museum Of Dumb Shit Republicans Say About Rape.” Like many others before him, Kurcaba made an attempt to look on the bright side of rape, which is never a good idea unless you are purposely trying to make people hate you.
According to Huffington Post, Charleston Gazette reporter David Gutman was on the scene when Delegate Brian Kurcaba (R) said, “Obviously rape is awful,” but “What is beautiful is the child is that could come from this.”
Kurcaba made the remarks during a House of Delegates discussion of a law outlawing all abortions in the state after 20 weeks’ gestation. At 20 weeks, anti-choice activists and lawmakers allege, a fetus can feel pain and is therefore too viable to abort.
West Virginia Republicans have attempted to pass this bill before, only to have it vetoed by the state’s Democratic Governor, Earl Ray Tomblin. They’re now trying it again, this time with no exceptions for rape and incest victims. Which is an odd choice, given that one would just imagine that that would make the Governor even more likely to veto it.
Then again, we are not exactly dealing with the swiftest of people here. Were we talking about people who learned from mistakes, I doubt we’d hear a peep about rape from the GOP ever again.
Of course, no one is suggesting that children who are the product of rape are not beautiful, or that they are somehow less than, and I would never criticize a woman’s choice to have a child conceived by rape. But it must be her choice.
I actually don’t personally like the idea of rape exemptions, and I’ll tell you why. It furthers the idea that having a baby is a punishment women are supposed to accept for having had sex. Rape victims get exceptions, partly based on the presumption that getting pregnant in the first place was not their fault.
We also focus a lot on abortions for rape victims because it’s easier to empathize with a woman who has been traumatized and doesn’t wish to be retraumatized by having her rapist’s baby than, say, a woman who (perhaps selfishly?) is simply not ready to have a child or doesn’t want one.
There is, of course, an instinct to try to incite an empathetic response with abortion opponents, to try to make them understand the reasons why a woman would choose abortion. To try to reach their humanity. However, pushing that line can diminish the very important point that we absolutely must have a right to abortion on demand and without apology. For every woman, regardless of her reasons for wanting one.
Do I think a rape victim should be forced to have her rapist’s child? Certainly not. But I don’t think any other woman should be forced to have one either. For whatever reason. When we start qualifying who does and does not deserve abortions, we wade into dangerous territory.