Conservative Parsing of Rape and Misidentified Moral Agency

There’s an article at Politico about the knots conservatives are tying themselves into over abortion. Nothing particularly new, but this bit with ‘reformicon’ Ramesh Ponnuru is very telling (boldface mine):

“The lengthy history of this debate makes pro-lifers nervous about loopholes,” said Ramesh Ponnuru, a senior editor at the National Review and author of “The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life.” “They’re concerned that you could just have a situation where the abortionist just says, oh, that’s a rape and that’s a rape and that’s a rape.”

I don’t know if Ponnuru is speaking for himself or portraying a conservative view, but either way, his response is remarkable. Why? Well, can you figure out who’s missing in his explanation?

The woman.*

It’s not like ‘abortionists’–that is, ob/gyns who perform legal and safe abortions–are bamboozling women into having abortions. Considering that sixty percent of women who have an abortion are already mothers, women who have abortions know what they’re doing. The women are the moral agents here. They choose to have the abortion (and run the gauntlet of asshole anti-legal and safe abortion protestors).

You don’t have to be the kind of idiot who believes that Planned Parenthood has an ‘abortionplex’ to harbor the erroneous belief that ‘abortionists’ are driving this. After all, if the ‘evil’ stems from a handful of doctors, that’s one thing. But if the ‘evil’ is laid at the feet of every woman who has an abortion–especially when so many are Blessed Mothers, not Slutty Sluts Slutting Around (who ranks quietly include a fair number of conservatives)–that’s a challenge to their beliefs: they aren’t the Moral Majority (to use a phrase), but a minor minority. Maybe even an immoral one.

Conservatives won’t be able to untie the knots they twist themselves into until they recognize that, when it comes to abortion, women are active moral agents.

*Interestingly, the author of story writes in the next sentence, “Others don’t worry so much about women manipulating loopholes” (emphasis mine). Note the switch of agency.

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3 Responses to Conservative Parsing of Rape and Misidentified Moral Agency

  1. Rugosa says:

    Isn’t the whole point of the Abrahamic religions that women are _not_ moral agents? All moral decisions belong to men – they decide if a child is “legitimate” or if a rape is “real rape.”

  2. becca says:

    Of course they see the women as the moral agent. And *of course* they see them all as slutty slut sluts slutting around. (even, nah, *especially* the ones who are Blessed Mothers). Their hostility to women is the REASON they oppose abortion, though few have examined it as such. They want to *remove* choice from women. More women vote than doctors. So if you have to blame either women or doctors, you blame doctors. But the only reason they want to blame either is to control women.

    Nobody is running an entire political party based on the ideas of mandatory organ donation, opposition to the death penalty, anti-war, pro-STEM cells, large amounts of biomedical research funding, veganism and anti-hospice. Nobody gives a flying fig about “life”. Nobody is even running on free daycare, support for breastfeeding mothers, and socialized diapers, so nobody gives a flying fig about “babies”. People who think they care about life and babies are simply bamboozled by the anti-woman right wing nutjobs.

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