There is a big kerfuffle about some asinine politician whose naive comments on sexual assault are being spun to prove there is a “war on women”.
I made quite a few clinical comments on several web pages,(wonder how many of them were printed) but as a woman doc who has done quite a few “rape” exams, here are the details where he gets it wrong:
The technical part that the guy is probably right in his claim that pregnancy from violent rape by a stranger is rare in the US: but the reason is twofold: one, that in at least one third of violent sexual attacks the guy has sexual dysfuntion, so she probably won’t get pregnant. Doctors and nurses who examine such women know that often they won’t find semen at the time of the exam, and that failure to find sperm doesn’t mean the attack didn’t take place. The worst case that I treated (and had to testify in court) had evidence of bruising and witnesses to her being kidnapped, had no sperm at the time of the examination.
But the dirty little secret is that in the US, if you are seen in emergency rooms for sexual assault, you get treated for STD’s and unless you are on contraceptives, you get the morning after pill.
So theoretically, in the US, few assaults by strangers result in pregnancy or abortion nowadays if the woman reports her assault immediately.
However the claim that women don’t become pregnant from such violent attacks is not true: when rape is used to punish women (e.g. Bosnia, Bangladesh, Rwanda, (where rape was a common war crime) many women became pregnant, and when I worked in a war zone in Africa in the 1970′s, we took the pill because we knew that at least six nuns became pregnant after assaults in the violence following independence in the Congo.
In other words, the stupid politician is wrong when he says “real” rape doesn’t result in pregnancy.
However, in the US, most abortions for “rape” are not violent assault by a stranger: most cases are underaged teenagers (i.e. statuatory rape) or in the wide category often dismissed as “date rape”.
Often women, especially teenagers, are too shy to report the attack, even though threats of violence made them “consent” to the behavior, because the perpetrator and often those around them insist that the victim somehow “asked” for the attack. Few of them are seen in the emergency room to get the vital check for STD’s or pregnancy prevention.
How common is “Date rape”?
Eleven to seventeen percent of teens in one CDC survey admitted to have experienced “dating violence” and between 3 and 8 percent of heterosexual teenagers admit to being physically forced to have sexual intercourse, and that rate is higher in some urban areas.
Then there is the problem of alcohol and drugs. “Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker” goes the cynical quip, but this assumes the woman was still capable of saying “no” and the man stopped when she said no.
But what of girls who “passed out” and woke up during an assault by an unknown perpetrator, or the women given a date rape drug?
What about those who were ignored when they said “no” to someone they knew? What about those who were reluctant to physically stop an assault, or whose self defence skills were too weak to stop the assault?
Often these cases are never reported to the police, or if they do come to the ER it is a week or two later.Â These “rapes” are often emotionally horrifying to the woman too.
In other words, one needs to ask the stupid politician what would he do if his teenaged daughter came home pregnant after her boyfriend plied her with drinks and then “took advantage of her” even though she tried to fight him off.
Even the most pro life parent would have to struggle with this dilemma. That is why many pious Christians and Jews and Muslims would allow abortion for these cases: to save the mother from nine months of anguish carrying the child of someone she hates.
But facing an abortion is not an “easy” answer either.
Judge Napolitano points out the real controversy is being ignored by the press: you are talking about a baby. Catholics would point out that, even if the pregnancy is due to a crime, that the baby is not responsible for that crime, and that if one believes in God, you will know that in the long run, there is a pattern in life that good will come out of evil.
Most women who have had an abortion, even when the abortion is the result of a horrific circumstance or would destroy their live, know that abortion is something to be regretted and mourned, not celebrated.
One pro life feminist pointed out that abortion, even “elective” abortions for mundane reasons, was not like having a tooth pulled (i.e. a simple choice), but more like an animal who chews off his foot to get free of a trap. The “over the top” emotions by feminists against anyone suggesting abortion is wrong is the sign of women’s anguish, and anger against the deity and those who abandoned them to this simple “choice” by not helping them chose otherwise.
That is why I think there is something very morally sick about insisting we “celebrate” this “right”, or hide this reality by using “newspeak“…i.e. that if you oppose abortion, even late term abortion of a viable baby, you are part of the “war against women”…
And in the long run, making abortion the centerpiece of the Democratic convention bodes ill for the party.
It is bad enough that my party is choosing to ignore the severe economic crises in the US, but why are they using abortion as their theme (which is what the feminists mean when they tout a “war against women), when a better theme would be to push the idea that Obamacare will make it possible for women to carry their pregnancy to term, and pay for medical care when their children are sick?