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Forced Pregnancy? Right-Wing Women's Group Thinks Women Raped in the Military Shouldn't Get Abortions

Concerned Women for America claims that allowing military women access to abortion is somehow a "cover-up" of the crime committed against them.

Concerned Women for America (CWA) revealed exactly how little concern they have for actual women, much less for America, this week when they sent out a letter attacking women who defend our country for having the nerve to believe they deserve full medical care after being raped. The mind-bogglingly vicious swipe at female soldiers had a couple of doozies, including the claim that allowing raped service members to access abortion “serves as a political distraction” from national security, as if it’s in the interest of national security to subject raped service members to forced childbirth. CWA also pretended to care about female troops with blather describing being raped and forced to bear a rapist’s child as merely “difficult circumstances” requiring “compassion and support,” as if they themselves aren't putting servicewomen who've been raped in infinitely worse circumstances by limiting their access to abortion. (Perhaps Orwell should have lived to write a book about the doublespeak of anti-choicers.)

But in a letter dripping with congratulatory faux concern and naked disregard for female service members who have been raped, the most attention-grabbing quote was this:

Women deserve better than simply being given abortion as a ‘cure-all.

It’s particularly maddening to see such naked hatred and disregard for women presented as concern, in no small part because some people will claim that they actually see this condescending faux-concern as real concern. First of all, they frame woman as mindless animals. Abortions aren’t, in CWA’s eyes, “sought” or “requested” by rape victims. Women don’t, in their eyes, have agency and therefore never make decisions for themselves about what they want. No, women are “given” abortions. Women, in their eyes, have less moral agency than my cat, who certainly has the ability they don’t ascribe to women to ask for what she wants and needs.

Beyond that is the poor logic of this quote. Let’s take their reasoning and put it into different contexts, to see how hateful it is:

  • Mugging victims deserve better than to have their wounds tended as if it were some “cure-all.”
  • Heart attack victims deserve better than simply being given Pacemakers as a “cure-all.”
  • Laid-off workers deserve better than simply being given unemployment as a “cure-all.”
  • Diabetics deserve better than to simply be given insulin as a “cure-all.”
  • Elementary school children deserve better than simply being taught to read as a “cure-all.”

Even conservatives of the most simple-minded sort can hopefully see the logic failures in these constructions, but in case it’s not obvious, let me spell it out: You can give someone help in one area without it being a “cure-all.”  Sometimes help is a complex thing, and requires many steps, and only toddlers believe that every single problem should have a simple solution enacted within 10 minutes or less. Pacemakers and insulin are not a “cure-all” for illness, but they can mitigate the damage substantially. A laid-off worker isn’t “cured” because he has unemployment, but it helps hold him over until he can find a job. Children don’t know everything they need to know if they learn to read, but learning to read is an important first step. And, in the closest analogy to what CWA is demanding, it is true that sending someone injured in a mugging to a hospital doesn’t put the mugger in jail, but only a monster would think that taking care of immediate medical needs isn’t a major priority and part of a larger constellation of responses to a crime.

Anti-choicers would have you believe that aborting a rape-caused pregnancy somehow suggests that the crime of rape isn’t being taken seriously enough. In fact, CWA says this specifically, by claiming that aborting a rape-caused pregnancy somehow stops anyone from preventing the crime, punishing rapists, and is in fact somehow a “cover-up.” By their logic, if a mugger breaks a man’s arm, the hospital shouldn’t set it, because if he heals properly, that’s “covering up” the severity of the mugging. Justice is, in this mindset, only served if the victim’s pain is maximized.

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