Friday, March 25, 2011

Life Report: Is pregnancy analogous to rape?

I'll add the podcast later, but just summarize now my response to Life Report's latest topic:

“Are Fetuses Like Little Rapists?“
Pro-abortion-choice philosopher Eileen McDanagh argues that the unborn are like rapists, because they implant themselves into uteruses without the mother’s consent, and she should be allowed to repel them they same way women should repel a rapist.

So evidently Ted (our OC) didn't come up with this one on his own.

First, we have to look at the differences between pregnancy and rape:

1. In pregnancy, the fetus does nothing of its own volition, or even under its own power, to end up in the mother's body. It is her act of volition that produces the situation. There are no evil zygotes out wandering the streets, ready to leap into the wombs of unsuspecting woman. So to make Ms. McDanagh's parallel work, we'd have to redefine rape to mean something that could accidentally happen to the male while he's unconscious and unable to move. Say, he fell and hit his head in the shower, also injuring his spinal cord in such a way as to cause an erection.

2. In pregnancy, it is the woman's act of volition that causes the embryo to be in her uterus. She's not overtly putting it there, but she's doing something else that she knows might cause the embryo to end up there. She's weighed her options and considers the benefit she'd get from whatever she's doing to be worth taking a chance on ending up with the embryo inside her. So to make rape parallel, the woman would have to be doing something in the presence of the unconscious, incapacitated male that she knows may cause her to fall and land on his penis in such a way that it will enter her vagina. So it can't even be a situation in which a naked woman is trying to render aid to the unconscious naked male. She would have to be cavorting about naked for her own purposes.

3. In pregnancy, the embryo is the woman's own child. So the unconscious, incapacitated male would have to be the woman's son.

4. During pregnancy, the woman is free to go about her business. During a rape, she's pinned by the rapist and under his control. So to make rape parallel to pregnancy (since you can't make pregnancy parallel to rape), the male would have to be so small that the woman could still go about her business. He'd have to be either a very small child or a very small person with dwarfism.

So in order to draw a parallel between pregnancy and rape, the woman would have be be cavorting naked around her naked small son in such a way as to fall and land on his erect penis. Then she blames him and demands that he be put to death.

You can see the ridiculousness of trying to draw a parallel between pregnancy and rape.

We can also add some other factors in:

1. We don't usually execute rapists. And even when we do, it's only after due process, a trial, and years of appeals. If we gave the fetus due process, he'd be in about the 4th grade until we got around to executing him for the crime of having been in his mother's womb .

2. We hold children (and even seriously compromised adults) to a different legal standard than adults. We would never execute -- or indeed even file charges against -- a child so young, or an adult so handicapped, that he was unable to move about independently, deliberately grasp and manipulate objects, and use language.

Ms. M's entire argument falls crashing to the ground. It's as if Stephen Hawking's mother was dancing naked around him while he was asleep, fell onto his erect penis, and demanded that he be taken out and shot for raping her.

I'm looking forward to when Life Report has their piece up on YouTube so I can see how they responded.

1 comment:

Josh Brahm said...

Some very good points, Christina! We'll definitely discuss them tonight, hopefully during the main show, but in the case that we run out of time, I'll address them during the web exclusive we tape right after. Preview: some of your points are fair ones, but a few of them don't quite reflect what McDanagh's real argument is. I'll explain that fully tonight. Thanks so much for blogging about our show!