A friend of mine recently asked on Facebook: “Should the government help pay for an abortion for a rape victim?” My simple answer is a flat “no”. The more nuanced answer is a question: “What makes rape different from theft, assault, murder, or rape that doesn’t produce a child?”
Let’s clarify by sharing a personal story. Several years ago, I had a 1995 Honda Civic. I loved that car. It was inexpensive, both to buy and to drive. It got 33mpg average, hitting peaks over 40mpg on really long trips. It looked a sight, and after a rear-ending, I got enough money to get the bumper fixed as well as some extra to get it repainted. I should have left it looking like a shedding snake because it was stolen on December 24th that year. It was stripped and dumped about 15 miles north of where I lived. Well, that’s a shitty Christmas, right? It gets worse. Not only did I lose the car, all the time and money I put into it, as well as several personal items like a pool cue that I felt made me unstoppable, I had to pay for it. All of it. My insurance at the time was PLPD, or basic coverage. Even if I’d met my deductible, the company still would have given me no coverage for theft. Mistake, I know. I was out a car. I was also out several hundred dollars on top of the car.
Because, at least in the U.S., victims of crime are responsible for the financial aspects of those crimes, and if they do not have insurance, the bill goes entirely on them. But this is apples to oranges territory here. At least victims of violent crime don’t have to pay for their own medical expenses, right? After all, if you get hurt at work, worker’s comp will cover you, usually entirely, including your recovery! Well, unfortunately for those stabbed or shot, their medical bills are, once again, entirely on them unless the perpetrator is found, and even then, the perpetrator usually isn’t in a position to pay for the medical care of the person they just wounded. This applies to those who are mortally wounded, as well. Except, now, if they have any immediate family, that family member inherits the debt. You could be sitting in your home one day, minding your own business, all the while you’re suddenly racking up a $300,000+ hospital bill and a funeral to match. All for that rotten sibling you disowned 15 years ago for because they boinked your partner.
Abortion due to rape should absolutely be legal. But it also should be identical to the way we treat victims of other crimes throughout the nation. In fact, it’s the only non-investigatory aspect of a rape that is taxpayer-funded. Vaginal tearing, cuts, bruises, brutal beating? All on the victim or her insurance, just like any other violent crime. If she chooses to keep the baby due to religious reasons, she can still seek reimbursement from either the state or the perpetrator if he’s found, but unless she was already on medicaid/medicare, she doesn’t get to seek reimbursement for the injuries she suffered from the state, only from the perpetrator.
This is my point, though. Is abortion a special thing that deserves extra attention and scrutiny, or is it a typical elective medical procedure? This is a mutually-exclusive set, not a false dilemma. This goes for all rape. If it’s simply another medical procedure, the removal of a growth from a woman’s uterus, then why is it given government subsidies when the removal of, say, a malignant tumor is not? If it’s different and special, why can it not be scrutinized more deeply by lawmakers as a case all on its own, with moral complications tied in? What makes an abortion special in this sense, such that it is considered separate from other life-ending or altering problems people face?
I know, I hear the cries. “It’s better for the population!” So are vaccines, but it’s still legal to not get them. “It can ruin the mother’s life!” So can cancer, even if it goes into remission. Hell, what about curable or treatable mental illnesses for that matter? “It’s not your body!” Absolutely; but it is my money. “You can’t understand! You’re a MAN!” You’re somewhat right. I will never have the experience of an abortion. I will also never have the experience of ovarian cancer or endometriosis. I can, however, intellectually understand the intense pain and unstoppable grief of someone suffering from one of these conditions. I still don’t think that they should be covered by taxpayer money, nor do I think that treatment for testicular or prostate cancer should be unless we develop a single-payer or socialistic healthcare system. Of course, at that point, you have politicians deciding on everything in your medical life, including things like which cancer treatment you get money for. I’ll give you a hint: the evil corporate healthcare insurance providers aren’t as stringent on prior authorization and step-therapy as the government would be.
One last thing I need to address is the gender disparity in this. Female victims of rape absolutely have the right to abort. This I will not dispute the validity of. But what about male victims of rape? Worse, what about underaged male victims of rape? Well, sometimes they get treated like they had their car stolen.
For those who don’t want to read the full article, let me swap the genders and tell me if this seems fair. A 14 year old girl has sex with a 20 year old man. Already illegal in almost all 50 states. This girl, when she turns 20, is served with custody and child support papers, requiring her, without a trial, to surrender her son to the now-26-year-old father, along with 10% interest and back payments.
By the way, I used the Huffington Post version of this article to highlight a few things. First off, even the Huffington Post seems to think this is a little bullshit. Secondly, because they used the term “alleged rapist” for the article. Alleged? By seeking child support, she is admitting to the crime, and a simple genetic test to prove Olivas is the father is proof that he was raped, according to the law. This isn’t a “he said, she said” case where there is no physical evidence. There is absolute proof in this case. Any lawsuit could be easily countered by “so you’re saying you didn’t have sex with this 15 year old when you were 20, and thus did not have his child? You are willing to drop the paternity suit and give him back the money he’s sent you so far?” The family court already judged her guilt when they granted her child support, in a twisted example of the kind of “justice” that “Social Justice Warriors” crusade for.
So, to reiterate: No. I do not support the government paying for abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. Certainly not when someone can be stabbed and come out owing $50,000 or more to the hospital that treated him.