When it comes to life issues, left-leaning politicians aren’t the only ones in politics who make mind-numbingly stupid remarks. While the Democratic party stands on the platform that killing an unborn child conceived in rape, and therefore punishing him or her for the sins of the father, somehow helps rape victims, Republicans have a long track record of trivializing rape victims and making anti-intellectual claims about how rape is physiologically different than consensual sex and therefore it is almost impossible for it to result in pregnancy. Most recently, Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee in Missouri, said, “First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Both parties are so off the mark in this debate that its not even funny. First, if abortion is murder then it is intrinsically wrong. Pregnancy from rape is not an exception: you’re still killing an innocent child. That does nothing to help the mother and it in no way achieves justice against the rapist. As for Republicans’ asinine claims: even if true it is completely irrelevant. Abortion exceptions for rape aren’t wrong because there are so few pregnancies resulting from rape: its wrong because it kills an innocent human being. The Democrat platform only serves to shift punishment from the guilty to the inconvenient but innocent. The Republican platform only serves to trivialize the unspeakable tragedy inflicted upon so many women. But, hey, that’s just politics as usual I suppose. Political solutions serve to further party agendas but they don’t actually “solve” anything.
When it comes to helping rape victims it is not Republicans or Democrats but the Catholic Church who offers the most reasonable course of action. Progressives may write off the Church as “backward” and “anti-scientific” but then progressives usually equate asinine statements made by people like Todd Akin to “dogmatic church doctrine.” In truth, they could not be more opposed.
The USCCB, whose role it is to establish policy for the practical application of church teaching in the United States, in “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” Directive 36 provides the rubric for contraceptive use in an emergency room setting for rape victims:
“A female who has been raped should be able to defend herself against a potential conception from the sexual assault. If after appropriate testing, there is no evidence that conception has occurred already, she may be treated with medications that would prevent ovulation, sperm capacitation, or fertilization. It is not permissible, however, to initiate or to recommend treatments that have as their purpose or direct effect the removal, destruction, or interference with the implantation of a fertilized ovum”.
This includes contraceptives with a possible abortifacient effect as long as contraception and not abortion is its intent and moral certitude that ovulation has not occurred is established. Moral certitude does not necessitate a statistical probability of 100%, impossible to meet with current medical technology, but the highest degree of certainty possible with the tools available to us. Thus, if moral certitude can be established that the woman has not ovulated, thereby minimizing any risk involved that an already conceived child might be harmed, contraception may be administered in order to prevent conception resulting from rape and thus defending the women from further invasion by her attacker.
Catholic theology dictates that there are two realities involved in sex. There is the physical reality which is the anatomical/physiological mechanics of sexual intercourse that is pleasure, reproduction etc. and then there is the theological reality that sex is procreative and unitive. Note that the physical reality of reproduction (the mere promulgation of the species also existent in every animal on Earth) is distinct from the theological reality of procreation (where man and women cooperate with God to bring a new person into the world) and pleasure is distinct from unity. Contraception (as distinct from abortifacients) is wrong because it violates the theological realities of procreation and unity. However, rape is neither procreative nor unitive.
Neither the Democrat nor the Republican platforms have any foundation in science at all. Church teaching, however, does. While our politicians are guided by demagoguery and political expedience the Catholic Church decided to actually look at the reality of the situation and base its position on natural law: that is, on the scientific and philosophical reality of the world. It decided to actually look at how a woman’s body works and came up with a medically (and morally) sound solution. In the face of the same scientific facts our politicians have just plugged their ears and refuse to hear, victims be damned.
The mantra of politicians on the left has become “okay, okay, science proves that fetuses are human beings but they’re weak and defenseless so we can kill them anyway, especially in instances of rape.” While the mantra of those on the right has been “hey, I have absolutely no proof of this, but we can ignore rape victims because their bodies will magically sort things out for them.” And people accuse the Church of being anti-intellectual.