Something Something Ron Paul

[Content Note: Rape culture; encroachments on reproductive rights; violence.]

I didn't want to bury this in today's Primary Speaking post, because it's too important: Ron Paul's antipathy toward women plumbed new depths during a recent interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, during this extraordinary exchange about his views on abortion and sexual assault:
MORGAN: Here's the dilemma, and it's one I put to Rick Santorum very recently. I was surprised by his answer, although I sort of understood from his belief point of view that he would come up with this.

But it's a dilemma that I am going to put to you. You have two daughters. You have many granddaughters. If one of them was raped -- and I accept it's a very unlikely thing to happen. But if they were, would you honestly look at them in the eye and say they had to have that child if they were impregnated?

PAUL: No. If it's an honest rape, that individual should go immediately to the emergency room. I would give them a shot of estrogen or give them --

MORGAN: You would allow them to abort the baby?

PAUL: It is absolutely in limbo, because an hour after intercourse or a day afterwards, there is no legal or medical problem. If you talk about somebody coming in and they say, well, I was raped and I'm seven months pregnant and I don't want to have anything to do with it, it's a little bit different story.

But somebody arriving in an emergency room saying, I have just been raped and there is no chemical -- there's no medical and there's no legal evidence of a pregnancy --

MORGAN: Life doesn't begin at conception?

PAUL: Life does begin at conception.

MORGAN: Then you would be taking a life.

PAUL: Well, you don't know if you're taking a life either, because this is an area that is -- but to decide everything about abortion and respect for life on this one very, very theoretical condition, where there may have been a life or not a life.

MORGAN: But here's the thing: although it is a hypothetical, it does happen. People do get raped and they do get impregnated. And sometimes they are so ashamed by what's happened that weeks go by before they may even discover they are pregnant.

They have to face this dilemma. And they are going to have a president who has a very, very strong view about this.

PAUL: This is like the proposal that the people who like abortion, endorse abortion because it's the woman's right to her body. You say, well, does that mean one minute before birth, you can kill the baby? I did this on one of the TV programs where some women were opposed to what I was saying.

I said, this nine-pound baby is in the woman. She has the right. She argues her case. I said you would abort this baby because the woman has had unfortunate some circumstances, so the doctor gets paid a handsome fee to kill this nine-pound baby?

Oh, that's not what we're talking about. But that is what they are talking about. They are talking about a human life. So a person immediately after rape, yes. It's a tough one. I won't satisfy everybody there.

But to tell you the truth, what I saw happening in the 1960s and the change in the law and -- no, the change in attitude, people were doing illegal abortions. To me it is a moral problem. It was to change the morality of the '60s, the lack of respect for life, leads to the lack of respect for liberty and all the things that I believe in.
Emphases mine.

There is a lot to unpack there, but let's start with this notion of an "honest rape." First of all, Ron Paul is playing into and promulgating the erroneous narrative that women routinely lie about having been raped. That is flatly false.

Secondly, I will say again that denying access to a legal medical procedure to women is so thoroughly unethical and so thoroughly breaks faith with women and other people with uteri that even if they did have to lie to gain access to abortion, it would be entirely reasonable. If Ron Paul and his fellow exceptioneers want to limit access to safe abortions to people who have been raped, then they should expect women and other people with uteri who are pregnant to lie about having been raped (which, let's note, is fundamentally different than filing a false report against a specific individual). That's not because "bitches be lyin' about rape," as every rape apologist on the planet incessantly claims, but because whatever restrictions are placed on access to safe and legal abortion will force people to find whatever means possible to skirt those restrictions.

And anyone who thinks that's SIMPLY HORRIBLE really needs to take a breath and consider whether they wouldn't tell a lie if the alternatives were a radically life-altering event and/or temporary or permanent injury and/or death.

Then there's Piers Morgan's absurd contention that it's "very unlikely" one of Ron Paul's female relatives would be victimized by sexual violence. Um, no. Unfortunately, that is also flatly false.

But I guess one shouldn't be terribly surprised that Morgan isn't hip to rape statistics when he doesn't even seem to understand how reproduction works. Women and other people with uteri do not receive a magical pregnancy alert from uterus to brain at the precise moment of implantation. Most pregnant people don't know for at least a couple weeks if they're pregnant. That's nothing unique to survivors of rape who "are so ashamed by what's happened."

Certainly, the trauma of rape—of which shame is merely one manifestation—can delay the discovery or acknowledgment of pregnancy, but Morgan's bad math is not only contributing to the preponderance of bad information about how women's bodies work; it's also playing into and promulgating the narrative that women casually delay seeking abortions.

And then there's Ron Paul's laughable contention that "the lack of respect for life," that is, being pro-choice, "leads to the lack of respect for liberty," that is, being anti-choice.

Again: I can't put it more plainly than this: I am not free, if the word is to have any meaning at all, as long as Ron Paul is up in my uterus.

There's still plenty to parse and deconstruct here. Have at it in comments.

[Hat tip to Honest Rape.]

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