Another Republican Genius on Incest, Rape, and Abortion

[Content Note: War on agency; rape apologia; hostility to consent; pregnancy risks.]

Santorum. Akin. Walsh. Mourdock.

And now to this illustrious list of reprehensible no-nothings we can add Washington State Republican Congressional candidate John Koster.

[Audio care of]

Text Onscreen: "1st CD Republican Candidate John Koster Discussing Rape & Abortion | Everett Fundraiser with Congressman Tom Price (R-GA)"

Questioner (Male Voice): Is there any time that you would agree with abortion?

Koster: Um... When a mother's life is in danger, I'm not going to make that decision. You know, I know they go out and— Incest is so rare, I mean, it's so rare. But, uh, the rape thing— You know, I know a woman who was raped and kept her child, gave it up for adoption. She doesn't regret it. In fact, she's a—she's a big pro-life proponent. But, on the rape thing, it's like, how does—how does putting more violence onto a woman's body and taking the life of an innocent child that's not—that's a consequence of this crime, how does that make it better? You know what I mean?

Questioner: Yeah, but she has to live with the consequence of that crime.

Koster: Well, you know. Crime has consequences. But how does it make it better by killing a child?
There ain't enough fuck you in the world for this guy.

1. Incest is not rare. One in 6 women and one in 33 men will be victimized by sexual violence: 44% of those survivors will be younger than 18, and 34.2% of attackers of juvenile victims are family members. Those are facts. This isn't a difference of opinion. It is not imagined victimhood. These are not cooked numbers in service to an agenda. This is reality, in all its ugliness. Incest is not rare.

2. "The rape thing." What a rank pile of contemptible dogshit. I wish I could Matrix an understanding of the experience of being raped directly into Koster's skull so he could comprehend how colossally gross it is to describe it as "the rape thing."

3. A fetus is not a child.

4. A woman who becomes pregnant as the result of rape is innocent, too. It's interesting, ahem, that Koster doesn't want the "innocent child" to have to suffer consequences for rape, but is totes fine with an innocent woman—who is, in fact, an actual sentient human that experiences pain—suffering consequences for rape.

5. The great thing about a pro-choice position is that Koster's friend (who whiffs vaguely of straw) who carried to term a pregnancy resulting from rape could still make exactly the same choice if abortion were legal, accessible, affordable, and without restrictions. The terrible thing about an anti-choice position is that a woman who wanted to make a different decision could not.

6. Once again, I will observe the irony of a man who agrees it's criminal to physically force a woman to do something with her body to which she has not consented, but Moral Values to legislatively force her to do something with her body to which she has not consented.

I'm sure Koster would be outraged and horrified to be compared, even obliquely, to a rapist.

As well he should be. I am horrified to have to make the comparison.

Of course, a man who holds the position that he should be able to legislate away my bodily autonomy and supersede my consent about what happens to my body shouldn't be too goddamned surprised by the comparison.

7. A person who chooses to terminate a pregnancy is not having "violence put onto her body." On the other hand, the anti-choice position which disallows a pregnant person control over hir reproduction, which forces a person to continue a pregnancy zie does not want, is inherently violent, no matter how politely it is stated.

If anyone else suggested that I should be forced to submit my body against my will to nine months of potential discomfort and pain, and a small but real chance of death, followed by an act that might include the skin and muscle between my vagina and anus being torn open or surgical breach of my abdominal wall and uterus, I don't think we'd mince words about whether they were using violent rhetoric. But because we can couch it in the bullshit terminology of "a pro-life position," we are meant to ignore the physical costs of pregnancy, which is to say nothing of the financial costs and personal inconvenience (to put it lightly) giving birth entails even before parenting begins, including the very real possibility of missing work for an extended period or losing one's job altogether.

Cis men like Koster talk about pregnancy and birth like it's nothing. Just like they talk about sexual violence like it's nothing. And the "consequences" of both like they're nothing. They are completely divorced from the experience of living as a woman or trans man, of living with the constant risk of sexual violence, with the potential for unwanted pregnancy.

Which is a pitiful commentary on male privilege in a patriarchal culture, that a cis man can live so much of his life being wholly disconnected from such fundamental parts of the lives of people with uteri. But is also profoundly infuriating, given that it is mostly men like Koster who make decisions about our agency and lives.

8. Finally: "But how does it make it better by killing a child?" Make it better for whom, Mr. Koster? I am intractably unpersuaded that I should have even the most infinitesimal interest in making anything better for anyone other than the woman who is pregnant by a rapist.

Whatever she wants regarding her pregnancy is what I want on her behalf. And my question for you, sir, is: Who the fuck are you to want anything else?

[H/T to Shaker Cat.]

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