Submitted by megan on Sat, 09/20/2008 - 08:55
I listen to As It Happens pretty much every night it's on. It's my favourite CBC radio show.
Well, listen might be a strong word. If I'm home, the radio is definitely on by 6:30. I listen carefully to what's coming up on the show, and then the hosts' dulcet tones drift out of listening range, until something catches my ear and I focus back in.
This past Thursday, among many other interesting items, one of the hosts talked to Katha Pollitt about Sarah Palin.
It was an entertaining interview, as is generally the case on AIH. I mean, Palin is a pretty easy target, but Pollitt took sharp and swift aim.
Until, that is, they got to the section on abortion.
Almost every discussion I've heard or read regarding Palin's views on abortion is framed as "She's against abortion, even in cases of rape or incest."
Emphasis not mine.
It's an old argument lobbed at anti-choicers. I understand its place in terms of debate. It hits people at a gut level. They imagine themselves, or the loved women in their lives, already traumatized, carrying a physical and growing reminder of that trauma for 36 weeks.
Still, I think it misses the point. I don't have the stats to back this up, and because I'm a blogger, I'm not going to bother looking it up, but I'd wager a guess that most women who get abortions are not terminating a pregnancy that is the after-effect of assault. They're terminating a pregnancy that is the result of faulty contraception or miscalculation.
The assault argument, to me, feels a little like giving in. It's saying that only certain women have the right to consider all options; only women who have already paid a high price for the privilege.
I wish people would stop talking about Palin's views on SRH in this way. In a political context, I don't think it furthers the cause.
Palin's views on abortion are not wrong and ill-informed because she doesn't think assault victims should be allowed to get abortions. Her views on abortion are wrong because she does not believe that women have the right to autonomy over their own bodies, to make the best decision possible for themselves. A decision that sometimes means terminating a pregnancy, no matter how it started.