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Rape vs. abortion: culture war

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Recently, an abortion was performed in Brazil. Brazil’s one of those places where that’s only legal in cases of rape (she had been), incest (it was her stepfather) and to preserve the health of the mother (she was a nine-year-old bearing twins – her body couldn’t take that. This is one of the many, many reasons you do not have sex with children). The mother of the child and the doctors who performed it were all summarily excommunicated, and their excommunication has been upheld by Pope Benedict. Even worse, the rapist/pedophile who did this to her has been deliberately not excommunicated, because, while child molestation may be “heinous,” abortion is, of course, a great deal worse.

This is not morality, nor is it ethics. When the Catholic Church explicitly values unborn, undeveloped fetuses over a nine-year-old girl who has already experienced rape and trauma at the hands of her stepfather, and now gets to grow up knowing that this same event led her mother to be excommunicated from their religion, something is wrong. The pain and suffering of living, breathing people – of children – is secondary to their “moral” grandstanding.

Similarly, in the March 2 issue of the Irish Rover, staff writer Mary Kate Daly argues that some raped women have not “robustly defended their own dignity” (by, you know, not being all slutty). While she isn’t “blaming” victims for their rape (she’s only declaring that victims “share responsibility,” which, if you’re a writer for the Irish Rover, apparently means something completely different), she is saying that our current focus on “consent” in terms of sexual assault, instead of how responsible the victims are, and how not responsible drunk rapists are, misses the point.

Maybe I’m spotting a trend where there isn’t one, but we seem to have lost the plot here. Moral priorities are all out of whack, when the things you’re worried about in these situations is that a raped nine-year-old carries to term and gives birth to twins and that raped women stop wearing sexy clothes. Maybe this isn’t morality – maybe this is simply a culture war. If it is, then I guess I know what side I’m on.

James Spitalere



March 17