Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dear Steve King

Discussion of rape and rape culture to follow.

Dear Steve King,

As a Congressman, you must do a lot of talking in front of microphones and reporters.  It's understandable that you might word your thoughts awkwardly from time to time.

I don't think that's what's happening here.

Here's what a reporter asked you:
You support the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act that would provide federal funding for abortions to a person that has been forcefully raped. But what if someone isn’t forcibly raped and for example, a 12-year-old who gets pregnant? Should she have to bring this baby to term?
 Here's your direct reply:
Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way and I’d be open to hearing discussion about that subject matter. Generally speaking it’s this: that there millions of abortions in this country every year. Millions of them are paid for at least in part by taxpayers. I think it’s immoral for us to compel conscientious objecting taxpayers to fund abortion through the federal government, or any other government for that matter. So that’s my stand. And if there are exceptions there, then bring me those exceptions let’s talk about it. In the meantime it’s wrong for us to compel pro-life people to pay taxes to fund abortion.
On the subject of a 12-year-old being impregnated by her rapist, the first words out of your mouth are, "Well, I just haven't heard of that being a circumstance," as if it's imaginary, a flight of fancy.  You follow that up with, "that's been brought to me in any personal way," as if you'd need the 12-year-old in question to approach you about it personally.  Then you get to, "if there are exceptions here, then bring me those exceptions."  "Let's talk about it," you say.  "In the meantime..."

All of that conveys a very clear idea that you doubt the situation exists.  You know nothing of it and if it were real, someone would have told you by now.  You're open to it, after all!

Which is an odd stance to take, considering what you said only weeks earlier (emphasis mine):
What I've said is that we need to respect humans more than we do animals. Whenever we start elevating animals up to, to above that of humans, we've crossed a moral line. For example, if there's a sexual predator out there who has impregnated a young girl, say a 13 year old girl, and it happens in America more times than you and I like to think, that sexual predator can pick that girl off the playground at the middle school and haul her across the state line and force her to get an abortion to eradicate the evidence of his crime, and bring her back and drop her off at the swing set, and that's not against the law in the United States of America. I have told Wayne Pacelle and the people who believe we should focus all of our efforts on the, on anything they can bring that limits activity around animals, that we need to respect and revere human life first, animal life second.
The rape and impregnation of teenaged girls makes a great hypothetical when you need a handy comparison to dog fighting, but it's an anomaly, a flight of fancy that you've certainly never encountered before, when it's the actual topic at hand.

You're comfortable with rape as your go-to point illustrator, but you're completely unfamiliar with it in real life.

The victimization of girls "happens in America more times than you and I like to think" but if it happens you'd like to hear about it.

Try to take this in: rape is not just a convenient hypothetical.  The victimization of girls isn't just a rhetorical device.  This is a reality.  You know that it's a reality.  You don't get to pretend that it doesn't happen when it suddenly becomes politically unpleasant.

While we're here, let's talk about the rest of that blather.  "I think it’s immoral for us to compel conscientious objecting taxpayers to fund abortion through the federal government, or any other government for that matter."  Isn't it also immoral for to compel us to fund war?  Are you campaigning against that?

But that's not a fair comparison, is it?  War is a violent atrocity.  Abortion is a legal medical procedure.  In war, people are killed in great numbers.  In abortion, pregnancy is ended.  Oh, but war is necessary, you'd argue!  Abortion is necessary, too, to protect the health, livelihood, quantity and quality of life of millions of Americans.

We pay taxes for the greater good.  It's part of living in a thriving society.  In a functioning society, people need access to medical services, health care, and reproductive rights, even if you personally don't agree with their choices.  I don't like war, so I don't start wars and I haven't signed up for the military.  I urge you not to get an abortion.

With love,
Frank Lee

P.S. Your apparent stance on animal cruelty makes me want to go hug a dog.

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