Politico is reporting that the language about "forcible rape" will be dropped from the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and replaced with the language used in the Hyde Amendment, which does not create different categories of rape.

It's good to see that at least some people get it:

[…] the distinction between types of rape mystified some GOP aides.

“Such a removal would be a good idea, since last I checked, rape by definition is non-consensual,” said one aide.

Exactly.

Marge Berer, editor of the journal Reproductive Health Matters, makes this highly problematic claim: "In my opinion, it is only possible to be anti-abortion if you will never be the one left holding the baby, nor be around to see or take responsibility for what happens to those who are." Really?

What about All Our Lives supporters and kindred spirits, in the present and in the past, who not only believe but live their lives as if prolife means what it says: the taking on, not the disavowal, of such active, thorough responsibilities? We can't possibly exist?

If respect and reverence for all life means anything, it means that you bother to hold the baby, or at the very least offer your helping hands to any and all baby holders, in your own family, community, nation, planet. You not only bear witness to their situations-you do whatever you can to ease their difficulties.

And that set of conjoint responsibilities begins towards both mother and child as soon as you know about the pregnancy. In fact, you should have long since already assumed the responsibilities that began well before the present pregnancy.

With the mother's and the father's own conceptions and beyond, with nonviolent and fully socially supported parenting, with sex education for all stages of life, with measures to prevent and abolish reproductive coercion and violence against women, with complete, informed, voluntary access to family planning.

Marge Berer, we do exist. We are not impossibilities by definition-let alone decree. And if you would like our help in reducing abortion, just ask.

The Family Violence and Prevention Fund has a new fact sheet on reproductive health and partner abuse (PDF).

Sexual coercion and violence is a costly and pervasive problem, and women of reproductive age – in particular, those ages 16 to 24 – are at greatest risk.1 Violence limits women’s ability to manage their reproductive health and exposes them to sexually transmitted diseases. Abuse during pregnancy can have lasting harmful effects for a woman, the developing fetus and newborns. A growing body of research indicates that the strong association of intimate partner violence and unintended pregnancy, abortion and sexually transmitted disease results from male coercive behaviors around sex and contraception.

This is an area where I'd like to see more activism from pro-life advocates outside of the establishment Movement. Most of us agree that a woman has the right to make her own decisions about contraception, and all of us agree that she has the right to make her own decisions about whether and when to have sex. A concerted educational and activist campaign against reproductive coercion could make a real difference in the rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion — not to mention in the lives of women.

Aimee Thorne-Thomsen of the Pro-Choice Public Education Project says that she registered for the "Open Hearts, Open Minds" conference with "neither an open heart nor an open mind."

But that does not justify everything at the conference that Thorne-Thomsen finds problematic. Particularly prolife lawyer Helen Alvare's apparent statement that bodily integrity is not an important enough issue to discuss in the context of abortion.

What could be more central to the issue? Especially on a planet where one in three women experiences gender-based violence.

Abortion violates the bodily integrity of prenatal human beings. It often results from the denial of women's body-right: through inequality in our relationships with men, sexual coercion, the denial of our chosen family planning methods, the societal refusal to strive for 100% effective contraception, domestic violence, the utter withholding of necessary medical and social supports before, during, and ever after birth…

And it can be defined as a violation of women's bodily integrity in and of itself. NOT because women "by nature" must bear children, and as many as possible–hey, I would have been dead a long time ago if I believed THAT–but because it involves the lifetaking of a particular, irreplaceable, already existing human being inside of another particular, irreplaceable, already existing human being.

The question of bodily integrity is inseparable from the abortion issue.

We're having a discussion on the All Our Lives Facebook page about the recent article in The Nation, When Teen Pregnancy is No Accident. The Nation article looks at "reproductive coercion" — a form of partner abuse in which men deliberately try to make their partners get pregnant by tampering with their birth control or simply refusing to use any.  Sometimes these men then force their pregnant partners to have an abortion; other times they force them to bear the child.

 

How should the reproductive peace community respond to reproductive coercion without promoting the violence of abortion? How can we best empower women to escape abusive relationships and maintain control over their choice to use contraception?  Please feel free to comment here or, if you use Facebook, on our Facebook page.

Millions of girl children worldwide are forced into marriage. They are highly vulnerable to rape, battery, HIV/AIDS infection, and the complications of too-soon pregnancy. They lose out on their dreams of education, work, and family happiness. Please urge the US to take a stand against child marriage: http://www.thechildhealthsite.com/clickToGive/campaign.faces?siteId=5&campaign=StopChildMarriage