S.C. Senator: Fetuses Are “Victims,” Women Who Have Been Sexually Assaulted, Not

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S.C. Senator: Fetuses Are “Victims,” Women Who Have Been Sexually Assaulted, Not

Robin Marty

Which "victim" deserves more rights is up for debate in South Carolina.

It’s Sexual Assault Awareness Week, and in South Carolina, a debate is raging in the legislature as to who are the real victims of sexual assault — the woman or girl attacked, or a fertilized egg, embryo, fetus created during the assault.

For South Carolina State Senator Kevin Bryant, there’s no question — it’s the “unborn child.”

Via The Columbia State:

The dispute focuses on the definition of “victim.” Supporters, like Bryant, say the unborn child is a victim who has rights that must be protected.

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“We’re focusing on the rights and the liberty of an unborn child, and I can’t understand why the life of a child that’s a victim ought to be terminated,” Bryant said.

But critics say barring abortions in the case of rape or incest ignores the rights of the mother — who has already been the victim of a crime.

“They are saying, ‘We don’t care about victims of crime,’” Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg said. “It really penalizes victims for a second time.”

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/04/24/3920527/state-health-plan-would-not-pay.html#storylink=cpy

The moratorium on abortions in case of rape would apply only to the women reliant on the state health insurance system: This obviously affects low-income or uninsured pregnant victims of sexual assault who would either have to find the money to pay for an abortion out-of-pocket, or be forced into pregnancy and childbirth, and ultimately to give a baby up for adoption if she doesn’t want to raise her attacker’s child. But Bryant and his colleague don’t see that as any additional punishment for a woman.

Abortion in the case of rape used to be the one exception on which all but the most zealous of anti-choice advocates could find common ground. Now it is becoming one of the most eagerly sought additions for restricting abortions.  Because the only place that anti-choice politicians can actively ban abortions is among the poor, who are forced to use public assistance to receive medical care, and ending rape exceptions are a way to signal their passion for eliminating reproductive rights for all women, no matter how incremental the change.

Rape exceptions used to be a given.  Now, they are increasingly rare.  Can we expect the same change to occur with “life of the mother” exceptions, too?

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