Friday, June 10, 2005

Apologies and Political Footballs

Re: My Laws of Intended Consequences post, where I talked about a Texas case where a man was sentenced to life in prison for stepping on his girlfriend's stomach to induce an abortion, it appears the case isn't as cut and dry as it seems. Blogs have begun to point out that the boyfriend had a history of abuse in the relationship.

Of course, this makes the Prosecutors claim that he would have gone after the woman too, if he could, all the more despicable. However, the revelation that the abortion might not have been consensual but rather the end result of a pattern of abuse substantially and materially changes the facts surrounding the case, not to mention my analysis. Pandagon puts it best:
This entire case is disturbing on a number of levels. First of all, it's disturbing that it was so widely reported as a simple issue of two teenagers getting caught doing a homemade abortion, when it's very likely that instead it was closer to the all-too-typical scenario of domestic violence escalating due to a pregnancy. But the prosecution carries a lot of the blame in that--instead of treating this incident for what it most likely was, which is a case of domestic violence leading to a miscarriage and prosecuting the young man for hurting his girlfriend, they grandstanded on the whole abortion bullshit instead of standing up for the young woman who was victimized in all this.

If anything, this just shows how overheated the abortion debate has become. Any issue that can possibly be shoehorned into the pro-life/choice categories immediately becomes a battleground--other considerations be damned. Hence, laws which protect pregnant women from assault get hung up over whether a fetus is a "person", and what should be a common-sense measure to protect women becomes a partisan war. In this case, the prosecutor was so zealous about making this about abortion, and pro-choice bloggers were so adamant about critiquing the Texas legal schematics, that we all missed the very important issue of domestic abuse. This should be a wake up call to everyone.

This was a political football from the start. Just a different type of football. In any event, I posted too soon, and I regret that. My apologies.

Bitch, Ph.D. with the heads up (and a retraction of her own).

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