Since the #MeToo movement, should all women’s allegations be believed?
- The Me Too (or #MeToo) movement was started in 2006 by civil rights activist and survivor Tarana Burke. The hashtag went viral after the Harvey Weinstein story broke the news circuit in fall 2017, and actress Alyssa Milano tweeted a call to action for victims of sexual abuse to follow the movement.
- A Pew Research analysis revealed that the #MeToo hashtag was used over 19 million times on Twitter in its first year, which is equivalent to 55,319 times per day.
- Men joined the #MeToo movement both in solidarity with women and also to declare themselves as victims of sexual assault or harassment.
- Five years after the start of the movement, a study found that 49% of Americans support #MeToo, while 21% oppose it. Over half say those who report sexual harassment or assault at work are “now more likely” to be believed.
A person is never obligated to donate any part of their body to another person, regardless of the recipient's need or how small the cost is to the donor. We do not even obligate deceased individuals to donate to a living person that will die without it unless the donor gave consent before death. According to experts at Georgetown University, '…the right of autonomy preempts the obligation to serve the health of others.' Given that a fetus uses the mother's body to live and grow, restrictions on abortion violate women's right to bodily autonomy.
Forcing women to carry pregnancies resulting from traumatic experiences, particularly rape, damages their health by intensifying trauma and takes lives. Women who have been raped are likely at risk of higher rates of depression, PTSD, and suicidal thoughts due to the trauma. Forcing them to carry their unwanted pregnancy to term is a cruel way to compound their pain. Suicide attempts are certainly serious risks to the mother's life (something the Alabama abortion bill, HB314, admittedly considers to be an acceptable exception), and these are likely driven by the loss of abortion as an option. Many incest cases are also the result of rape, or at least serious trauma, which would follow the same patterns. Rape and incest victims should always be given exceptions to terminate if they feel this is the best and only option for their future and wellbeing. A compassionate society would recognize this and support them in their self-preservation needs.
Injustices like rape, incest, and murder show how bodily autonomy is often misused. Someone having the freedom to enact their will over someone else doesn't mean it's right. Tragically, the vulnerable unborn are that 'someone else,' frequently disregarded in this abortion debate. They didn't decide how they were conceived, and their physical tethering inside their mother's womb is necessary by design, allowing a completely alive, distinct human child the safety to develop to the point of birth and beyond.
Justice and common law condemn taking life from innocent persons, just as it condemns other crimes. Even in horrible cases of rape and incest, the unborn are unwitting third-party participants, undeserving of bearing the full punishment—in this case, the death penalty—for a crime they have not committed. Not even rapists receive the death penalty. The intentional killing of innocent human life simply because they are unwanted and unborn gives more human rights to rapists than to vulnerable children.
Further, a person's location, origin, and whether or not they are desired do not determine or negate their value and worth. Legislators pushing abortion exceptions in the cases of rape and incest communicate to people conceived through those circumstances that they should have been terminated. That is despicable messaging to promote.
The unborn are human, entitled to their own human rights, starting at conception. They are distinct from their mother, often the opposite sex, complete with unique DNA and more. Embryology only expands our understanding of fetal development, confirming life begins at fertilization. Abortion cannot erase the trauma of sexual assault. All women who endure such pain while bringing the unexpected life inside them to fruition deserve the utmost compassion, support, and respect.
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