Oklahoma state representative, George Faught, successfully passed a bill outlawing certain types of abortions in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Invoking God, Faught and his fellow Republicans have now made it illegal for doctors to perform abortions due to fetal genetic abnormalities or Down syndrome. There are no exceptions, even in cases of rape and incest; those who refuse to comply could have their licenses suspended or revoked, along with facing fines of up to $100,000.
In defense of the fact that the ban would make no exceptions, Faught suggested that rape and incest could be part of God’s will. When Democratic members of the state’s House challenged him, Faught went on to reference that since rape occurred in the Bible, it’s more a natural part of life.
“Is rape the will of God?” asked Representative Cory Williams.
“If you read the Bible, there’s actually a couple circumstances where that happened, and the Lord uses all circumstances,” Faught said, “I mean, you can go down that path, but it’s a reality, unfortunately.” When asked about incest, he said, “Same answer.”
In response to Faught accusing him of questions that didn’t relate to the bill, Williams provided an interesting response:
“You won’t make any exceptions for rape, you won’t make any exceptions for incest in this and you are proffering divine intervention as the reason why you won’t do that. I think it is very important. This body wants to know, myself personally, whether you believe rape and incest are actually the will of God.”
Faught responded by doubling down on his claims that rape and incest are part of God’s grand design, and victims of rape and incest can ‘use’ the experience. “It’s a great question to ask, and, obviously if it happens in someone’s life, it may not be the best thing that ever happened. But, so you’re saying that God is not sovereign with every activity that happens in someone’s life and can’t use anything and everything in someone’s life, and I disagree with that.”
Apparently, the floor was so moved by Faught’s arguments that the bill passed in the house with 67 votes (to 16) and will now move to the Senate. In a separate statement to an NBC station after the controversy of the vote, Faught spoke of the beauty of pregnancies that result from rape and incest.
“Life, no matter how it is conceived, is valuable and something to be protected. Let me be clear, God never approves of rape or incest. However, even in the worst circumstances, God can bring beauty from ashes.”
Although I can appreciate his sentiment that people can make the best of a situation, I completely disagree with everything else Faught said. His statement, and the bill- the brainchild of an anti-abortion group- has been heavily condemned by doctors and healthcare advocates.
“This bill is deeply damaging to reproductive healthcare, as well as the doctor-patient relationship,” the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice noted in a statement, “Further, we find it absolutely unacceptable and inappropriate that the bill’s author, George Faught argued on the House floor that sexual assault is the will of God. Oklahoma women and families deserve better than a politician who uses his personal dogma to explain away violent crimes against women.”
Now that, I agree with. It’s deplorable that Faught implies rape and incest should just be accepted because they happened in the Bible. Hey, we used to stone people to death and not wear clothes of mixed materials, but we’ve moved past that. Perhaps my perspective is skewed as a unreligious person, but honestly: what the fuck?
I was raised in an extremely strict, traditional Christian household. Seriously; my parents used to travel around the city and its surrounding suburbs establishing churches. So yes, I am familiar with the dogma Faught is using, but his connotation that the Bible justifies rape and incest? Where the hell is he getting that insanity? Answer: it doesn’t. It’s an excuse being used to justify another bill against abortion.
“It’s interesting that the bill is drawn so that it only impedes access for one group of people, and frankly, folks who have fetal abnormalities are in desperate situations themselves,” said Julie Burkhart, found and CEO of one of only three abortion clinics in the state. “So it really works to penalize women, their partners, their families for just trying to make good decisions for themselves.”
Ah yes. It seems to come down to this fight against women a lot when the GOP is involved. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discounting male victims of these horrific felonies, but every time I hear about the newest Republican policy in the last year, it always involves some cut back on what a woman is allowed to do. Lately, it seems to be about restrictions on reproductive rights. Because let’s not forget the end goal of this bill: Faught and his fellow Republicans are forcing women to carry children to term that they do not want. As a victim of sexual assault, I cannot fathom the idea of carrying the child of the one who violated me. God forbid a poor girl is raped by her own flesh and blood, and as a constant reminder must grow the child of incest inside her? The genetic problems and deformities that come from incest are well-documented. I understand that some Republicans have this skewed sense that protecting all life means ending abortions, but what kind of wicked person wants to create the circumstances which physically tie a victim to their attacker for their entire lives? They will already be suffering emotionally and psychologically for the rest of their lives; now they have to care for and raise another human being as a constant reminder?
Don’t give me that ‘adoption is always an option’ shit either. Look, even if someone was willing to give up nine months of their life to provide proper nutrition, medical care to a fetus- prenatal care is expensive as hell- and find some way to give birth (which is recorded as being between $30,000 to $50,000+), there are over 428,000 children in the US foster care system, with as many as 670,000 spending time in the system as of 2015. And according to the official report on Child Welfare and Foster Care mandated by the US Department of Health and Human Services, this number has been steadily increasing over the last four years. Adding to numbers when the current system can barely handle the crowds already there is wishing ill will on the child. If you really wanted to preserve life, why would you sentence a child to growing up with a high probability of feeling unwanted, unloved, and with a low quality of life?
I just don’t understand the Republican obsession with eliminating all abortion options. It’s possible to be pro-choice and anti-abortion. There are sound, logical arguments on why abortion access should still be provided to women- and we’re not even talking about the basic emotional appeal of letting women decide what happens to their own bodies and reproductive systems. I know I haven’t offered anything other than emotional appeals here, but let’s face it: I have yet to hear any defense of the pro-life movement that isn’t based on emotional appeals. The concept of forcing women to carry a child in cases of rape and incest by providing no exceptions to this anti-abortion bill is cruel and unusual punishment. By banning all abortions, women will be forced to either travel to gain one safely or undergo unsafe procedures to end the pregnancy.
Ultimately though, it seems Faught and the GOP want to demand that a woman relive her rape every moment of every day during her pregnancy by giving birth to that child. It would never be over for her. And don’t get me started on incest; it is one of the most heinous invasions of trust and destroyer of innocence. So no, Faught, neither of these depraved activities are beautiful. Forcing a woman to carry the product of this sick crimes won’t be creating beauty from ashes. If anything, this is punishing the victim over and over again. But clearly, the GOP doesn’t care about that. Bills like this one passed in Oklahoma just demonstrate that Republicans want to tell women that they don’t have the right to decide what’s best for their families, their lives, and even their own bodies- only God and Republican men do.