Cartoon: Forced Kidney Donation


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In 1971, the philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson wrote “A Defense of Abortion,” in which she used the example of a person waking up in a hospital, with medical equipment attaching them to a world famous violinist, to illustrate a point: Even if we accept that a fetus is a person with rights (which I don’t), it doesn’t follow that enforced childbirth is morally acceptable. It might be nice of me to allow the violinist to use my body for nine months, because that’s the only way to save the violinist’s life, but a world in which such extreme charity was enforced would be a nightmare.

This cartoon is an attempt to make that nightmarish aspect of what pro-lifers want visceral. It’s ironic, of course, that one way to make the nightmare clear is to imagine a man being put in the position that pro-lifers want to put women in.

* * *

This cartoon was written in a swimming pool. I usually go to a aqua fit class at a gym two or three times a week, and one of the ways I pass the time while exercising is to try and write political cartoons in my head.

Usually it doesn’t work; aqua fit isn’t really an ideal environment for brainstorming. (The best place for me to think of ideas is sitting on a public park bench watching kids play; because of that, it’s easier for me to write in warm weather. Seriously!) But sometimes an idea comes to me, and this is one.

I remember I described the idea to Emily, who I think is a patron here (hi Emily!), and from her reaction I thought it could be a good idea.

An idea isn’t enough, of course. There’s a lot of editing and refining. In this case, I got very far along in the process – actually finishing the pencils – before I decided to restructure the cartoon in a major way. Here’s the earlier version of this cartoon:

At first I was tickled at how much I’d managed to fit into just six panels. But then it started feeling cramped to me. And I couldn’t help thinking that the final panel should somehow be different than the others.

Then I thought about longtime patron Bonnie Warford (hi Bonnie!) commenting that she likes it when I break out of the grid. So I started to think of how I could do that with this comic, which eventually led to the idea of the first six panels being a giant word balloon, indicating that this was a story being told by the main character in the final panel.

The way the cartoon is set up, I think this cartoon will “work” even for readers who miss the “giant word balloon” aspect. But for me, that aspect adds a lot to this cartoon, visually.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has seven panels, arranged in a grid of six small panels (three across, two down), followed by a final panel which is quite large.

Panels 1-6 are colored in a minimalist color scheme featuring shades of brown and yellow.

PANEL 1

Panel 1 shows a close-up of man with a van dyke beard with his head on a pillow, snoring. A voice speaks from off-panel.

MAN: Zzzzz…
OFF PANEL VOICE: Wake him up.

PANEL 2

Panels 2 and 3 have a continuous background, showing a bedroom. In panel 2, Man is still asleep in bed, but a man in a solider-or-guard-like uniform is standing over him, with a hand on his shoulder.

SOLDIER: Get up! You’re going to the hospital!

PANEL 3

The man is now out of bed, with another soldier handcuffing him. The man is dressed only in a tee shirt and underwear. In front of him, a middle-aged woman, wearing a jacket and skirt, with a bun and a clipboard, is addressing him.

MAN: What’s HAPPENING?
CLIPBOARD: We’re taking your kidney.

PANEL 4

A close-up of Man and Clipboard. Man is wide-eyed with shock and fear; Clipboard is officious.

MAN: What? WHY?
CLIPBOARD: Your son is ill. He needs your kidney to live.

PANEL 5

We’ve changed locations; Man is now strapped won to an operating table. His tee-shirt is gone, and he’s yelling, futility. Two people in surgical gowns, gloves and masks – one of whom is Clipboard – stand over him. Clipboard is pointing to something on her clipboard.

MAN: But I don’t HAVE a son!
CLIPBOARD: You do. He’s from a one-night stand 20 years ago.

PANEL 6

No dialog in this panel. We see Man’s terrified face and, in the foreground, a gloved hand holding a scalpel.

The bottom border of the above six panels forms a word balloon, which is pointing to MAN in panel 7, indicating that the first six panels are a story that Man is telling in panel 7.

PANEL 7

The same man from the first six panels. He is now standing in a parking lot in front of a building, cheerfully telling a story to another man. Man and his friend are both holding signs that say “PRO LIFE” in big letters. They are surrounded by at least five other protesters, both men and women, also holding “PRO LIFE” signs.

Unlike the first six panels, this panel is in full color.

MAN: And that’s when I woke up. Thank goodness it was only a terrible nightmare!

This entry posted in Abortion & reproductive rights, Cartooning & comics, Feminism, sexism, etc. Bookmark the permalink. 

29 Responses to Cartoon: Forced Kidney Donation

  1. 1
    dreadfullyawry says:

    I’ve seen quite a few cartoons in this genre – the idea that if men could get pregnant, they’d be pro-abortion.

    I’m not sure this is really true. There are plenty of anti-abortion women, and presumably it’s not hard for them to imagine the experience of carrying an unwanted foetus to term.

    (Ironically when this first began, I thought it was going to be a cartoon about child support… but I doubted that Amp would take that stance)

  2. 2
    Decnavda says:

    I actually like the analogy in this cartoon better the one thought up by Judith Jarvis Thomson. My problem with Thomson’s analogy is that I have always had a negative conception of individual duties. The patient in her example had no responsibility for the violinist being hooked up to her, so of course she has no duty to stay attached for nine months. This analogy is good for arguing for a rape exception to an abortion ban, but a person who chooses to have sex knows pregnancy is a possible outcome, and so they are responsible for the life created, and the violinist analogy does not hold.

    My opposition to abortion bans has always rested on the need for a freedom-maximizing bright line for a legal determination of when personhood begins. Actually, as I write this, I am becoming convinced that the forcible removal of this man’s kidney (assuming he has two good ones) is justified. A fetus is not a person, but a 19 year old man is.

  3. 3
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    dreadfullyawry,

    Opposition to abortion is very close between men and women, so I think that a far stronger claim is warranted than just that “there are plenty of anti-abortion women.” In the latest Pew poll, 36% of women and 37% of men oppose abortion. That is probably a statistically insignificant difference.

    Decnavda,

    a person who chooses to have sex knows pregnancy is a possible outcome, and so they are responsible for the life created

    That is not actually the law. The law holds men responsible for the life created even when the man didn’t consent or couldn’t consent due to being underage. See County of San Luis Obispo v. Nathaniel J and Hermesmann v. Seyer for examples. In that first case, the judge said: “Victims have rights. Here, the victim also has responsibilities.”

    Do you oppose the current precedents and believe that men should only be held responsible if they freely chose to have sex in ways that can cause pregnancy? Note that has been at least one American case where a woman acquired sperm orally and impregnated herself. Boris Becker also claims that this happened to him.

    Do you think that men are responsible for the life created if they deposit their sperm only in a way where pregnancy can be expected to occur without foul play; or do you believe that men are always responsible if a pregnancy occurs, as is the law?

  4. 4
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    As for the cartoon, it seems an immensely weak argument in favor of abortion.

    Removing a kidney is very much not the same as carrying a child to term. A woman who has had a child has not lost a body part. Having children is the normal reproductive process that evolution has built into humans as the way to preserve the species and something that very many women freely choose to experience because they want the result for themselves. Losing a kidney is not natural at all and donations have a completely different reason, where one sacrifices part of themselves to save an already existing person.

    Furthermore, donating a kidney reduces life expectancy by almost a year. In contrast, having children seems to increase life expectancy for women (this may be a selection effect, but if so, it suggests that the cost of pregnancy on life expectancy is minimal).

    A common rebuttal to the argument that it is unjust to force women to bring a child to term is that:
    – these women took that risk when they chose to have sex and now have to accept the consequences
    – the fetus’ right to life is more significant than costs to the mother of carrying the child to term

    When MRAs argue against mandatory child support and/or no input into the abortion decision, the common feminist rebuttal I’ve seen is very similar:
    – these men took that risk when they chose to have sex and now have to accept the consequences
    – a woman’s rights to decide what happens with her body and/or the well-being of the child is more significant than the costs to the man

    My observation is that to people who favor a certain stance, principles that they argue for in other cases, but that seem to conflict with that stance, are very easily argued as being inapplicable due to a certain detail. However, when people do the same for a stance that they personally disagree with, this is interpreted as hypocrisy.

  5. 5
    Ben David says:

    … because everyone know that pro-life people on the Right also support the socialized medicine that leads to government-mandated healthcare decisions.

  6. 6
    Harlequin says:

    When MRAs argue against mandatory child support and/or no input into the abortion decision, the common feminist rebuttal I’ve seen is very similar:
    – these men took that risk when they chose to have sex and now have to accept the consequences
    – a woman’s rights to decide what happens with her body and/or the well-being of the child is more significant than the costs to the man

    Two things here.
    – The mandatory child support stuff you’re talking about? Also applies to women if they are not the primary caretaker. This isn’t “men’s child support obligations vs women’s abortion rights.” Every parent has child support obligations, and pregnant people have additional abortion rights because pregnancy is happening directly to their bodies. If you’re trying to claim a both-sides-do-it kind of hypocrisy, you should at least be comparing comparable things.
    – A person’s right to decide what happens to their body is absolutely and completely more important than financial costs to non-custodial parents. I mean, obviously! I don’t know if you’re just stating someone else’s view vs stating something you agree or partially agree with, but it’s so ridiculous I can’t leave it just sitting there.

    Having children is the normal reproductive process that evolution has built into humans as the way to preserve the species and something that very many women freely choose to experience because they want the result for themselves.

    And sex is part of the normal reproductive process and many women freely choose to experience it; rape still exists. (Also, this totally natural process, absent modern medicine, has a death rate of 1+% per childbirth.) I think the cartoon is a great analogy, personally.

  7. 7
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Ben David – that’s sort of the entire point of the cartoon (well, ignoring your silly strawman about socialised medicine).

    To spell it out for you – Amp was making the point that so called “pro life” people support government mandated healthcare decisions for pregnant women, even if they would never support it for themselves.

  8. 8
    Ampersand says:

    Eytan – I would 95% agree with you. But I would disagree with the word “themselves,” since some women are pro-life, and replace it with the word “men.”

  9. 9
    dreadfullyawry says:

    If people are going to argue that rape victims shouldn’t be made to pay child support for children conceived due to rape, it’s not a gendered issue. For every man paying child support for a child conceived because a woman raped him (or somehow coerced him into parenthood, e.g. through deception about birth control), there are hundreds of women who are not just paying child support for children conceived due to rape (or men deceiving them about birth control), but actually raising that child, giving not just their money but their time.

    The idea that “victims have responsibilities” seems harsh when put that way, but the child is an innocent victim as much as the raped parent is, and to deny the child support because of coercion would be harmful to the child.

    It’s a terrible situation either way, but if the choice is between harming an innocent adult and harming an innocent child, I think it makes sense to impose the burden on the adult, since an adult is potentially able to support themselves, while no child is.

    Not that I don’t sympathise very much with people (OF ANY GENDER IDENTITY, to be clear) who find themselves having to bear the burden of caring for a child they didn’t want, in addition to the burden of being raped. But it is not a “men’s rights” issue (even assuming such a thing as “men’s rights” exists).

  10. 10
    Ampersand says:

    but if the choice is between harming an innocent adult and harming an innocent child

    But often the “adult,” in these cases, is a minor.

    I think it’s reasonable to not require anyone to pay child support to their rapist, and would favor a law to that effect. I also think that convicted rapists should automatically lose custody of (and all contact with) any baby conceived during the rape. The baby should either be raised by the other parent, with child support paid by the rapist through a third party, or put up for adoption, with the decision to be made by the rape victim.

    The problem is, of course, that in many cases there won’t be a rape conviction. Then we’d have the unjust outcome of a rape victim paying child support to a rapist, and having to have regular contact with the person who raped them in order to maintain a relationship with their child. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s an unjust outcome that can be avoided without making other things worse. :-(

  11. 11
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Amp @8 – I stand by “themselves” – a lot of women are pro-life, but I have never met a pro-life woman, or read anything by a pro-life woman, that would accept government intervention in her own healthcare, they just want it for other women.

    Which isn’t to say that pro-life women are necessarilyy hypocrites, though some are But most pro-life women willingly carry their own pregnancies, wanted or not, to term (or at least would believe they would if it happened to them); and therefore their own personal choice would not be affected by anti-abortion legislation.

    (In the interest of full disclosure, I should also say that I personally support some government mandated medical procedures – in particular, I believe parents should not be allowed to refuse vaccination for their children without a genuine medical reason. Like the pro-life women I describe above, such legislation would not apply to me as I very willingly allowed my children to be vaccinated).

  12. 12
    Ben David says:

    Eytan @7 –
    1. Socialized medicine isn’t a “strawman” but an underlying assumption of the cartoon.

    2. The cartoon – like your phrase “goverment mandated health decisions” – conflates several notions in a way that misrepresents the opinions of most pro-lifers. There is:
    a) Government funding for elective abortion or for healthcare in general (like kidney transplants, as per the cartoon) – which is opposed by conservatives on fiscal/role of government grounds, and opposed by Christians who don’t want their tax dollars used to fund something they disagree with which is not a clear public interest.
    b) Laws restricting late-term abortion, laws requiring parental notification, etc. – which reflect public opinion, as indicated by repeated surveys and election results.

    Neither of these translate into the parallel set up by the cartoon. Not without misrepresenting the pro-life, conservative side. It is kinda strange to see the label of “government-mandated health decisions” being pinned onto small government conservatives.

  13. 13
    Gracchus says:

    “I also think that convicted rapists should automatically lose custody of (and all contact with) any baby conceived during the rape. ”

    That idea makes me uncomfortable. Less uncomfortable if it’s a man, but the idea of the police/social workers coming in to a hospital to remove a woman’s baby from her really chills me. Even if the woman is a rapist, having gone through pregnancy, I have a sort of gut reaction against the idea of having her child confiscated from her without any contact between mother and child whatsoever. I guess when I interrogate this feeling, I feel that even convicted rapists still have rights, and the right of a mother to raise her child is one of those rights.

    But as I’ve said earlier 99% of the time this person denied parenting rights because they’re a rapist is going to be a man, so, I guess overall it would be a good law.

    Regarding the lack of conviction, I am sure we can all agree that improving the conviction rate of rape prosecutions would solve all kinds of problems. There’s lots of very interesting work being done among feminists on how to achieve this… sadly ther’es very little pick up from the political/court systems, even among politicians who identify as feminists.

  14. 14
    Mandolin says:

    She (or the pregnant person in question) still has the right to raise children, just not children she conceives via rape.

    Convicted pedophiles have rights too, but removing children from their custody is not out of bounds. “you gestate it, you keep it” is not a rule we follow.

    I’m sure we could come up with exploitative, terrible scenarios that could come of applying this thoughtlessly, but I’m not sure they’re going to trump the scenarios on the other side, or the more common general cases.

  15. 15
    Grace Annam says:

    Gracchus:

    …the idea of the police/social workers coming in to a hospital to remove a woman’s baby from her really chills me. Even if the woman is a rapist, having gone through pregnancy, I have a sort of gut reaction against the idea of having her child confiscated from her without any contact between mother and child whatsoever. I guess when I interrogate this feeling, I feel that even convicted rapists still have rights, and the right of a mother to raise her child is one of those rights.

    I have escorted child protective services workers when they took custody of children from the children’s parents. Having read the affidavits, I was perfectly comfortable doing it. Even knowing that the foster care system, broadly, sucks, it was better by far than the situations those children were in.

    I don’t care a lot about the parental rights of convicted rapists. I care much, much more about the children.

    In the context of the discussion a thread or two over, I suppose that asserting that convicted rapists have parental rights, absent any consideration of the rights of the children, would be something of a “Children? What children?” argument.

    I also think it’s a good thing that you’re interrogating that gut feeling. Our gut reactions can be right or wrong, and it’s worth it to test them. For instance, some people have a gut reaction against the idea that people like me exist, and I think that’s well worth subjecting to ethical analysis.

    Grace

  16. 16
    Gracchus says:

    @Grace: So, to clarify – what bothers me is taking away a child from the mother at birth, not taking the child away when the child is fully grown.

    In the cases you’re talking about, I assume the children are being removed because the parent either directly abused them or does things that directly put the child in danger. You seem to think I’m against ever removing a child from the parent’s custody – I’m not. I’m more against, or to be more exact, I’m more unsettled by, the more specific scenario of removing a child from the parent’s custody because of the events of the child’s conception.

    Removing a child from the custody of the mother because she raped the child’s father is kind of different – the mother has not done anything to harm or indirectly harm the child. That’s what makes me uncomfortable. It’s one thing for the state to say “You’ve lost your right to the child because you harmed the child”. It’s quite another to say “You’ve lost your right to the child because you harmed someone else”.

    Perhaps Amp, in his original proposal, believes that all rapists should lose the right to have custody of their children? That may or may not be the law but it would be a consistent position, and not that hard to defend. But given the context of his original idea, which was about what rights should and shouldn’t exist regarding children conceived via rape, I’m not sure that’s what he did mean. Perhaps you could clarify, Amp?

    Anyway, that’s where my discomfort comes from and what it’s about.

    Although can I just say, Grace, as a postscript and since you mentioned it, that I 100% respect your gender identity as valid and would never question it.

  17. 17
    Grace Annam says:

    Gracchus:

    @Grace: So, to clarify – what bothers me is taking away a child from the mother at birth, not taking the child away when the child is fully grown.

    I suspect I understood your meaning, but now I’m not sure. By “fully grown”, you don’t mean to adulthood? Most of the children I’ve seen removed were in the infant-to-5-year-old range.

    In the cases you’re talking about, I assume the children are being removed because the parent either directly abused them or does things that directly put the child in danger.

    That is almost always the case, yes.

    You seem to think I’m against ever removing a child from the parent’s custody – I’m not. I’m more against, or to be more exact, I’m more unsettled by, the more specific scenario of removing a child from the parent’s custody because of the events of the child’s conception.

    I agree that this is a theoretical possibility, though I think it a very unlikely scenario, and thus never at all common. For such a custody action, I would think you’d have to have probable cause, at a bare minimum, that the mother raped the father. Rape cases are almost universally hard to prove, and they take time. I suppose, as a hypothetical, you could have a case where she was charged quickly and pled guilty. Or, where she was charged immediately and proved guilty in a year, so that the child would be about three months old.

    I suppose the question we’re pondering abstractly, here, is whether a one-time disregarding of lack of consent, absent violence or other factor which adds to the severity of the crime, is sufficient grounds to remove a child into state custody, even if the parent seems adequate otherwise. I’m going to make a confident guess that under current law, it is not, in the same way that someone can be convicted of multiple assaults on someone else entirely and still retain their custody rights. (These situations can seem very strange. I’ve seen a case where the father assaulted the mother with their five-year-old child present in the house, then held off the police in an armed standoff with the mother and child as de facto hostages, and still somehow the child was taken to visit the father in jail.)

    Partly, this is a balancing of traumas; any good analysis takes into account consequences on both sides of the question. In such cases, the question is not, “Is this a good situation for the child?” The question is, “Is this situation better than removal to an underfunded and overburdened foster care system?” (Presuming that no other family is available to take custody.)

    Removing a child from the custody of the mother because she raped the child’s father is kind of different – the mother has not done anything to harm or indirectly harm the child. That’s what makes me uncomfortable. It’s one thing for the state to say “You’ve lost your right to the child because you harmed the child”. It’s quite another to say “You’ve lost your right to the child because you harmed someone else”.

    Anyway, that’s where my discomfort comes from and what it’s about.

    Thank you for clarifying. I take your point, and I agree that one mistake — even a bad one like sexual assault — should not per se result in a change in custody. It should, however, prompt scrutiny into the overall situation of the child’s welfare, which scrutiny is likely, though not certain, to bring other problems to light.

    Although can I just say, Grace, as a postscript and since you mentioned it, that I 100% respect your gender identity as valid and would never question it.

    Thank you.

    Grace

  18. 18
    Gracchus says:

    Hi Grace

    Thanks for your thoughtful response.

    I agree the scenario I am talking about would be super rare, especially with current rates of rape conviction. I was responding to Amp’s statement that ” I also think that convicted rapists should automatically lose custody of (and all contact with) any baby conceived during the rape.” He was responding to somebody talking about the possibility of women raping men, so while I agree that the scenario is going to be very rare, I wasn’t the one who originally raised it. It’s Amp’s specific proposal about automatic loss of custody + contact on proof of rape that made me uncomfortable. Although I understand where he’s coming from, I still can’t entirely shake that discomfort. Although given that such a proposal, rightly or wrongly, is unlikely to become law anywhere anytime soon, my discomfort is really just theoretical. But we were discussing what should be, not what is or will be, so I felt expressing my discomfort (in waht I hope was a way respectful to everybody) was appropriate.

  19. 19
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    It’s actually nigh impossible for the woman to become pregnant if a woman rapes a man in most cases, because rape is usually defined as penetration of the victim. So unless the woman has a penis and the man a vagina, which given the number of trans people seems like a very unlikely combination*, I don’t see how this could happen.

    The data suggests that intercourse against the will of the man is almost never prosecuted, unless the man is actually a boy and statutory rape laws apply. Fortunately, the unwillingness to see men as potential victims of female sexual violence does not fully extend to boys (although male perpetrators get 50% longer sentences than female perpetrators, suggesting substantial gender bias).

    So if we assume that the aforementioned law would be implemented without changing other laws and/or culture, the typical boy/man who sought custody would thus be either underage or very young. Typically, such a person would not (yet) have a job, a decent income and such. Also, the boy/man is likely to be immature. In short, not a great parent, especially a single parent.

    So from a practical perspective, such a law seems to not be very appropriate for when it currently can be invoked.

    It seems to me that the first steps ought to be to change rape laws to be gender neutral, to apply such laws in a (more) gender neutral way and to encourage men to seek legal remedies in the same situations where we encourage women to do so.

    Once good progress had been made here, we might see a decent number of cases where adult men want custody after having intercourse against their will; including mature, established men who can make a good case for themselves on talk shows. This may then in turn reduce the discomfort that people have with the idea of giving these men custody at some point.

    * And my understanding is that penetration is not necessarily possible for transwomen with a penis, due to the effect of hormones.

  20. LoL:

    It’s actually nigh impossible for the woman to become pregnant if a woman rapes a man in most cases, because rape is usually defined as penetration of the victim. So unless the woman has a penis and the man a vagina, which given the number of trans people seems like a very unlikely combination*, I don’t see how this could happen.

    Perhaps you have already done this, but, if you haven’t, I’d suggest you google “forced to penetrate.” It happens far more often than what you’ve written here would seem to suggest you think it does.

  21. 21
    Gracchus says:

    I think the point LoL is trying to make is that the legal definition of rape (in the USA, presumably) doesn’t cover the actual definition of rape, which does indeed cover the scenario described where someone who is capable of impregnating someone (perhaps a man) is forced to penetrate someone who is capable of being impregnated (possibly a woman).

    This is an important issue, but I don’t think it directly affects what we we were talking about. I say this because I think that all of us here, regardless of what we think about other aspects of how the law should treat sexual violence, are pretty much all in agreement that, where laws define rape as excluding the “forced to penetrate” scenario, this should be corrected. So, I assumed when Amp was talking about what he’d like the law to be viz: custody and children born as a result of rape, he also wanted the law to be changed so that this scenario legally counts as “rape”.

  22. 22
    Mandolin says:

    Thanks, Gracchus. Agreed.

  23. 23
    Mandolin says:

    ETA: I’m not sure gracchus is fully correct on the current state of US law (I also don’t want to look it up, so, ymmv) — but I sincerely hope that everyone on this thread does indeed agree that forced penetration should be a legal and moral crime.

  24. You may be right, Gracchus. I guess I missed the irony in LoL’s comment, or at least in that paragraph.

  25. 25
    Grace Annam says:

    Historically, the FBI Uniform Crime Reports defined rape as penetration, and not as being penetrated. This has long been regarded as significant problem in the accuracy and utility of the UCR data. There have been efforts to get the definition updated, and I can’t remember if it finally got done or not.

    However, this is not universal in the United States. For instance, in New Hampshire, Felonious Sexual Assault is defined thus:

    632-A:3 Felonious Sexual Assault. – 
    A person is guilty of a class B felony if such person: 
    I. Subjects a person to sexual contact and causes serious personal injury to the victim under any of the circumstances named in RSA 632-A:2; or 
    II. Engages in sexual penetration with a person, other than his legal spouse, who is 13 years of age or older and under 16 years of age where the age difference between the actor and the other person is 4 years or more; or 
    III. Engages in sexual contact with a person other than his legal spouse who is under 13 years of age. 
    IV. (a) Engages in sexual contact with the person, or causes the person to engage in sexual contact on himself or herself in the presence of the actor, when the actor is in a position of authority over the person and uses that authority to coerce the victim to submit under any of the following circumstances

    The language “engages in sexual penetration” does not specify who is the penetrator and who is the penetratee.

    So, it varies by jurisdiction.

    Grace

  26. 26
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Richard Jeffrey Newman,

    That term was invented because PIV and passive oral intercourse with men against their will is not part of the definition of rape as used by scientific studies. Only fairly recently have there been (CDC) surveys asking about this, using that separate term, finding about equal numbers as what women report for rape.

    Note the exclusion of this data from decades of studies was not a mere oversight. The pioneer in rape surveys, Mary Koss, intentionally excluded male victims of female sexual violence because she believed that these victims are far less traumatized/damaged than female victims. I personally think that she politicized her science by doing so, mixing an interpretation of the facts with the collecting of facts itself, in a way that has reinforced false beliefs in society (that female sexual aggression is very rare) and has hampered scientific progress. After all, later studies copied her definitions and methods.

    Claims that male victims are less traumatized should be openly made and its conflicts with certain theories confronted. After all, such a claim clashes quite strongly with a ‘blank slate’ view on gender (and according to a ‘mixed slate’ view, may at least be partially cultural), which demands answers. If men are not in fact biologically far more resilient, then (seemingly) less traumatized behavior can have causes like these:
    – men react to sexual trauma in ways that is not recognized as traumatized behavior (perhaps because the female response is the norm)
    – society tells these men that their trauma cannot be due to sexual aggression at the hands of women, so it gets misattributed
    – socialization actually makes men more resilient (which in turn provides new questions like: Can we make women more resilient and what are the upsides and downsides of doing so? Will men become more easily traumatized with less ‘toxic masculinity?’)

    IMO, as a society we have hardly begun to address this issue.

    Anyway, what I meant to convey is that we are at a point where only a tiny fraction of adult men seek judicial remedies, which is a prerequisite for a law as proposed by Ampersand actually having an effect. Adult men won’t be getting custody after being made to penetrate due to a law that grants them custody after such an event, if there is no conviction in the first place.

  27. 28
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Grace,

    I see an appeal to authority based on experience: “If you have not done abortions at or after 24 weeks or referred a woman for an abortion at or after 24 weeks you are not an expert on the subject)”

    This ignores that particular experiences and/or the perception of those experiences are often not representative & that (better) expertise can come from research. Gunther herself notes that one reason why she may not be seeing late abortions for non-medical reasons is that these are not paid for by insurance. This can mean that these abortions are then not done at all, but it’s also possible that this creates market segregation.

    For example, imagine the theoretical case where you have two options for late abortions:
    – Dr Jen, who provides high quality abortions for lots of money, which is compensated fully by insurance when the abortion is for medical reasons.
    – Dr Kermit, who provides mediocre abortions for much less money.

    It’s then perfectly possible for all the women who want to have a late abortion, but cannot get the insurance to pay for it (either because the abortion in that situation is not insured for or the women are not insured), to end up with Kermit, while all the women who are insured and want to have an abortion for medical reasons end up with Jen. Then Jen may believe that only abortions for medical reasons happen (and that almost no women without insurance get a late abortion) because of what she experiences, but hers would not be a (fully) representative experience.

    There are many other possible reasons why her claim may be wrong. Perhaps she works/worked in places with a certain culture that is not universal. Perhaps the whisper network results in women being told that Gunther (or the place where she works) is not the right choice for late abortions for non-medical reasons, but that someone/somewhere else is. Perhaps her biases make her draw false conclusions. It’s well known that people often perceive their actual experiences incorrectly, which is why it’s not uncommon to ask people who want to improve their budgeting or who want to lose weight to write down all their payments or all they eat. People are then often surprised at expenses that are much higher than they thought or how much calories they ingest between meals. Perception is not objective.

    This is why proper research into these things is important. Practitioners often overestimate their expertise.

    Note that other practitioners have made claims that are different from Gunther, which would be impossible if first hand experience is actually sufficient to figure out the truth.

    PS. I got rather irritated at her insistence that it’s unthinkable for women to only realize they are pregnant very late. This is definitely possible for women who have irregular periods, whose pregnancy is not very visible and/or confused for weight gain and/or who are in denial. Some of this is actually correlated: obesity can cause irregular periods, but also tends to make it less obvious that an increased belly size is due to a pregnancy. A non-negligible number of women actually only realized they were pregnant during labor/birth.

  28. 29
    lurker23 says:

    i do not know who gunter is arguing with? not anyone who is here.

    because i am having a not busy day i want to propose a rule and i think it will make the argument much better, so i am sure nobody will want to do it :)

    it should work like this:

    first, everyone has to say if you think there should be ANY limit on when someone can get an abortion, ever. (i do not think so, i do not care when they get an abortion, but i know that i am not like most people)

    then, if you think there is a limit (this is not me so i do not need to do this part), you should have to describe CLEARLY as best as you can, two things that are close to the edges, one of them “yes abortion okay” and one of them “we should make the mother have the baby”.

    otherwise it is like people are attacking a position as “not-good” and pretending that they are right. but none of the positions are perfect so we need to know what position is BETTER and you cannot know “there are problems with lurker” because so what, mine can still be best, or “there are good things about lurker” because mine can still be not-best!

    too many things in the abortion talks are people who are only talking about what is NOT right when the conversation should be about what IS right.

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