I am an African-American male with a Ph.D. and post-doctoral studies in Theology and Philosophy. Contrary to the TAK (Traditional Analysis of Knowledge), I believe that Inspiration is also a source of knowledge, therefore my blog, Provocative Inspiration
Invoking God, the Oklahoma House of Representatives just passed a bill outlawing abortion in cases of fetal abnormality—with no exception for rape or incest.
Republican politicians frequently have to say dumb and vile things to justify abortion bans that don't allow exceptions under any circumstances—including pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, or if the woman's life is in danger. The latest example comes from an Oklahoma state representative, George Faught, who introduced a bill that would ban abortions due to fetal genetic abnormalities or Down syndrome. The bill would make it illegal for doctors to perform abortions under that criteria; those who refuse to comply could have their licenses suspended or revoked and face fines of up to $100,000.
Defending the fact that the ban would have no exceptions, Faught suggested that "rape and incest could be part of God's will," according to the Huffington Post. And when Democratic members of the state's House challenged him, asking him directly if rape was the will of God, he seemed to imply that, since rape was in the Bible, it's just a natural part of life that women have to deal with.
"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." Regarding incest, he said, "Same answer."
When Faught added that the line of questioning from the Democrats "doesn't deal with this bill," they made clear to him that it does. "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," Rep. Cory Williams said. "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 [rape and incest] happens in someone's life, it may not be the best thing that ever happened," he said. "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 moved by this testimony, as the bill passed in the House with 67 votes. In a statement to a local NBC station after the vote, Faught spoke of the "beauty" of pregnancy that results from rape or 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," he said.
Even in the worst circumstances, God can bring beauty from ashes
Faught's statement, and the the bill—which was authored at the request of an anti-abortion group—have been condemned by doctors and healthcare advocates. "This bill is a deeply damaging to reproductive healthcare, as well as the doctor-patient relationship," the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice said 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 that uses his personal dogma to explain away violent crimes against women."
Faught tried to pass a bill like this last year, but it failed after Senate amendments. According to the Guttmacher institute, only one other state—North Dakota—has a law that bans abortion on the basis of fetal abnormalities. Two other states have attempted to institute similar legislation, but federal courts have intervened, temporarily blocking the laws from taking effect; pro-choice advocates say Oklahoma will face similar legal challenges if the bill becomes law.
"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," Julie Burkhart, the founder and CEO of one of only three abortion clinics in the state, told a local news outlet. "So it really works to penalize women, their partners, their families for just trying to make good decisions for themselves."
Indeed, there are many reasons women choose to terminate their pregnancies when they learn the fetus they are carrying has a genetic abnormality. In some instances, the abnormality may be so severe that it will be incompatible with life. It's also often the case that severe conditions are detected late in pregnancy, so many late-term abortion restrictions already pose hurdles to women in these situations. But no matter the circumstance, bills like the one proposed in Oklahoma tell women that they don't have the right to decide what's best for their families and their own bodies—only God and old white men do