Indiana’s Eric Turner Doesn’t Trust Women to Make Choices OR Tell the Truth


Earlier this week, Indiana state representative Eric Turner (R) achieved the impressive feat of denying women’s reproductive rights and perpetuating a victim-doubting rape culture, both at the same time! As Indiana’s House prepared to vote on a severely restrictive anti-abortion bill, Turner argued that if exceptions were allowed for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, someone who is desirous of an abortion could simply say that they’ve been raped or there’s incest.” Like the mistrust of women that rears its head virtually every time a well-liked celebrity or politician is accused of rape, Turner’s “concern” rests on (and serves to perpetuate) an all-too-prevalent notion that women are prone to simply inventing rape stories on a whim, especially where the potential exists for personal gain—whether that “gain” is a massive financial settlement from a star athlete or access to an abortion (which should have been freely available in the first place). The reality, of course, is that rape is incredibly underreported, not over reported. And with men like Turner speaking out on the issue, it’s not difficult to see why. This is exactly the kind of rhetoric that silences women, that leads them to fear ever coming forward with rape allegations in the first place because of the likelihood that they will be shamed, ridiculed, or just plain disbelieved.

What we are dealing with are two sides of the same coin: one which mistrusts women to tell the truth, and the other which mistrusts us with the ability to make our own reproductive choices. If nothing else, Turner managed to quite successfully demonstrate how interconnected the two issues are. Silencing the voices of victims and restricting our access to abortion are both ways of maintaining a status quo in which our bodies are not our own. And it is, unfortunately, a status quo which does not appear to be shifting anytime soon: Indiana’s House voted by an overwhelming majority in favor of the anti-choice bill, and rejected the amendment that would have allowed for rape and incest exceptions.

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  • forced-birth-rape

    Republicans do not give a damn about raped women, or raped little girls, not a tiny damn. Republicans love rape.

    Women are for sex, babies, and serving men. Even little girls according to the pro-rape republicans. The American christian taliban is the republican party.

    Eric Turner can not get pregnant and like penis rapist he is on a power trip, with the rest of the pro-forced-birth men. Imagine the thrill they get doing with a pen what they can not do with their penis.

    When these people look at the little girls they see nothing but shiny new baby machines, that is all.

  • noworsethanusual

    Democrat Congressman Says . . .

     

    The press release below went up today (April 1) on the website of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).  I have reviewed the linked video, and the transcript is accurate regarding Congressman’s Ron Kind’s remarks yesterday. Yet so far, there has not been a word of criticism from any pro-choice group.  Could that be because Kind is a pro-choice Democrat?

     

    Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wi.) argues that some women would falsely accuse boyfriends or husbands of rape in order to preserve federally subsidized abortion benefits


    WASHINGTON (April 1, 2011) — On March 31, 2011, the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives conducted a voting session (called a “mark up”) on H.R. 1232. This bill would prevent a number of federal tax credits and tax deductions from being used for abortion, or for health plans that cover abortion, but contains exceptions for abortions sought in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

    During debate, one member of the committee, Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wisconsin), indicated that he opposed the bill in part because it “could lead to some very perverse unintended consequences,” specifically, that women would falsely accuse boyfriends or husbands of rape in order to continue to qualify for a tax-subsidized abortion.

    A verbatim transcript of Mr. Kind’s remarks follows (he addresses his remarks to Thomas A. Barthold, chief of staff for the Joint Committee on Taxation, who was answering questions from committee members):


    Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wisconsin): Well, Mr. Barthold, one of my fears of what’s before us today is that it could lead to some very perverse unintended consequences — almost encouraging low-income women, that would have this benefit denied from them, to file false claims of rape — whether it’s against a boyfriend, whether it’s against an acquaintance, perhaps even a husband — in order to avoid, you know, the consequences that this legislation, the financial consequences that this legislation would bring. And I’m not quite sure how many of my colleagues on the other side have just thought through those unintended results — the filing of false issues like that.


    A video of Mr. Kind’s remarks is here – the transcribed portion begins at about 2 minutes and 5 seconds into the video. The entire exchange runs 3 minutes, 45 seconds.

    Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), who was present at the committee meeting, offered the following comments:

    “It’s not a new thing for Congressman Ron Kind to vote to support federal tax subsidies for abortion on demand, as he did again on March 31 — but he came up with a new argument, that he fears that women will file false rape claims against boyfriends or husbands, in order to qualify for tax-subsidized abortion. It is true that some taxpayers of both sexes sometimes tell lies, but does Kind really believe that lots of women will falsely accuse their intimate associates of a serious crime, in order to get a tax-subsidized abortion? He seems to assume a high level of dishonesty and a low level of common sense among the low-income women to whom he refers, presumably including those residing in his own district. We think it would show more sincerity on Kind’s part if he just admitted that he wants to vote to please the pro-abortion activist groups that favor federal subsidies for elective abortion, and stop trying to hide behind ludicrous arguments like this one.”

    Rep. Kind has served in the House since 1997, during which time he has been present for roll call votes on major pro-life issues, scored by NRLC, on 92 occasions. Kind has voted on the pro-life side only 9 percent of the time. To see his entire history on NRLC-scored issues, click here, then click the “Votes” tab, then click “more key votes.”

    H.R. 1232 was approved by the Ways and Means Committee by a vote of 22-14, with Rep. Kind voting “no.” H.R. 1232 will be combined with a broader bill to permanently prohibit federal funding of abortion, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3). A description of H.R. 3 and a current list of co-sponsors is found here. Recent congressional testimony on the policy issues surrounding federal subsidies for abortion is found here.

    For further information on H.R. 1232 and other pro-life issues in Congress, call the NRLC Federal Legislation Department at 202-626-8820, or send e-mail to legfederal@aol.com.

  • angi-becker-stevens

    I hadn’t heard about Kind’s remarks previously, but I find them as deplorable as Turner’s, even if his ultimate stance is more aligned with mine. I’m not a Democrat or a Republican; I have no party bias when it comes to calling out misogyny from the legislation. The fact that a pro-choice politician is also capable of blatant sexism, however, doesn’t serve as an argument against choice. It just demonstrates that there’s unfortunately sexism on both sides of the divide.

  • ldan

    First, pro-choice groups, while generally feminist at the core, are not about specifically feminist activism. Given that Rep. Kind is aiming at a pro-choice result, most of those groups aren’t going to call him on the carpet for it when he’s arguing to oppose the bill in its entirety.

     

    I can one point to his argument, which is that women who are desperate to end a pregnancy could find themselves in the bind where they can remain truthful and retain their pregnancy vs. claiming that there was a rape and ending it. Given that women will go to far more desperate lengths to end unwanted pregnancies, I don’t find that a farfetched scenario. (depending on what’s required to ‘prove’ rape anyway. Given the very low rates of using this exception for Medicaid dollars, I would imagine the hurdles are higher than simply writing “I was raped” on some paperwork.)

     

    One difference between the two is that Rep. Kind is arguing that it is wrong to pass a law that will put women into that situation in the first place, while Rep. Turner prefers to simply take away the option for victims of rape to have a way out of carrying their rapist’s fetus. Which of those sounds like it’s coming from a position with an iota of compassion?

     

    Where Rep. Kind goes misogynistically wrong, it to say that women would necessarily falsely accuse anyone of rape. Unless the law has a requirement that those seeking this exception prosecute their rapists, there is no reason to expect that there would be a rash of false rape accusations, particularly against women’s own partners…not given how insanely hard it is to go through the wheels of trying to get a rape prosecuted in the first place.

     

    Where Turner goes misogynistically wrong is to think that restricting abortion is a good idea in the first place, he then compounds it by thinking that because some women will be desperate enough to label themselves as rape victims, that this is a good reason to deny exception to rape victims. That’s like saying that since there are going to be a some scofflaws out there faking back injuries to scam Worker’s Comp, we should do away with Worker’s Comp altogether and let injured workers just get along without that help. (yeah, I know there are some in that crowd who think that’s a great idea too…that still doesn’t mean it makes any sense.)

  • ldan

    Agreed.

     

    I mean, I can almost see where he’s coming from in trying to empathize with women in the situation of needing an abortion under this law. Given the lengths women will go to in order to get an abortion, I can see imagining a situation where a woman would be in this horrible bind of seeing being stuck with the choice of lying to obtain an abortion, or not being able to obtain it at all.

     

    In that situation, if I didn’t have to accuse anyone in particular, I’d lie in a heartbeat. In that case, I think you’d be more likely to see a jump in “stranger jumping out of the bushes” scenarios reported. It’s creepy as all hell that he assumes women would be accusing their boyfriends/husbands/partners.

  • douglasjohnson

    Seveal readers voted to rate NoWorseThanUsual’s post as a “1,” in order to move it into the”dead zone” of hidden posts.  Apparently, they did not want a wide readership to see that a “pro-choice” congressional Democrat, Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), said on March 31 that a bill to remove certain federal tax credits for abortion ”could lead to some very perverse unintended consequences,” specifically, that women would falsely accuse boyfriends or husbands of rape in order to continue to qualify for a tax-subsidized abortion.  Yet, the author of the original blog essay, Amy Becker Stevens, apparently found Congressman Kind’s remarks to be worthy of review and of condemnation.  She writes above that she hadn’t previously heard about Kind’s remarks, before reading NoWorseThanUsual’s post.  The reason she hadn’t heard about Kind’s remarks as that none of the reporters present for the hearing — and there were many — reported Kind’s remarks, and none of the pro-choice groups (whose lobbyists were present in force at the committee meeting) have uttered a single word criticizing Kind.   Those who want to hide Kind’s remarks from the readers here reflect the same mentality.

     

    Douglas Johnson

    Legislative Director

    National Right to Life Committee

    Washington, D.C.

    Legfederal // at // aol, dot, com

  • arekushieru

    Firstly, I think there is some serious cognitive disconnect going on.  The ratings that are given, here, are made by individual posters.  It isn’t a professional rating system.  In other words, there is no intent on RHReality Check’s part to bury the comment.  It is done independently of their auspices, after all.

    Secondly, I think the comments were buried for reasons other than what you think, as you would discover if you had read L-dan’s comments.

     

     

     

     

  • arekushieru

    I agree with most of your points, as usual, but, I believe, just like the ProLife position inherently promulgates a misogynistic view, the ProChoice position inherently promulgates a feminist one, it’s the individuals that belie that line of thinking.

    Unless the law has a requirement that those seeking this exception prosecute their rapists, there is no reason to expect that there would be a rash of false rape accusations, particularly against women’s own partners…

    And I’m somewhat confused by this statement.  Unless the individuals seeking to prosecute the rapists that you refer to aren’t the women who find themselves in such desperate need of the service, but rather the ones seeking to create the exception?

  • rebellious-grrl

    Congratulations you are tonight’s winner of the “Cut and Paste Troll Award!” Do you have any thoughts of your own? Didn’t think so.

  • ldan

    Sorry I wasn’t clear. If the law doesn’t have a requirement to prosecute, there would be no reason to do more than say “I was raped.” Thus no rash of false accusations that actually lead to people being prosecuted. Not having seen the law itself, I don’t want to assume what burden of proof they’re asking for. I still think it’s creepy that he assumes desperate women will accuse their partners of rape though.

     

    I think the pro-choice position creates outcomes that meet feminist goals. But I also think it’s completely possible for someone to be staunchly pro-choice while still being a raging misogynist. There’s lots of intersection, and I don’t think that one can be feminist and anti-choice without some major cognitive dissonance going on.

  • rebellious-grrl

    Don’t feel bad, you’re the second runner up to the “Cut and Paste Troll Award” tonight. Boo hoo. All comments are voted on. Read the comment policy.

  • ldan

    I’m not going to copy/paste my entire comment. But you might have some hint as to why the copy/paste talking point above was rated trollish if you consider this (one, small, copy/pasted part of my post above…should you actually want to respond to it in context rather than as a standalone.)

     

    One difference between the two is that Rep. Kind is arguing that it is wrong to pass a law that will put women into that situation in the first place, while Rep. Turner prefers to simply take away the option for victims of rape to have a way out of carrying their rapist’s fetus. Which of those sounds like it’s coming from a position with an iota of compassion?

  • rebellious-grrl

    Thank you L-dan!

  • goatini

    here to unleash a torrent of cognitively dissonant false equivalency, hoping that us uppity wimmenz will heed his mighty male forced-birther authority!

    Stuff it, Cartman, you’ve got plenty of right wing and Christo-fascist noise machine media platforms on which to go spew your misogynistic bile. We female citizens of the United States, whose struggle for full equality and citizenship, our Constitutional rights, our liberty, dignity and autonomy, and our very freedoms as US citizens, are what you and your kind EXIST ONLY TO FIGHT, DESTROY, AND THEN FORCE US BACK TO THE STATUS OF CHATTEL AND LIVESTOCK, owe you ZERO airtime on RHRC.

    We own this microphone, and YOU are an intruder here.