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Grayson writes: "I may well be the only Democratic candidate who is willing to undertake a mature conversation on this subject, and not just fling trite cliches in your general direction."

Alan Grayson fought to restore funding for abortions for incest victims in prison. (photo: Shutterstock)
Alan Grayson fought to restore funding for abortions for incest victims in prison. (photo: Shutterstock)


Abortion and Incest

By Rep. Alan Grayson, Reader Supported News

26 September 14

 

his is the only post that you will read from a Democrat during this election season regarding abortion. The only one. Because I may well be the only Democratic candidate who is willing to undertake a mature conversation on this subject, and not just fling trite clichés in your general direction. So you might as well enjoy it, right?

A few months ago, I was reading the appropriations bill for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. (Yes, I actually read the bills. As Yogi Berra once said, "You can see a lot by just looking.") I noticed something odd. Since 1976, federal appropriations bills often have forbidden the use of federal funds to pay for an abortion, except in cases of incest or rape. This is known as the Hyde Amendment, after its author Henry Hyde (R-IL). It was an anti-choice response to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

So what was odd? That this appropriations bill forbade the use of federal funds to pay for an abortion, except in the case of rape only. Only rape. Not incest. (There also was a provision regarding the life of the mother.)

There isn't a lot of time to goof around over appropriations bills. We generally see them with barely 24 hours' notice. So I wrote a quick corrective amendment, to allow federal funds for abortions in cases of both incest and rape. Obviously, since I'm pro-choice, I regard that as far too narrow. However, in the Tea Party's House, I didn't think that I was going to win that battle that day. I just tried to correct an obvious error.

Why bother? I'll tell you why. Because if you are the victim of incest, and while you are pregnant you end up in federal prison, you can't just flag a taxi and drive over to the nearest Planned Parenthood clinic. Prison wardens frown on that.

So I walked across the street (something else that federal prisoners can't do), and waited patiently until it was my turn to offer my amendment. I didn't think that it was going to be a big deal.

It was.

Quite to my surprise, the GOP's "floor manager" expressed bitter opposition to the very notion that incarcerated victims of incest might want to terminate their pregnancies. It was intolerable! It was despicable! Had I no respect for life itself???

Well, I lost that vote. That wasn't one of the fifty or so floor amendments that I have pushed over the finish line during the past two years.

I felt bad about it, because I couldn't stop thinking about those female prisoners. It was hard enough that they were being denied control over where their bodies were, but even worse that they were being denied control over what was in them. And control over your own body is the most fundamental human right of all.

Later that day the GOP floor manager, to his credit, came over to me and told me that I had made a good point, and that he would "fix it" next year. So why couldn't he concede that point, and give me my amendment? Because politics, that's why.

I was reminded of this recently because I looked at some video clips of my GOP opponent. My opponent says that she is opposed to all abortions, under any circumstances, period. And then exclamation point.

Here is her "reasoning": When she was born, in North Carolina 57 years ago, abortion was a felony. (As it was in every state except New Jersey, where it was a misdemeanor.) North Carolina did not legalize abortion until 1970. She is concerned that if abortion had been legal in North Carolina when she was conceived, then she might have been aborted. "Therefore," all abortion should be illegal, she says.

Whoa.

Philosophy majors will recognize this as a bizarro, twilight version of Immanuel Kant's "Categorical Imperative." Immanuel Kant might have made that argument, had he not been a great philosopher but rather, an idiot.

Anyway, in just six weeks, the voters in FL-9 will have a choice. They can vote for a candidate who feels some degree of concern about women who are the victims of incest, who are incarcerated, and who then are forced to bear, and then bear, the consequence of that incest. Or they can vote for a candidate who fears that she might be retroactively aborted, and then incorporates that fear into her political platform.

I seriously hope that they vote for me.

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+108 # tswhiskers 2014-09-26 09:04
This is just ANOTHER example of how crazy the abortion issue has become in the U.S. There is only one good reason I can think of to forbid an abortion and that is that the couple don't like the sex of the fetus (usually a girl) and want to abort it. But even that reason would probably force them to lie about why they wanted it. In the end there is no good reason to deny an abortion. To the argument that the mother may come to regret the abortion, all I can say is, that's life. We all have regrets about some things we've done. Adoption may be an answer, but not always. Good luck, Alan.
 
 
+124 # MEBrowning 2014-09-26 09:13
Alan Grayson has something that too few congressional representatives and candidates do not — and that's the courage to speak up for average citizens and call out the crazies. Who but Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are doing that these days? Alan, when you run for president, you have my vote.
 
 
-71 # margpark 2014-09-26 09:37
I find it a bit unbelievable that justice moves that fast anywhere in this country. If your dad rapes you one night and you are arrested the next day (possibly for killing the S.O.B.) that pregnancy will be over one way or the other long before you reach federal prison. Might be nice if justice worked more quickly but a pregnancy only lasts nine months.
 
 
+74 # conniejo 2014-09-26 09:47
But it won't be over before you find yourself in jail. Some will be arrested and held without bail. Others will be arrested and will be unable to come up with the bail money.
 
 
+62 # Lgfoot 2014-09-26 10:44
Federal criminal cases are on the 'rocket docket', often set for trial in 30 days. A plea can be even quicker, of course.
Thankfully, the problem probably arises only rarely, but what a nightmare when it does. Thanks, Alan, for being normal.
 
 
+86 # Granny Weatherwax 2014-09-26 10:36
"She is concerned that if abortion had been legal in North Carolina when she was conceived, then she might have been aborted. "Therefore," all abortion should be illegal, she says."

Funny, this is why I consider it should be legal :)
 
 
+20 # Texas Aggie 2014-09-26 12:27
Thanks for nothing. You just made me spew ice tea all over my monitor and keyboard. ;)
 
 
+55 # Buddha 2014-09-26 11:03
This is because in banjo-picking-G OP-land, if you allow abortion for cases of incest, there will be way too many abortion cases allowed.
 
 
+46 # neohip 2014-09-26 11:35
You will be getting my vote Mr. Grayson!
 
 
+22 # kej1 2014-09-26 12:22
"She is concerned that if abortion had been legal in North Carolina when she was conceived, then she might have been aborted"

Wow! What a novel idea: let's set up laws that ensure that our present day legislators would have been born no matter what!
Let's just hope that none of our prospective legislators is a product of incest or rape, or we might have to make those legal.
 
 
+50 # Majikman 2014-09-26 12:30
The abortion issue has, at its root, nothing to do with abortion but with denying rights to people. Once a woman is denied the fundamental right to control her own body and medical care then all other rights are easily stripped away...equal pay, equal access to the law, autonomy, etc. The fetus freaks care nothing about the life of babies or children, who can starve for all their punitive WIC laws so aptly demonstrate.
 
 
+27 # A_Har 2014-09-26 12:31
"....Or they can vote for a candidate who fears that she might be retroactively aborted, and then incorporates that fear into her political platform."

LOL! If she is that stupid, too bad she wasn't aborted.
 
 
+28 # bmiluski 2014-09-26 14:52
I'm trying to figure out what sort of family is she from that would make her think that her mother would have aborted her.
 
 
+3 # Passing Through 2014-09-28 12:51
Quoting bmiluski:
I'm trying to figure out what sort of family is she from that would make her think that her mother would have aborted her.

I was wondering that myself...
 
 
+35 # wullen 2014-09-26 15:10
What is not to love about this man. When's the last time anyone heard a politician quote Emmanuel Kant? We love you Alan. Please send him $. The DCCC won't give him any!
 
 
+16 # tomtom 2014-09-26 15:34
With all the dissent among peoples, the world over, on so many matters, if women united, only, on the right to drive, they would have the most formidable power on earth, able to shake, move and change every institution, government and private army. Scare me!
 
 
+31 # PABLO DIABLO 2014-09-26 16:12
THANK YOU Alan Grayson. Not only are you smart and not bought off by corporate OR military interests, but from previous articles you have written, you also still have a sense of humor. Again, THANK YOU Alan Grayson. PLEASE run for president (or at least vice president). We desperately need a better choice than Hillary or Jeb.
 
 
+32 # Art947 2014-09-26 18:56
Why is it that every time we hear Republicans complain about abortion, we always need to remind ourselves that they only believe in the sanctity of human life until a fetus leaves the womb? After birth, Republicans have no qualms about abandoning the mother and child. We see this in their lack of support for EVERY child care proposal - WIC, food stamps, child care services, pre-K education, etc. In fact, this principle also applies to older children as these same individuals have no problem sending these young men and women off to war!

Thank you Alan Grayson for calling them out on their ignorance.
 
 
+26 # Bev 2014-09-26 19:04
Alan, you are not a politician but a true Statesman!
Thank you!
 
 
+5 # Passing Through 2014-09-28 12:19
Quoting ericlipps:
[This] appropriations bill forbade the use of federal funds to pay for an abortion, except in the case of rape only. Only rape. Not incest.

The distinction between rape and incest is an oddly nebulous one; while there is presumably a certain amount of authentically consensual incest occurring, most incest is an act of at least coercion, if not actual violence. If a relative forcing sexual congress on another relative isn't considered rape, what is it? The law recognizes marital rape, so it's a strange vacuum...
 
 
+3 # Cassandra2012 2014-09-29 17:29
When a father or uncle rapes a little girl who is his daughter or niece, that is INCEST--even more horrible and despicable than the regular run-of-the-mill -rape -- date, college, boyfriend, husband, stranger--- rape which these lowlife congressmen do recognize--- maybe, I wonder, because their own family behavior is questionable... ?
 
 
+14 # ericlipps 2014-09-27 06:37
[This] appropriations bill forbade the use of federal funds to pay for an abortion, except in the case of rape only. Only rape. Not incest.

Well, after all, we have to make sure there's an adequate supply of inbreds to grow up and vote for candidates of the "tea party." (Or whatever beverage they're naming themselves after by then.)
 
 
+3 # Passing Through 2014-09-28 12:47
If history is any indicator, it will be Kool-Aid. Buy shares in Kraft Foods...
 
 
+2 # elvenflow 2014-09-29 05:43
There is a small crossroads in NC near Wilmington which is just like Game of Thrones-multipl e generations with the only procreative male being the father/grandfat her/greatgrandf ather. Now many are born without teeth. That cannot be a good idea.
 
 
0 # Passing Through 2014-09-30 20:37
Sounds a lot like "The Peacock Brothers" episode from "The X Files." That episode was so disturbing that it never aired in re-runs.
 
 
+3 # GeorgePenman 2014-09-29 09:46
A real conservative would be careful of our only habitable planet. Clearly, population now exceeds the carrying capacity of the one place we can survive. But...Republica ns think any population restraint is contrary to their medieval religion. Women should be allowed to make their own choices. We should hope that population can be kept within sustainable boundaries. It doesn't look that way though.
http://www.seconnecticut.com/vetorepublicans.html
 

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