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There’s Nothing Beautiful About Rape

Dear West Virginia Delegate Brian Kurcaba,

In general, I like to keep things funny. I’m a humor writer and it takes a lot to get me to stop cracking jokes. In fact, there are very few subjects about which I can’t find the funny. But when I read your recent comments arguing to abolish all post 20-week abortions, even for victims of rape, I wasn’t laughing. According to reporter David Gutman of the Charleston Gazette you said, “Obviously rape is awful. What is beautiful is the child that could come from this.”

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For those not keeping track of West Virginia politics, your comments were part of a committee hearing on a proposed ban of all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. In 2014, your state governor vetoed the bill. But now your Republican-led State House is working to revive the bill, which would not exclude rape victims from the post 20-week ban. Your argument being that a child born from rape is, “Beautiful.”

Beautiful is laughter and love, nature and kindness. Beautiful is not a violent attack.

You aren’t the first politician to make some version of this argument, though usually your colleagues like to say a child born out of rape is God’s will as opposed to your choice to say it’s beautiful. I’m going to assume you’ve never been raped and fortunately neither have I, but I’m pretty sure if you were to ask any victim of sexual assault, they will tell you there is nothing beautiful about it. Beautiful is laughter and love, nature and kindness. Beautiful is not a violent attack that may or may not result in a pregnancy the mother may or may not choose to terminate.

You have since apologized for your choice of words, but semantics is really not the issue is it? The issue is that politicians like you seem determined to tell women what to do with our bodies. This is nothing new, but now you want to tell us how we should feel about what you’re telling us to do with our bodies. We’re supposed to say, “Getting raped was kind of a bummer, but at least I got this beautiful baby out of that horrific and violent experience.” Once again, you politicians are penalizing the victim. She’s supposed to be grateful for the pregnancy that came from that rape. She’s supposed to think it’s beautiful.

So for the record sir, there’s nothing beautiful about rape or a pregnancy that may be the result of a rape. If a baby is born out of an act of violence, the situation is complex. Who can or should tell the mother what she should do or how she should feel? Certainly not a group of men who have no idea what the woman has gone through and no right to tell her what choices to make.

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So maybe all the time and hot air you and your colleagues spend trying to tell women how to act and how to feel could be better spent trying to stop the epidemic of sexual assault and violence against women that is so prevalent in our country. As far as I can tell, that’s the only beautiful thing that could come from this subject.

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