Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: A simple question of choice |

Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: A simple question of choice

Richard Carnes
Vail, CO, Colorado

You have a 16-year-old daughter.

A beautiful, outgoing, popular, the-sky’s-the-limit daughter that you would do anything for, and go to any physical limits to protect, even to the detriment of yourself.

And she is raped.

One night, at a party with her friends, she is brutally violated by an anonymous scumbag who cleanly escapes with no trace of his identity.

She’s pregnant.

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The first thought in your mind (strangely enough) is Missouri congressman Todd Akin’s comment, “Victims of legitimate rape rarely get pregnant … .”

After suppressing the urge to fly to the “Show Me” state and show him a live shot of your fist against his face, you do what any rational parent in their right mind would do – comfort your daughter and do whatever is necessary to help her through what is undoubtedly the most traumatic event in her young life.

That’s it.

If her uterus does not naturally abort the fertilized egg (which, according National Institute of Health estimates, occurs roughly 50 percent of the time around the world, tens of thousands of times each and every day, usually before the woman even knows she is pregnant), then she is left with a choice, plain and simple, as to whether or not to keep the un-asked-for cell clump currently residing inside her body.

Still a sophomore in high school, your daughter decides to A) bring an unwanted child into the world and have the rest of her life revolve directly around a single horrific act by an unknown assailant; or B) legally abort the cells and continue to pursue a life full of potential opportunities.

The point is, this young girl, your daughter – now a woman through no fault of her own – has a choice as to what to do with her body.

No one else’s body – hers and hers alone.

Not society’s, not the state, not the father or one of the thousands of supernatural beings created by man over the past few thousand years.

And then you suddenly remember that the party of fundamentalism in the upcoming election feels the same way as Congressman Akin and, in their never-ending quest to substitute superstition for science, has just voted into their official party platform an absolute ban on all abortions, even in the case of rape or incest.

“This plank in the GOP platform cannot be one that any woman wants to walk,” you think to yourself, as the only reason the GOP should stand behind Akin is to push the insensitive twit off a cliff.

But either way, does it have an effect on your vote this fall?

Twist it however you wish, as I am sure a few of you will, but it’s a truly legitimate and simple “yes” or “no” question.

Enjoy the convention this week.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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