New York—Not satisfied with grilling Guyana, the CEDAW committee turned to Indonesia’s restrictions on abortion. The committee pushed on whether steps will be taken to service women who “legitimately need abortion” after six months’ gestation. Ms. Rasekh questioned twice whether Indonesia had any intention of expanding its law to permit abortion in the cases of rape and incest.
Students of abortion history will recall that the gradual legalization of abortion in the cases of rape and incest undermined the personhood of the unborn child. If the “right to life” can be abrogated in cases of rape and incest, why should we respect it in other instances? Either the child in the womb is a person with rights or it is not, regardless of the circumstances surrounding his or her conception.
Moreover, abortion for incest emboldens criminals. It allows the criminal to escape being caught, because he can take the victim to a local abortion provider, dispose of the evidence, and continue to victimize the woman. Abortion for rape and incest is not compassionate; it is cruel. If CEDAW wants to end discrimination against women, it shouldn’t give cover to rapists and criminals.
Unsatisfied with the Indonesian delegate’s response, indicating that the Ministry of Health was reviewing its policy on abortion for rape and incest, Ms. Rasekh complained that the country’s laws do not allow mothers enough time to determine whether their children are “normal or not.” Thankfully, the Indonesian delegation reaffirmed that they had no intention to loosen their restrictions in order to allow abortion of children who are handicapped or have developmental difficulties.