IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Guilty until proven innocent: The problem with exceptions to blanket abortion bans

Romney may be taking a softer tack on women's rights than his party when he says he would allow for abortions in cases of rape or incest. But, says Salon's Irin Carmon, implementing those exceptions in practice would be deeply degrading.

"Rape exceptions, in practice, involve rape victims having to go before a system and prove that what happened to them was bad enough that they should be allowed to not be pregnant anymore," Carmon said on Tuesday's The Last Word. In other words: For the state to enforce legal exceptions to an abortion ban, they would have to begin with the presumption that the women who claimed those exceptions were lying—that they are guilty until proven innocent. Then it would have to interrogate and investigate those women until it was satisfied this was not the case.

A Republican Party that instead denounces all abortions in all circumstances, Carmon said, might actually be preferable, because it reveals what's really at stake.

"I think it's so great that they're absolutist, because we can honestly confront their views and see that basically what they think is that women should be forced to stay pregnant," she said. "And if we're going to start parsing and say, 'Did you enjoy it, and were you raped, and did you ask for it,' well, we're going down the same road as them. And it's time for everyone to realize how much of this is really misogyny; how much of this is not really about saving babies, it's really about a contempt for women."