In the Soprano state where vice is nice, incest is best and legal among consenting adults. It is incredible that in New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie and Congressmen Chris Smith and Scott Garrett are political paragons of virtue, incest among consenting adults is perfectly legal, but therapeutic abortions to save the life of a mother won't be if those same men have their way.
This is the same state that arrogantly cut $1 billion from education, and who knows how much more from programs that provide women with contraceptives, low cost screenings for reproductive diseases, including ovarian, cervical and breast cancer and programs that provide children with food. Looks like the language in HR 3, HR 217, and HR 358, Congressional bills designed to do an end run around Roe v. Wade, was born in New Jersey. It’s also a sneaky way to make incest legal in America, since all three bills state incest only applies to people under 18.
New Jersey does not apply any penalties when both parties engaged in incest are 18 years of age or older. The Bergen County prosecutor I spoke to, who stayed on background, wouldn’t say outright that it was legal and kept referring to sexual assault. He asked me to read the sexual assault statute, and I kept asking, “What if the victim doesn’t understand that this is sexual assault? What if Daddy is in control?” There was no comment — but they won't prosecute if the victim is 18+.
A 2006 Harvard Law Review article said it all: “Inbred Obscurity: Improving Incest Laws in the Shadow of the ‘Sexual Family’”. Harvard Law Review. June 2006. Get it here. It’s legal in France, Belgium, and in Brazil from the age of 14. But you can get up to life in prison for it in Ireland. The Irish understand that incest is always rape.
There are plenty of people who say it’s not a problem, especially the Libertarians. Even Supreme Court Justice Kennedy says it's no one's business. Amazing how these men keep their noses in women’s private parts, but no one’s permitted to stick noses into their crotches. They clearly understand the uses of power.
I wrote “What do you mean it’s not rape?” because people are inserting the word forcible in front of the word rape for legal purposes — as if rape is not a forcible act, with or without the use of threats,weapons or drugs. Everyone knows it’s all about power and has nothing to do with sex. That’s why rape is used as a weapon of war. Imagine, if you aren’t marked up or if you’ve been drugged, you won’t be a victim, you’ll be an accuser.
In Georgia, at least, they want to go that route, and Rep. Bobby Franklin, a Republican, would make all abortions, described as “prenatal murder,” illegal based on the belief that all life begins at conception. Miscarriages in Georgia will become felonies if the mother cannot prove there was no “human involvement.” Unlike New Jersey, at least incest in Georgia is still a crime at any age — until the Feds make it legal.
America has lost its collective mind they are legalizing incest while they send women back to the stone age. Move-on did a PSA with Lisa Edelstein of HOUSE (like young people watch it, not!) and it ends with a lone wire clothes hanger in the closet. How many women under 40 know what that hanger is for? How many of them can even imagine what it was like before Roe v. Wade? We’re talking pregnancies resulting from incest, rape, or affected by drugs and disease that result in non-viable fetuses…
As a result, some hospitals will let women die. Creating non-viable fetuses via incest? Those lawmakers just gotta have those babies.
In South Dakota, they debated for days to decide if your doctor or family member could become a victim of justifiable homicide if he or she takes the fetus to save the life of the mother. They finally shelved it when outsiders reacted.
It’s not just women’s reproductive rights under attack. It’s Head Start, nutritional programs, day care centers, all those things that help single mom families struggling at the edge of poverty keep families and soul together.
But maybe we are mistaken. Perhaps this is part of a Republican jobs plan. If they get what they want, funeral directors will get plenty of work, emergency room and neo-natal ICU units will need more medical personnel. Prisons will need to be expanded and more prison guards hired…as well as social workers, parole officers…and everything it takes, like $73,000 a year per kid, to keep these unwanted and damaged kids in Juvenile Hall for a year. But if it’s incest, they won’t prosecute because it costs too much.
The men who think they are cutting the budget are gutting American values–diminishing rape victims by calling them accusers; by not allowing American women to make decisions about their own bodies, and denigrating their own mothers, sisters and daughters when they legalize incest between consenting adults in the name of ending abortion.
It makes you wish they’d hurry up and legalize marijuana.
Jeanette Friedman is an award-winning journalist from New Jersey