Throughout this year's campaign season, women's health advocates have pressed candidates who oppose legal abortion to clarify whether they support "rape exceptions" for women seeking to terminate pregnancies that have resulted from a sexual assault.
Politicians like Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, John Koster, Mitt Romney, and Paul Ryan have already confirmed their support for a sweeping ban to roll back all legal access to abortion across the nation. Nevertheless, it has become important for some supporters of reproductive rights to hear that these men don't really mean it when it comes to survivors of sexual assault. The interest in rape exceptions makes sense from an emotional standpoint—choice advocates, who expect politicians to feel compassion toward vulnerable women who are recovering from sexual violence, often take the opportunity to point out a case where they believe opposing abortion rights is unforgivably extreme. From a policy point of view, though, their push for rape exceptions falls flat.
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