Jacob Rees-Mogg said yesterday that women who become pregnant after being raped are committing a “second wrong” if they seek an abortion. In an interview on BBC Radio Five Live, the Tory MP told Emma Barnett, “A great wrong has been created at the point of rape. The question is – does a second wrong make it any better?”
Rees-Mogg, MP for North East Somerset, has long been vocal about his views on abortion, which he says he opposes in all circumstances including rape. Speaking to Barnett, he also said that he would vote in parliament to limit the number of weeks at which a woman can legally terminate a pregnancy, whatever the proposal.
The language he chooses – wrong – is purposeful and dangerous
His comments are not surprising at this stage, but, still, they are upsetting. The language he chooses – wrong – is purposeful and dangerous. It seems that not only does he desire changes in the law that would put thousands of women’s health at peril, but he wants women – specifically those who have been raped, in this instance – to feel shamed and ashamed.
As my colleague, Marisa Bate, wrote earlier this year, Rees-Mogg stopped being funny a long time ago. The reality of this man’s power, his influence and stature as a representative of this country, distorts his “odd” persona, “wayward” views and “quirky” Instagram posts into something more baleful.
Even more worrying for pro-choice women is the fact that – as Barnett pointed out – the health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s views on abortion time limits align with Rees-Mogg’s. Currently women are able to access safe terminations up to 24 weeks into their pregnancy, yet Hunt has previously said he would support limiting that to just 12 weeks. It’s a move that could put thousands of women at risk of being unable to access the medical assistance they need – with very serious physical and psychological repercussions.