Once again, a political debate has yielded a gotcha quote from a pro-life candidate concerning the issue of being pro-life even in the instance of rape. With this topic again in the news, it would be nice if the media would allow someone to explain exactly why they remain pro-life regardless of the circumstances.
It would also be nice if they attempted to ask similar hard-hitting questions to abortion supporting politicians.
I believe President Obama is wrong on abortion, but I also believe Governor Romney is wrong on abortion. The position of one is much more wrong than the other, but both would agree that abortion in the case of rape or incest should be acceptable legally and, one would presume, morally.
I believe that any abortion is morally wrong, regardless of the way in which the child was conceived, except when doctors are faced with a choice between saving the baby or saving the mother. Yes, even when the child is a product of rape or incest.
While this this is obviously and admittedly written from a male perspective, my opinion is also that of an informed father of three children – one of which is still inside the womb as I write this. I could have my wife write this, as she holds the same position I do (if not stronger), but reason is no respecter of gender. Logic and sound reasoning should be accepted regardless of the physical characteristics of the author.
With that in mind, here are the four reasons why I maintain my pro-life views even when the child was conceived by rape or incest.
It is the only consistent position in regards to viewing unborn life as human life.
Scientifically, human life begins at the moment of conception. There is no denying this fact. What is disputed is that all human life is worthy of protection and regarded as a “person.”
If, as a pro-life person, you hold that humanity and personhood are inseparable, meaning that a living human being is by definition a person, then that cannot change based on how a person was conceived, even if it was in a vile and violent manner.
To say that you are pro-life, except in cases of rape or incest, is to undercut the entire pro-life argument. If the life in the womb is worthy of protection, it is worthy of such regardless of how it began.
It does not punish a child for a crime they did not commit.
Continuing from the first point, the crime committed was by the father, not by the resulting child. If, while I was driving my wife to the hospital to give birth to our daughter, I wasn’t looking at the road and I ran over someone, should my daughter be punished for that? Obviously not, she had no choice in the matter.
The child conceived in rape has no choice either. I feel certain if they could choose they would rather not have come into existence through those circumstances, but we do not get that choice.
As a whole, our society seeks to prevent punishment of people based on circumstances beyond their control. The only time this is seen as acceptable is in the case of the unborn.
Currently, babies can be aborted based on the parent’s desire for a certain gender, their refusal to care for a child with possible mental or physical handicaps, or the manner in which they were conceived. All the while, the child did nothing to deserve the ending of their life.
As Trevin Wax wrote, “Currently, there is no death penalty required for the rapist. I refuse to believe we ought to give an innocent victim a sentence more severe than the perpetrator of the crime.”
Those conceived in rape are not “products,” they are real people.
Politicians often speak of the life in the womb in these instances as “products of violence.” These children are not simply nameless, faceless products. They are real people, many of whom grew up, were loved by their mother (adoptive or biological) and have loving families of their own.
Actor Martin Sheen’s wife Janet was conceived in rape. One of Angelina Jolie’s adopted daughters, Zahara, was conceived in rape. Singer and actress Eartha Kitt was conceived in rape. In fact, you could talk to numerous business leaders, artists, pastors, doctors, scientists and adorable children who were all conceived in rape.
It is easy to speak of stopping a product. It becomes much harder when you recognize that these are actually human beings whose life is ended.
It recognizes the tragedy involved, while seeking to not add another.
Unfortunately, many politicians have muddied the water in this regard. Many in the media have “helped” in this regard, by seeking to intentionally trap them with difficult questions and reporting their words in the worst light.
The truth is, however, that the consistent pro-life person should abhor rape and incest, as both are violations of the dignity of the victim. Detesting those crimes and immoral acts does not require one to believe that the resulting pregnancy should end in abortion.
You can talk to those who have endured the horror and shame of rape, only to see that tragedy end up in a blessing of life. Do not take my words for it. Listen to them.
Jenni [a child conceived in rape] says her mother tells her that “it was a horrible thing that happened, but this was a little light in her life.” A daughter to raise “gave her incentive to recover.” Aborting Jenni “would have been just another trauma,” her mother says.
The child is, according to these women, part of the mother, no matter the evil deeds of the father. It is not only the offspring of the rapist, It is the child of the women.
It would seem to me that we can all agree that rape and incest are horrible crimes whose perpetrators should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
For many of those who support abortion in the case of rape or incest, however, they regard the baby as a type of undeserved punishment for the mother. “It may bring up incalculable amounts of pain for her to see her attacker in the face of the child.”
While that may or may not be the case, as we have already discussed women who found joy in the new life, would we not place a limit on what the woman could do in response to the pain caused her? She would not be allowed to go on a serial killing spree of men who looked like her rapist.
Even in terms of the child conceived, we would have restraints on the woman’s behavior. Would we find it morally acceptable, were she to have the child, to physically abuse it? Should she be regarded as having done something wrong, if she were to give birth to the child, but then strangle it a week later because she was reminded of her rapist?
Right minded people agree this is unacceptable, regardless of the trauma the mother has been through. So, we all must admit that the discussion around abortion in the case of rape or incest, has little to nothing to do with what may cause the mother emotional distress, a one-month-old could do that.
Our debate is about when we recognize a human life has value and is worthy of legal protection. I will always be one who argues that human life is valuable and worthy of our protection from the moment it begins, regardless of the circumstances in which this new precious life has started.