It’s one of the most common objections raised by abortion advocates, yet it accounts for only one percent of abortions.
“What about rape?”
I have never struggled with the morality of abortion even in the hardest cases. But I have struggled for several years about how to write this article. The experience I had is hardly worthy of comparison to a woman being pregnant from rape, and I do not claim otherwise. But I hope that the principle behind it can be applied to situations more difficult.
|In case you don't believe me|
Several years ago, when I was a student at Northern Kentucky, I visited Xavier University to watch our volleyball team play theirs. I tried to make it to close away games for the various sports, but this was before I had a car. If any reader is unfamiliar with public transportation in the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana tristate, Northern Kentucky has a bus system that has stops every 40 to 60 minutes. Those buses will bring someone to Cincinnati, and then Cincinnati’s buses run to Xavier. It was probably about an hour-long trip for me altogether.
For those that know me well, I am into urban exploration and keep abandoned places with which I’m familiar marked on the map on my phone. If I’m close and have time, I may check one out. There happened to be a place I knew of close to Xavier’s campus that I had never been to. It was about 8 pm, still light but providing some cover of darkness, so I decided to attempt a visit. There was a lengthy walk back to it down a gravel lot and a trail. As soon as I got to the lot, I noticed a wallet. I thought that maybe someone would retrace his steps, so I didn’t pick it up.
Unfortunately, the way back to the place was blocked after a long walk, so I walked back and checked for the wallet. It was still there. I decided to pick it up, and called the local police station. They told me to bring it in. I am notoriously bad with directions, so it took me a good half hour to find the police station that wasn’t that far away. After having to ask for directions several times, I finally located the station. I knew that this was pushing me close against the bus schedule. If I were to miss the next bus to downtown, I would miss the last bus back into Northern Kentucky. By the time I gave the station the information, I wasn’t sure I would make it. It turns out that I got to the stop just as the bus was pulling up.
However, even if I would have missed the bus and had to call a friend or a cab, it would have been worth it to me. I knew that I needed to do what was right, even if it required sacrifice. As I said before, a night of running around Xavier’s campus (as unpleasant as the thought is) and running the risk of being stuck there is not worthy of comparison with being raped and going through a pregnancy. But it is that principle—doing what is right even if it requires sacrifice—that is why a pro-life person believes abortion is wrong even in the circumstance of rape.
In my experience in pro-life activism, there are two reasons why people will bring up this objection. I write with the second in mind.
The first reason is because abortion advocates use this as a loaded question. They will bring up the most difficult circumstance of pregnancy to demonize people that are against abortion. The problem with this is that it doesn’t actually defend abortion. According to the Guttmacher Institute, one percent of abortions are due to rape. Yet abortion advocates use it to attempt to justify the other 99. Even if abortion were permissible after rape, that only covers the one percent. Abortion advocates use—yes, use—rape victims to silence their opposition and further their agenda. I am unafraid to call someone on that when speaking to them, because it (1) is an enemy to honest conversation and debate and (2) is cruel in its use of victims—something the Hellish, blood-drunken beast that is the abortion industry feeds upon.
The other reason, though, is that there are people that legitimately care about rape victims and think it unfair that they should have to go through a pregnancy. There are a lot of Americans that are neither totally for nor totally against abortion, but think it should be allowed in certain circumstances. Number one on that list is rape.
And I would have to agree. It is completely unfair that a woman should have to go through a pregnancy that she did nothing to cause. (I do not use “did not want” because the natural consequence of sex is pregnancy, so if someone consents to sex, he or she consents to its consequences.) It was completely unfair, to understate it, that she was raped.
Abortion is wrong because it takes an innocent human life, and it doesn’t matter how developed that human life is or where he or she is located. Human life is intrinsically valuable, and nothing more than being human is necessary to have that value. That is the pro-life view. So, applied consistently, there is no reason great enough to warrant the intentional taking of an innocent human life, which is what abortion is.
When a woman is raped, she is victimized. When she has an abortion, she is also victimized. Abortion is not a compassionate option with which to present a woman who has been raped and has become pregnant. There can be many problems surrounding abortion. There can be long-term health complications. More frequently, there are long-term psychological and emotional complications, including attempting suicide. Some abortion advocates don’t care. Others do, but are criminal in their ignorance of the effects an abortion can have on a woman.
Within this circumstance of pregnancy from rape, there are three people. The rapist/father of the child, the victim/mother of the child, and the child. Count the guilty parties. There is a rapist, a victim, and a child who did nothing to find herself in this situation and is totally innocent. There is one person in the wrong. The rapist, and the rapist alone, should be punished. It is unfair to kill a child because of the crime of her father.
And I do realize that this does not relieve the unfair situation of the rape victim. Regardless of whether or not she has an abortion, though, it will be unfair to her. There is no cure to that. Abortion only adds to the violence. Ripping apart a child in the womb is as violent a crime as rape. What the victim needs is vindication and compassion, and help from those around her to get through this difficult situation.
I’ve never known a person conceived in rape, that I know of, but I do know someone who was scheduled to be aborted and someone who survived several abortion attempts. I’m thankful to know them (one of them is one of my best friends) and they are thankful to be alive. I’ve been to the March for Life three times, and each time I have seen a solid contingent of people who were conceived in rape and whose mothers chose to deliver them. That is a courageous choice, and these individuals are the living fruit of that. They are “people, not hard cases.” They are human beings, and they have been since they were conceived under such a horrific circumstance.
There is no denying that rape is a terrible thing, and pregnancy resulting from this is unfair. These women need not only our sympathy, but also our practical help. But the truly consistent and sympathetic position is to recognize that all human life has value, and that all innocent humans have the right to life. That extends to circumstances which they could not help. Though it is unfair, and though it is not easy, the right thing to do is to choose life for a child conceived in rape.