Rape and Abortion: It’s All About Innocence

In the aftermath of Todd Akin’s controversial comments, the good folks at NRO reached out to a number of pro-life conservatives and asked, “How can we talk about the issue of abortion in a more humane and compassionate way?”  Here was my contribution:

Several years ago during a morning drive, I was listening to a rather animated discussion about abortion on — of all things — a local classic-rock radio station. The morning DJs were mocking Christian conservatives in the way Rolling Stoneliberals do, by presuming that all intelligent people agree, the issues are settled, and the backward and bigoted carry on only through ignorance and fear.

Then a call came in that silenced them — at least for a moment.

“Hi, I’ve been listening to y’all discuss abortion,” said a quiet female voice on the other end of the line, “and I’ve got my own story to tell.”

“My mother was attacked and raped, but she decided my father’s assault shouldn’t mean that I should die. So she carried me, gave birth to me, and raised me. I’m glad she didn’t kill me for my father’s crime.”

That is how we should talk about abortion in these most painful of circumstances — as a matter of innocence. Under what circumstances can we take a wholly innocent human life? Does the rapist’s dreadful crime justify dismembering a child?

But we can’t talk about legalities alone. It is in these most difficult of circumstances that the church must step up to support and sustain the mother through the most terrifying and trying time of her life. Along with a sacred duty to defend innocent life comes a sacred duty to support and care for mother and child.


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