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.

 

  • Ronnie

    “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.”

    So, you’re saying the woman and her child should be supported by the Church until the child turns 18?
    That’s the only logical extrapolation, since the “terrifying and trying time of her life” will be for the next 18 years as the woman, who may not be emotionally or financially-prepared for child-rearing, is forced to raise a child conceived in violence and hatred.
    Or do you want the Church to abandon her and the child after the birth?

    • Cary

      Actually, yes, it is the call of the church to help support those members who are truly needy. The bible instructs that the family should first provide support if possible but then the church. Of course this is not without consideration of the situation and entails certain responsibilities of the recipient, too. So it is vastly different than a government check.

      But there is another option for the person who, “may not be emotionally or financially-prepared for child-rearing.” The baby could be put up for adoption. While in this case it would undoubtedly entail difficult emotions through the pregnancy, it would not compound them by adding the guilt of killing the innocent child onto the woman. This is a hard case without an easy solution, but it does not mean that some difficult solutions are not better than others.

      As you move to a more typical case of a single person getting pregnant through consensual sex, the moral argument for adoption over abortion becomes lopsided. Adoption solves most of the pragmatic issues that its supporters raise such as too young or unprepared in some other way. Of course it does require the social stigma of the pregnancy, and I am sure that giving the child away after birth even in bad circumstances is incredibly difficult. So sadly, many just quietly kill the innocent baby.

      As a pre-Roe adoptee (1967) from a divorced single mother, I tend to have a strong opinion on this issue. I consider it a great gift that she was willing to let me be raised in an intact family.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Clearly, conservatives Christians like myself and David French believe the church should abandon the mother and child after birth. We’re only pro-life up to birth, after all.

      Actually, if you wouldn’t mind sharing your phone number here, Ronnie, there are all kinds of products I would like to sell you. I have a friend in Nigeria who’s about to inherit truly vast amounts of money and he just needs someone to wire him some money first.

      • David French

        Tim, the first rule of the interwebs: Don’t feed the troll. I don’t think any person who makes that argument makes it in good faith.

        • Craig

          David, what do you mean by “good faith”? What would it mean to approach the issue of abortion, or attacks on the fundamental tenets of one’s Christian faith, in perfectly good faith? Especially among intelligent Christians, the implicit refusal to deal honestly with facts and possibilities is widespread. If conservative Christians approached the pro-choice arguments in good faith, I’d expect this to be better evinced in their own writings on the topic.

      • Ronnie

        Timothy:
        “Actually, if you wouldn’t mind sharing your phone number here, Ronnie, there are all kinds of products I would like to sell you.”
        Interesting how you don’t actually answer the question, or is your (hopefully sarcastic) “Clearly, conservatives Christians like myself and David French believe the church should abandon the mother and child after birth. We’re only pro-life up to birth, after all.” an accurate indication of your mindset?

        David:
        “I don’t think any person who makes that argument makes it in good faith.”
        Actually, son…
        1) it was in good faith.
        2) it was a question, not an argument.
        If asking a question you seem to be uncomfortable about (and fail to answer) makes me “a troll”, it also makes me question your “good faith”, since you can’t (or won’t) answer the question.

  • http://wellspentjourney.wordpress.com Matt

    Well said, Mr. French. It seems far more just, in my view, to support a death penalty for the rapist than for the truly innocent unborn child.

  • Don Rubottom

    Ronnie, in the interest of finding common ground and clarifying any differences, I ask you the following question:

    How should the human family treat its weakest and most helpless members?

    • Ronnie

      “How should the human family treat its weakest and most helpless members?”

      By taking care of them until they can manage on their own.
      In the case of the unborn, from conception through age 18, the legal age of adulthood in the US.
      In the case of the unborn’s mother, from the conception through the child’s 18th birthday.
      Neither the child NOR the mother should suffer for the actions of the rapist since BOTH are innocent.
      Otherwise, you’re punishing and penalizing the mother for action (impregnation) forced on her by another against her will.
      And you’re putting the child at risk at the hands of someone…
      1) who may look upon him/her as a manifestation of the evil actions of the rapist, and thus be unable to bond emotionally with him/her.
      2) who may not be prepared financially to handle the responsibility forced upon her by the rapist.
      …which in either case will result in the child being improperly-raised.
      Is that justice?
      Now, who is the “human family” you’re talking about?
      The church?
      The government?
      You?
      And how will they assist the innocent woman and child?


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