The Child Isn’t The One That Needs Killing

The Child Isn’t The One That Needs Killing.  Rob Roy produced by MGM

We are at a stalemate on the issue of abortion. For forty long years we’ve yelled at one another across the cultural divide. If vitriol was virtue, a good number of us could warp off to heaven like a convoy of Elijahs right now.

Nothing revs up the combatants in this on-going war faster than combining the words “rape” and “abortion” in one sentence. That’s like sounding the bell for a group of race horses lined up at the starting gate.

The foot-in-mouth comments of a Missouri politician brought all this to the fore Monday. Here is what he said:

Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy.
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

His comments are so absurd they would be funny if their impact wasn’t tragic. Morally callous biological nonsense coming out of the mouth of a pro-life politician makes pro life people sound like moral ingrates and idiots. His bizarre statement will be bandied about as proof of many of the prejudices that are used to destroy the pro-life movement’s credibility in public debate.

People we might otherwise convert to our cause will be persuaded that we are too heartless for them to listen to us. Every time someone like this exhibits such indifference to women, he makes it harder for the rest of us to convert the culture.

I’ve been fighting the battle to achieve justice for rape victims most of my adult life. I was one of the six founders of the original YWCA Rape Crisis Center here in Oklahoma. I’ve lost count of the number of pieces of legislation I’ve authored to either try to help rape victims or lock up their assailants. Along with the Oklahoma Coalition on Domestic Violence I helped put together the Statewide Day of Prayer for an End to Violence Against Women, the first such event that I know of in the country.

I can not contemplate the sheer indifference to the suffering of other people that rape represents. It wounds me when I try.

Despite all this, I have been hammered repeatedly by legal abortion advocates because I won’t kill a baby that is conceived in rape. They have gone so far as to claim that I want women to be beaten and raped, that I hate women.

I believe that the leaders in these attacks know that they are lying. They are, in the parlance of our pro-life movement, truly “pro-abortion” in that their motivations are to promote abortion rather than to help women.

I have never answered them in kind. Even though some pro-life people have criticized me because I won’t fall in line and call pro-choice people names, I refuse to do it. I do not research their histories to try to find ways to attack them. I never answer their ugliness with more ugliness.

I let them have the low road.

I’ve been on both sides of the abortion wars and I know that there are good and sincere people who feel pushed into a pro-choice position simply because they can’t see any other way to help women who are faced with terrible situations. These are the people we have to convert if we want to change the face of our society.

We can’t change the culture by high-five-ing one-another. We’ve got to change minds and hearts. We must convert those who are genuinely pro-choice rather than pro-abortion. We need to do missionary work among those good people who think abortion should be legal because of their concern for the welfare of women. We can not do this without changing some of our tactics.

We need to try to put another face on our movement than that of social bully. We have far too many people who say they are pro-life but who are more interested in winning arguments and dominating discussions than in saving lives. If we want to build a pro-life culture, we need to stop yammering about what terrible people those on the other side of the debate are, and start speaking about the values we believe in.

We believe in the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. We are working to build a culture that honors the value and dignity of every single person, no matter how young, old, sick or disabled. We are trying to teach the world the Sermon on the Mount.

That is a noble cause. We should advance it with noble means.

Our values are not about overpowering those who disagree with us with verbal nastiness. They are also not about enforcing some rigid pro-life political correctness that says we have to denounce those who disagree with us or be attacked by other pro-life people ourselves.

I will go a step further and say that we should never answer their unkindness with unkindness of our own. We need to stay on our great and glorious message of the sanctity of life for all human beings. That, and not name-calling and denouncing people, is what will win the day.

The question of abortion for rape victims is a case in point. We should never make unkind or dismissive statements about the victims of horrible crimes like rape.

Representative Akin is mistaken. Women do get pregnant from rape. And they suffer horribly. Rape is a monstrous, dehumanizing terror that frightens almost all women and can be a kind of psychological death for those who have to survive it. Rape is another of those mortal sins that, if unrepented, can send those who commit it to hell.

None of this affects the fact that it is wrong to kill a baby. From the moment of our conception, we are all unique and precious individuals, children of the living God. A baby is not a terror. A baby is a person.

I think there are a lot of good and compassionate people who honestly favor abortion in the case of rape because they care about the rape victim. I also believe that there are lot of equally good and compassionate people who oppose abortion in the case of rape because they care about the life of the baby.

If we are going to heal our culture and bring the abortion wars to a life-giving conclusion, we have to bring these two groups of good people together. We need to stop focusing on saving the baby OR the mother. We should focus instead on saving the baby AND the mother.

Rape victims need a lot of help recovering from what has been done to them. Above all things, they need Christians to accept them as whole, unblemished people who are worth as much as they were before the rape. If they become pregnant from a rape, they will need a great deal of support. They need our help. Most of all, they need our love.

I get weary of empty-headed politicians and their callous statements. It tires me dealing with them and their indifference to human suffering.

As for rapists, I won’t go so far as Rob Roy and say that they need killing. But I do believe the unspoken sub-text of the statement that the person who should be punished is the rapist. The woman who was raped is innocent. A baby conceived in rape is innocent. The guilt, shame and the full punishment should fall on the one who did this terrible thing, not them.

  • Jennifer

    Bravo, Mrs. Hamilton. You are absolutely right. I so admire your courage and candor. How refreshing it is to “meet” an elected official like yourself. (I won’t call you a politician!) May God bless you, strengthen you, keep you, and increase your territory!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Jennifer.

  • http://xercised.wordpress.com/ Mike

    You may be interested to know Rebecca, your Rep. Todd Akin made it on National Radio (BBC Radio 4) over here! As you know Abortion is a massive issue here as well.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      All I can say is I’m glad he’s not from Oklahoma. Not that he couldn’t have been. But, this time Missouri gets the embarrassment.

  • http://servusfidelis.wordpress.com Servus Fidelis

    Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Mercy have been saying forever that they will be happy to take the children and find them homes. It seems a shame to kill the innocent for a crime they did not commit. Remind you of anyone? Christ Himself possibly? When did Christians ever decide that 2 wrongs now make a right?

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Great comment. Thank you.

    • Nina

      If hey could bear the child for the rape victim for nine months and then give birth to it, too, that would be awesome.

      Again, another “discussion” in which the actual woman involved has zero say, zero autonomy. People on both sides using her as a pawn, people pretending nine months of pregnancy and a birth are nothing at all, no biggie, regardless of the circumstances, people being all about their religion and their politics and the baby (which can supply the the adoption industry), and absolutely zero recognition of her as a real, live, autonomous human being.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Thank you Nina for you passionate concern for women who have been raped. I understand your anger and I respect it. I hope you never lose the desire to fight for these women. The reality is that during pregnancy two people live in the same body. That can and does create all sorts of painful problems if the situation is bad. I understand why you feel as you do. But I can’t and I won’t kill a child. I won’t help anyone else kill a child, either. What I will do is anything and everything I can to help women who’ve been raped. I hope for the day when the stigma of rape falls where it belongs; entirely on the rapist. I think that alone would change this dynamic quite a bit.
        Thank you for your comment Nina. Feel free to comment here in the future.

        • Nina

          But you’d work to force her to carry her rapist’s baby to term, even if that was against her wishes.

          That is her decision, not anyone else’s.

          You can’t forcibly impregnate people and forcibly usurp their bodies. That’s evil.

          If she chooses to carry to term, that’s fine. If she chooses not to, and someone stops her from making that choice, they are as much violating her body as the rapist has.

          You can’t force pregnancy on people. That’s evil.

          • Rebecca Hamilton

            Nina, believe me, if we were talking about anything other than killing a child, I would agree with you completely.
            Rape is the evil.
            The way that women are reduced to sexual things by our society is the evil.
            We live in a world that treats the violence and degradation of women as entertainment. Instead of doing something to end THAT, we talk about abortion as if it was a solution. All abortion does is sweep rape under the rug. It makes it easy for the rapist and the rest of society to disown the savage inhumanity of rape and pretend that we have “solved” things by offering women this horrible option of killing her own child as some sort of sop.
            Instead of giving women the cruel choice of murdering their own child or facing social approbation we need to go after these guys and make them — not the woman — the object of our scorn.

          • Nina

            It’s her choice. She gets to decide if it’s “horrible”. To take that choice away from her is tantamount to a second rape.

            I will vote prochoice until the day I die because I know exactly what it is for someone to take choice away, and to do it for religious reasons.

            I know what evil is when I see it because I’ve been the victim of evil.

            What you propose is evil.

          • Rebecca Hamilton

            Nina, I don’t know quite what to say to you except that an innocent baby is never evil. Rape, on the other hand, is evil itself.
            I don’t want to extrapolate too far from the few details you’ve given except to say that anyone who has been raped has also experienced what it means to have their humanity taken away from them, to be reduced to a thing whose life doesn’t matter. That is what abortion does to a baby. Abortion reduces a human being — in this case, a baby — to the level of a less-than-human that other people can hurt and dispose of as they wish.
            I know you don’t fully understand this. I was once that way myself. But there is something in all of us that sort of recognizes it, even when we don’t want to. Don’t let that uneasy voice in your heart drive you to anger, just let it be for now.
            I am not arguing with you about whether you want to be pro choice or not. All I want is for you to know that what has happened to you is wrong; utterly and completely wrong, and that you are not the one who is to blame for it. The person who took away your choice destroyed their own soul. If they don’t face what they did and repent of it (which is not a cheap, easy process but something quite painful) they are doomed.
            You don’t need to destroy a child to exercise what you already have, which is your humanity. No matter what someone else did that showed THEY didn’t accept your humanity, that was a lie. They were lying. You are a whole human person, who is precious, clean and beloved by God.

          • Nina

            Oh, that wasn’t an attempt at emotional manipulation at all…/eyeroll.

            I am a whole person who decides who and what gets inside my body. Which is why I have a C&C. And a Sig. And why I will fight to the death anyone who would force women to let rapists and the evil individuals who side with rapists usurp their bodies.

            God? Please. I’m so sick of that pile of fear-driven manipulation that nonsense doesn’t even register with me any longer.

            Christians, Catholics specifically, showed me who and what they really are and what the notion of “God” really means to them. Ain’t no undoing that now. Can’t unring that bell, girl.

            Fix your own before you try to “fix” me.

            Clean up your own house before you start shackling women down, forcing them to carry children to feed your adoption mills.

          • Rebecca Hamilton

            I didn’t see it as an attempt at manipulation. I thought it was your genuine emotion. I still do.
            I don’t know what “c&c” and “sig” are.
            God is real and He’s there for you. You don’t need to accept the Church to come to Him. You also don’t need to change yourself. All you have to do is reach out for Him.
            I know. That’s exactly what I did.

    • Nina

      By the way, nice of you to fawn all over anyone who praises you, but an actual person who’s been sexually assaulted and doesn’t kiss your butt, you basically ignore.

      What a phony. What a one-sided, hypocritical phony. Typical politician.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Nina I guess our posts must have crossed, since I saw this after I answered. I’m going to leave this here because, to be honest, I understand your anger. However, I don’t allow name-calling here, including name-calling directed at me. I also don’t allow vulgar language.
        Feel free to post. Feel free to disagree. But be courteous. Otherwise, I will have to consign your posts to the spam pile.

        • Rochella

          Rebecca, I fully respect the way and the integrity you displayed while replying to Nina. I really do hope and pray she gets the healing she needs. Even if we do not always agree with each other there is never a need for disrespect. Listening and observing are important when speaking to someone, especially when dealing with such a controversial issue. Me personally, I am against abortion unless the mother and the baby are at risk. I wanted to ask what you thought about the common scenario of ectopic pregnancies? If the baby is not aborted, both the mom and child will die. This happened to a very close friend of mine and the doctors do not usually ask what you want to do they just remove the baby. She had no idea she was pregnant, but still was very thankful because she does have children and cannot stand the idea of being taken away from them. I cannot remember the details fully, but I think when they rushed her to the hospital the rushed her into surgery and I do not think she had to give permission.

          • Rebecca Hamilton

            Rochella, thank you for your kind comment. I’m praying for Nina, too.

            I don’t regard removal of an ectopic pregnancy as an abortion. I see it as saving the mother’s life.

  • http://www.newequus.wordpress.com Mindy @ New Equus – A New Creation

    Great post Rebecca! A life is a life is a life. Here is a great post from a blog friend of mine about abortion…it’s extremely powerful. http://www.alifesurrendered.com/2012/08/jesus-is-my-everything/

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Mindy. Your friend’s poem is beautiful … and so is she!

  • http://elpollo838.wordpress.com Tyler

    Thanks for such a well written and balanced look at the pro-life position. I have a lot of liberal leanings, and its hard to have a conservative viewpoint on anything. But the pro-life stance is something I believe in, rather strongly, and I am glad that there are voices on this side of the debate the aren’t crazy hate mongers. Its really easy to listen to the caricatures of either side of a hotly contested public discourse, and I’m glad to see you calling out with a steady and strong voice. Guided with both compassion and reason.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      This is such a kind comment. Thank you Tyler.

  • http://reflectionsforthesoul.wordpress.com Marcelle Bartolo-Abela

    Loved this post, Rebecca. Thank you for writing it and stating things clearly, plainly and straight to the point as you did.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Marcelle!

  • http://greenlightlady.wordpress.com Wendy Macdonald

    Even in Canada we heard about Mr.Akin’s comment and I cringed. I appreciate your sane and pro-life view on such matters. It would be nice if the unborn could get as much support as animals get. I love animals but they are not made in God’s image… It would be nice if everyone could protect both!
    ~ Wendy

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thanks Wendy. Rep Akin’s comments are an embarrassment to us all.

  • Indy

    The organization that helped me make that first step from being pro-choice to being pro-life was Feminists for Life. Then I became a Christian and saw that God valued all life regardless of how it was conceived. I still appreciate the work of Feminists for Life because they work hard on legislation to bring services and support to women especially college aged women. Thank you again Rebecca for so clearly stating why we can be both Christians, Democrats, and Pro-life. God bless you.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I don’t know a lot about FFL. I’ve visited their web site and read their literature and I met Serrin Foster briefly once. Your testimony tells me they do good work, though. Thank you for sharing this.

  • http://www.regan222.wordpress.com Regan222

    It is vital to the cause of Christ that we not only uphold and pursue HIS goals but that we NEVER sink to using the enemy’s tactics. Christian service requires the right motive as well as the right method.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Exactly!

  • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com Neenergyobsever

    It’s all, been said already, Rebecca, so I’ll just say, well done! This is a sane, rational exposition for life. I’m proud to share the mission with you.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      As I am with you.

  • Bob Seidensticker

    Yes, we have yelled at each other about abortion over a cultural divide. What puzzles me is that there is so much that pro-life and pro-choice advocates agree on. Everyone agrees that an unwanted pregnancy is a bad thing. Why can’t we band together to minimize this?

    With the focus on abortion, we’re missing the low-hanging fruit.

    5 Recommendations to the Pro-Life Movement

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      First of all Bob, thank you for the link to your post! You are right that there are areas where all good people agree. My experience has been that when you work together with people in the areas where you agree, you develop friendships that transcend your differences. That doesn’t mean that deeply-held, morally-based differences go away. It just means that you no longer want to destroy one another over them. That is the beginning to true fellowship.

    • D

      Bob, let’s agree that if your mother/wife/sister/daughter/granddaughter finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy, I won’t force her to have an abortion.
      Conversely, if my mother/wife/sister/daughter/granddaughter finds herself in the same condition, SHE gets to chose what’s right for her.

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    Why do you say it’s a stalemate between pro-life and pro-abort? In the forty years Pro-life has made solid gains and as far as I can tell are on the up swing?

    As to Adkins, his statement was idiotic. I’m not familiar with his record and history, but it does seem unfair that he makes one mistake and he gets pilloried. He seems sincere in his pro-life beliefs.

    • http://jscafenette.com Manny

      And let me add, though I don’t know Adkins, I don’t think he meant to be so callus about rape victums. I would be surprised if that was in his heart.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Welcome back Manny.
      I’m not going to answer your question about how well the pro life cause is doing in the area of law because it’s too involved to get into here and I have and will deal with it in great detail in my various posts.

      As for Rep Akin. I don’t know him. But he is a United States Congressman who is in the lead in a race for the United States Senate. That makes him one of the most powerful people in the world. He made these comments in an interview with the press in which he knew he was being interviewed. This isn’t something where a mike was left on or someone overheard him in an elevator. I have no sympathy for him insofar as public scrutiny of his clear and deliberate public statements is concerned. If he was a librarian or a clerk at the local grocery store, I would feel differently, but he is not.
      As to whether or not he “meant” what he said. I have no way of knowing. I will say that I work with and know a lot of elected officials and that when they say these things — and far worse — in private, they mean them. The way they consistently, repeatedly, kill legislation that will help rape victims behind closed doors underscores that they mean it.
      Anyone who is really interested in how Rep Akin actually feels about rape and rape victims should look at how he’s voted on legislation to help them. Committee actions are particularly telling in this regard.

      • http://jscafenette.com Manny

        That’s fair. I have no idea on Adkins’ record. Until this I had never heard of him before. I do think he should step down, at least from the Senate run. If this was just a mistake stepping down might be unfair, but life and especially politics aren’t always fair.

        You bring up an interesting side point. Why would anyone kill legislation in helping rape victums?

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Manny, you have no idea how often I’ve asked myself that question.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Manny, I’d like to add a caveat to what I said here. I’ve had reporters take something I’ve said out of context and juxtapose it against other quotes or facts in a story so that it gave an impression that I clearly had not intended. They quoted me accurately, but by combining my with other things, they made the quote say something I had not said.
        If that was the case with Rep Akin, then he certainly has a legitimate complaint. I am assuming (always a risky business) that this isn’t what happened because he has not said that it was.

        • http://jscafenette.com Manny

          I don’t think that’s what happened with Akin (I was misspelling his name above). When I heard him interviewed yesterday providing an explanation, he said that the “legitamate rape” phrase was legalistic language that runs contrary to common usage. I don’t know if that’s true or not but I could excuse him if it were. On the woman not getting pregnant from rape claim, he said he had read that in several articles but has now been informed it is erroneous. Nonetheless that is harder to believe. Even if that was true, it has no ramifications on the abortion issue. If a woman gets rape and there’s no pregnancy there is no abortion issue. He didn’t strike me as being the swiftest person in the world. But the interview felt like he was sincere in his pro life belief. I can kind of see how his brain might “lock up” and go down that ideotic path he did.

          • Rebecca Hamilton

            Manny I have never heard the phrase “legitimate rape” used as a legal phrase and I’ve written a LOT of laws dealing with the rape statutes. I think what he MAY have been trying to say was the phrase “term of art” which refers to legalese. However, again, I have never heard this particular phrase used this way. It’s certainly not a term of art in Oklahoma. As for the rest of it — his intelligence or lack of it, pro-life sincerity, etc — I can’t say.

  • http://findingyourblessings.wordpress.com Jen

    You are always so right on target!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Jen.

  • http://www.philomenasmile.wordpress.com Anna Dawson

    Thanks as always for your tact and good example. Long after the point I’d have resorted to ‘writing when Irish’ (as I do… a lot…) you respond clearly and charitably, without giving up your position. Thanks for being a good example, keep up the good work.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      That’s what I try to do Anna. Thanks for telling me that I’m at least partially succeeding.

  • Douglas Asbury

    If as many resources were put into stopping rapes and other sources of unwanted pregnancies as is put into stopping abortions, there would, first of all, be fewer abortions to begin with and, second of all, a proper focus on the fact that it is irresponsible men who are a major source of the whole problem. The women who become pregnant, though they are often complicit in the initiation of the pregnancy, have for too long been made the scapegoats for the irresponsible men, who spread their seed and then get off scot-free insofar as the focus and accountability of the Christian community is concerned. This is injustice of the highest (lowest?) order, and it needs to be addressed with all due speed.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Douglas, we might disagree (or not) on the specifics of how to do what you suggest, but I agree with the fundamental thought you express. The sexual double standard is and always has been a major component in the tragedy of abortion. As for rape, I’ve expressed myself several times on that already.

  • Penny Hammack

    In 1966 I got a job with American Airlines. For that time it was a dream job, men were paid the same as women and we had good health insurance. A couple of years later I thought I was pregnant. I had a husband and two children and we were barely making ends meet. My first pregnancy left me severely morning sick for three months. My second pregnancy caused me to be morning sick all day long from two weeks after conception until four months into the pregnancy. My doctor went through every drug for morning sickness in the PDA. Fortunately he didn’t get to Thalidomide.

    American, as well as most industries at the time did not look favorably on employees coming to work and spending most of the day in the restroom throwing up. They also didn’t even think about an employee taking three or four months off to be morning sick and then returning to work. In fact I believed I would be fired immediately.

    I was using birth control (an IUD) but, as I learned later, it had floated out of my uterus into my abdomen. At the time abortions were legal in most of Europe but not in the United States. We had travel privileges on other airlines so I went to work determined to go to Europe to have an abortion if I proved to be pregnant. The story ends here. I wasn’t pregnant and never had another scare like that again. Before you condemn me re-read the first paragraph about what happened to me when I was pregnant.

    My point is… there are as many reasons for ending a problem pregnancy as there are problem pregnancies. Some address the problems of the mother. Some address the problems associated with bringing another child into the world, both financial and emotional. Sure, adoption is an option but with so many adoptable children available around the world I doubt that there are enough families to take them. And the child could end up living in an orphanage, living with a parent who is unsuitable or being left to starve or, God forbid, being murdered by the supposed caretaker. Your religion doesn’t have the right to tell me what to do any more than I have the right to force you to do something that you do not believe to be right.

    This is why I will vote for the town drunk before I vote for any candidate that wants to eliminate abortion and birth control rights.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Penny, what you are describing is not a reason to kill a baby. It is a reason to reform our labor laws. We have become so besotted with the idea that nothing involving economics has any moral component and that corporations are a false god that we must accede to that we also seem to think that sacrificing our children to them is ok. No woman should have to chose between a ruined life and a murdered child. Women are human beings. Unborn children are human beings. Contrary to what our nutso Supreme Court decided a while back, corporations are NOT human beings.

    • Penny Hammack

      I agree with you that our labor laws need to be reformed but I can’t see Congress passing a law that would make McDonalds offer paid leave to a mother who already has children so she can have more. You appear to think that a one size fits all law that is in lockstep with your church’s doctrine would solve all the problems. The Republican presidential candidates hardly agree. They don’t think the government should be involved in health care at all, be it birth control, abortion, mammograms, hospitalization of pregnant women or care of handicapped children. And they certainly wouldn’t allow a law to be passed that burdened big business with paid family leave. I think the present law, however flawed, is better than the concept of keeping women barefoot and pregnant and poor. Remember that not so long ago the Morman church allowed multiple wives and marriage for girls that were effectively children. Remember that Catholic church doctrine encourages it’s members to have as many children as possible in order to “grow” the church and certainly not good for the health of either the mother or her children.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Penny, you are all over the map here, too much so for me to try to answer in a comment. Try again, and pick one thing.

  • http://catholibertariandotcom.wordpress.com Teresa Rice

    Amen! The person who was raped needs compassion. And if they should succumb to temptation and kill their baby out of fear or pressure we need to show them compassion, forgiveness, and mercy. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone sins. Everyone needs to repent and ask for forgiveness from our Lord. We need to lead these victims of rape to our Lord.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Amen.

  • Gary

    Killing begs for a legal solution. If one seeks only to “convert” people to the cause, what does one do with those that refuse to be converted? If you seek laws to prevent killing ultimately the woman who knowingly seeks and receives an abortion is committing a crime, and punishment is unavoidable. Are some killings punishable and some other killings worthy of receiving compassion? It seems that anyway one looks at it, ultimately coercion is unavoidable.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Gary, no pro life group that I’ve been associated with (there are many oddball groups out there who promote themselves as pro life) has any interest in prosecuting the mothers. I certainly don’t.

      • Gary

        Rebecca, I believe that is your goal and desire to not prosecute mothers. However, I believe, and hope I am dead wrong, that if choice does not hold as the law of the land women will be further victimized and ultimately treated as criminals. Then it will be out the hands of all of us no matter what our intentions are.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          It that happens, you’ll see me come out against it as strongly as I oppose abortion now.

  • Mar

    I appreciate your passion.

    For me, a large part of the issue between the ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ aspects is this question: When does life begin? Does it begin at conception? (I do not think so) Does it begin when the heart beats? When the brain has activity? When do we say that life ends? When the heart stops beating? When the brain has no more activity? Or, as previous Christians believe, during the time of ‘quickening’ (when the mother ‘feels’ movement) is when the soul enters and becomes ‘animated’. Thus, an abortion done before the ‘ensoulment’ was considered a ‘vegetable’ or ‘animal’ soul and not in the same category as one done shortly before a birth.
    I always ask–when do you think life ends? Perhaps that might be a guideline for when it begins.

    I, too, also find intriguing is the lack of compassion towards the living children–the same people upset about ‘abortion’ are also (often) the same people who have a really hard time imagining that might be moral to provide government assistance to those in need (because the ‘government’ is all of us)–even when there are children going to sleep hungry at night or have other needs. The disconnect between helping the unborn be born but not helping those born to live is always difficult for me to fathom.

    Thank you for your thoughtful essay.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Mar you raise two points.
      1. A distinct, unique, human life begins at conception. There really is not disagreement on this. The question which I think you are asking is, “When does a human begin to be worthy of legal protection?” For me, the answer is obvious. We can not draw lines around any group of human beings and say that their lives are outside the boundaries of protection under the law.
      2. It is true that some — certainly not all or even most — people who take the political position of being pro-life are indifferent to the rights and needs of people. But, at least where I work, most of these same people will switch and vote against pro-life legislation when their political party wants them to. I’ve seen them do it. Hypocrisy is not a pro-life attribute. It is a human attribute. You will find it in any group of people, of whatever belief.
      However — and this is the salient point — hypocrisy in some of its proponents not only doesn’t negate the arguments for a pro-life position, it doesn’t even address them.
      You are doing something that has become endemic in our society. You are trying to discredit a line of reasoning by attacking the person or people who advance that line of reasoning. That’s a little bit like arguing against the theory of relativity because Einstein had bad hair. It doesn’t apply.

      Thank you for your courteous comment.

  • http://tcpc.blogs.com/musings Rev. Jim Burklo

    I respect your point of view, as well as your respectful manner of sharing it, very much. Rep. Akin certainly did your movement no favors with his comments, and his refusal to bow out of the Senate race afterward. You see the problem.

    As a fellow Christian, I differ with your perspective on abortion. The matter of when personhood begins, or when a fetus becomes a human being, has been the subject of different points of view within the Judeo-Christian tradition, including the Catholic tradition, for centuries. Jesus had nothing to say about the topic. I don’t believe a person is a person until he or she is born. I believe abortion ought to be safe, legal, and rare. I believe it’s a tough choice for a woman to make, but one she ought to be able to make for herself. You believe otherwise. We’re both serious about our Christian faith. The fact that our society is so divided on this topic, and even sincere Christians are divided on it, is a strong sign that women should be entitled to make up their own minds about this matter. I have three close relatives who have had abortions. These are good-hearted women who had tough choices to make. I can’t imagine that right to choose being taken from them. And as a practical matter, making abortion illegal would result in immoral, inhumane, and irrational consequences. If killing a fetus is murder, do we give women who have abortions the death penalty or life in prison? It’s inconceivable that such sentences would be given. But if we don’t do that, then we’re recognizing that abortion isn’t really murder. This is to say nothing of the inevitable deaths of women that will result from unsafe abortions that go “underground”. Whether or not you think abortion is wrong, making it illegal would have terrible consequences for women and would undermine our system of justice. I wish that people who oppose abortion would leave the legal status of abortion as it is, and focus instead on promoting family planning, contraception, universal access to health care, and sex education in schools and churches and temples – so that women can avoid unplanned pregnancies altogether. That’s a win-win for all of us, regardless of our beliefs about when a fetus becomes a person.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Hello Rev Burko. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. You raise too many issues for me to get into here. I’ll take a shot at a couple of high points.
      1. The Didache, which is not scripture, but which is a text of ancient religious instruction dating from the first century AD, states “you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is begotten.”

      This reflects the constant teaching of the Church on the question of abortion. Also, the Church forbade the killing of baby girls and disabled children by exposure. They often found these children where they had been abandoned, took them in and raised them.

      2. Are we to assume that everything that the Gospels do not quote Jesus as directly stating we may not do is, by some sort of negative fiat, permissible? Did He in fact, destroy the law and prophets rather than fulfill them? I hear that argument more and more and I have no idea why anyone would see it as valid. I’ll leave it at that because of space.

      3. Whether someone “believes” a person is a person or not has nothing to do with whether they are, in fact, a person. This question of personhood has been debated throughout history, with those who have the power always setting themselves up as the determiners of whether or not another human being or a class of human beings are less than human, not a person, and that thus we may do with them as we chose. There is no doubt that a unique human being is created at conception. When people say they are not “persons” what they really mean is that they do not want to acknowledge their humanity and treat them accordingly.

      4. When you raise issues such as whether or not people want to punish women as murderers for obtaining abortions, you are attempting to reason from custom to fact. Custom does not affect the fact that every abortion kills a living child.

      5. The “solutions” you suggest for the conundrum of abortion — sex education, birth control, etc — have already been tried. This country dumps literally billions of dollars into birth control and every school district has had it required sex education since forever. Kids today know more about sex and birth control by the time they’re in the third grade than I did when I graduated from high school. I can buy birth control off the shelves at any pharmacy and many department stores. These solutions make a lot of government money for several organizations who fight to keep abortion legal. But they don’t work.

      Thank you again for your comments.

      • ginckgo

        “There is no doubt that a unique human being is created at conception.”
        There is no doubt in as much as this is NOT a human being by any relevant definition based in reality. You are playing fast and loose with well-defined terms here. At conception all you get is a single cell with the genetic material to make a human, which won’t even attach to the uterus for another week; all that can be said about this is that it is a living cell – every time I scrape myself I loose living cells (and yes, under the right conditions even these cells could be grown into a full human; after all, what else is the womb but the ‘right conditions’ to grow the zygote, which would die without it). The Embryo, which lasts for the next two months, is also not a human person by any stretch, and the woman frequently aborts this stage naturally (it is the body doing the aborting, that that’s all we are).
        It’s not until the second trimester that we can even remotely start talking about an individual human organism.
        I understand that people have decreed that the soul enters at conception, and setting aside the fact that there is zero evidence for the existence of a soul, it is still an arbitrary decision to say it occurs at that point. My guess is it was done because that was the only point in the developmental process where a line can be drawn.

        • http://jamesbrown JGBrown

          man did not decree the word of God says so, Paul say that they became wise in their own ways fore saking the wisedom of God for that of carnal man, knowing the truth of God they rejected him for their own ideas.weather it be two cells or four just like the seed place in the ground becomes wheat or weeds so there is but one thing that will come from the union of the egg and the sperm a human child . the one thing you got right is the womb is the right place not to grow but where the child developes(grows).

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Ginckgo & JG –
          That a unique human being is created at conception is a simple biological fact. It is just a human being at a very young age. The question is when does that life become a life that we want to protect under the law. Living cells that you scrape loose from your finger are not separate, unique human beings. This is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone try to equate them one. I am not arguing about the question of soul. I am arguing from a standpoint of human rights and whether we should ever arbitrarily decide as a matter of law to exclude any class of human beings from legal protection. I do not believe that we should. Based on his answer, I would guess that Ginckgo does not agree with me about this and this at least part of his reasoning lies in the developmental path young human beings follow from conception and beyond.
          JG is obviously correct when he states that a human conception results in a human being and not any other form of life and that demonstrates that a human conception is and was a human being from the start. I may be wrong, but I don’t think that Ginckgo would disagree with this.
          The argument that, since many early pregnancies end in miscarriage and the death of the baby this somehow justifies deliberately killing the baby with abortion has always seemed odd to me. EVERYONE dies. That does not justify us killing one another, either after birth or before.

    • http://jamesbrown JGBrown

      Then you deny the words to Jerimiah where in God stated I knew you before you were born from the womb I called you out. also sir if a dog when it mates concives dogs and cats like wise cats then what must one call the union of one egg and that single sperm? with all due respect sir when a man a nd woman concive the issue of that union from day one is a human being. It is only today that we argue over when where and how . And that goes to show the hardness that has over taken the hearts of many a modern man and the ever increasing darkness which is justified under laws. We honor the murder of the most innocent among us the soul which cry out when Lord when he replies sooon very soon.

  • Shelah

    Lots of comments. I read many but not all. To me abortion is like another rape. With counsel and support a woman can carry the baby to birth. She then can choose to parent or offer for adoption.
    The solution is to surround her with caring, not dismiss her by saying abortion will “solve” her problem.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Shelah.

  • jerry lynch

    Looking to make your religious belief law I do not see as the act of a Christian. Will you fight as hard to make adultery and divorce illegal? How about war, where so many innocents are slaughtered? To make abortion illegal under any and all circumstances, which it would have to be with personhood at conception, is not advancing the kingdom but a mere expedient. Theocracies have been tried and the results were not pretty.
    Would you advance Sharia Law for women to help achieve your ends? It would effectively accomplish your efforts to end choice.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Jerry, if you are serious about dialoging, please make one point. It’s not practical to discuss all this in a comment section.

  • jerry lynch

    Will making abortion illegal improve the image of women, make them less objectified? When you give the state more power over women than men concerning their autonomy, or ability to choose, will it improve how women are treated?

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Jerry, this is a rhetorical question, so I’ll answer it with another rhetorical question: Do you believe that legalizing abortion has made women less objectified and sexualized?

  • jglord

    I will apologise to all the women who read this ahead of time my intent is not to insult nor to anger I have seven sisters so I am well awaare of womens issues far more than I would like to admit. But I must also say this rape like cancer is not speacial to women both sexs suffer from both and in much the same way. Ignorance runs wild on both sides of any issue. The gentleman who made the comment was and is being called many names. Have in my life time been on both sides of this issue. I studied for many years to join the clergy and did so. The things I learned amazed even myself, for in so doing I read my bible and spent many hours in prayer what came of that is this I am pro choice and I am staunchly pro life.
    Many are surprised when they hear me say this but let me go on today we have at ourdisposall many different types of birth control, I found no where written anything on thou shall not prevent there is one story of seven brothers but that points out their unwillingness to raise up seed to their brother not birth control. So I am pro choice until conception takes place at that time we as a people are duty bound to ensure that child’s life: that the innocent who can not speak for its self be protected. It is a sad thing that we argue and fight over an issue such as this . If we boil it down on one side we have those who for their desires condone the murder of children while the other is seen as trying to place women in someDraconiann prison.
    I am sad also to point out that those on the left who fought so hard the right to do murder will never give it up for it is a tool, ahs anyone ever asked where the mosabortionsns are performed? Then there is the information they never divulge thaevenvn onabortionon can cause a woman to be unable tconceiveve again or carry a child when she so chooses to term. How much better has she taken choice morseriouslyly and used a pill. How many are they who said hpromiseded we only did but it was only once.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you for this comment. You are correct that men and boys can be and are victims of rape, as well as women and girls.

  • Arkenaten

    It makes a change to read views that are diametrically opposed to the post’s.
    I note Nina’s response especially as one who sounds as if she has travelled this road personally.
    I note that when the subject of education/prevention is raised you agree while still suggesting it is a lost cause – or at least ineffective.
    I note that you are in favour of bringing every pregnancy to term, even those of rape victims.
    There has been no mention of abortion where the mother’s life is threatened.
    Who get’s to play God then?
    You suggest counselling, which is commendable, yet ruin this statement by including ‘Christian’ in the sentence. Would a Muslim rape victim listen to the advice of a Catholic or a fellow Muslim?
    Interesting one.
    How do you truly expect to council an atheist with religion/Catholic Doctrine?
    Would I likely listen to your religiously influenced point of view over my wife’s on such an issue? What do you think?
    In fact, based on the comment by the Rev. how will you win over the hearts and minds of any non-Catholic on this issue? I would venture there are many Catholics that don;t agree with Church teaching on this issue but are too afraid to speak up.

    Anything, and I mean anything that has at its core religious-driven morality will ultimately fail, as there is no consensus and ultimately the goal is to bend people to the will of whichever religion is currently in the pulpit.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Douglas, I’m going to allow this because you’re trying, and, as I told you one time, I have a weakness for people who only read newspapers on Saturdays. :-)

      First, a bit of explanation. What makes this post objectionable is the tone. That and the continued harangues against religion. (Of which this is just one of MANY.) Doing something over and over becomes obnoxious to people. ANYTHING gets tiresome when people are forced to endure it against their will, especially when the person doing whatever it is Will. Not. Stop. Use common sense Douglas. Repetitiveness wears on people.

      As for the tone, there is no reason to speak in an insulting manner to people. You can say the same thing without doing that.

      Now. To the points you raise. I’m not sure of your antecedents for this comment, so I’ll just do my best.
      I’m not sure what you’re referring to about “counseling;” don’t remember what I said. Rather than rehash ancient arguments with another person who isn’t here, I’ll just take a shot at telling you what I believe. If I answer the wrong question, ask again … politely.

      Counseling. (Of rape victims???) I was one of the 6 founders of the first rape crisis center here in Oklahoma. So, obviously I believe in helping women who have been through this. I could go on for quite a while, listing my credentials in this matter. The point for me is that counseling, while it is helpful treatment for the trauma of rape, should not become a panacea for dealing with the crime of rape.

      I don’t know what I said about Christian counseling, but I can tell you that I did not set up a Christian-only rape crisis center and do not advocate such a thing. For that matter, Catholic Charities here in OKC, which offers free counseling to lots of people does not do that either. Many of their clients are not Catholic or even Christian. Since this is voluntary on the client’s part, they must find it useful.

      As to “bringing every pregnancy to term;” I do not kill children.

      Again, I’m not sure why you think I believe that I have to convince anyone. This is MY belief.

      As for what I do as a lawmaker, there are people who have the power to turn me out of office any election if they disagree with what I’m doing. You may have noticed that I’m not exactly secretive about my beliefs. The people who elect me know who I am, what I believe and how I represent them. If they want to keep me, that’s their call.

      As to the idea that some Catholics disagree with whatever Church teaching you are referencing, there are over 2 billion of us. No surprise there. But, again, these are my beliefs. Not theirs.

      I know this is an inadequate answer because I’m not referencing what you are. But I hope it helps.

      If you want to ask again, please do so. But play nice Douglas. Nobody has a problem with you being an atheist or pro choice or whatever. The problem is that you are rude.


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