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Rape and Abortion

Every once in a while I am pulled back into the abortion debate; which I welcome fully.  I welcome abortion arguments because I feel that the more popular arguments on all sides of the issue are pretty weak.  I hope that posting on the issue will supply pro-life individuals with some weaponry and, of course, turn the minds of those who are pro-abortion.

So first let me say that I am pro-life to the fullest degree and only accept abortion as morally correct when it puts the mother’s life in grave and immediate danger.  The readers who know me likely understand my political philosophies to be conservative with strong leanings toward libertarianism.  It is my libertarianism leanings that allow me to be neutral on gay marriage (government shouldn’t be involved in anyone’s marriage).  That has a lot of my conservative friends upset.  That’s fine – I stick to my principles.  I feel that most social issues should be taken care of socially, not through government.  If the Church, for instance, wanted to protect the sanctity of marriage, then perhaps they should have done that rather than perverting it for two generations.

Abortion, however, is completely different.  I feel that we have been unfortunately dishonest with ourselves by accepting abortion under the label of “social issue”.  I find this a life and death issue.  Social issues are issues that are perceived to influence our lives.  For the mother who is contemplating abortion, this may properly be explained as a social issue; but for the child within, this isn’t social because they are not yet part of society.  This is very much a life and death issue and calling it a social issue, from the perspective of the child anyhow, is like calling war a social issue (which it is not).

The spurring that forced my typing hands today comes from a story about a poor 11- year old Chilean child who was raped by a family member and is now pregnant.  The argument over her abortion rights is now beginning to take hold in certain social outlets.  Pro-abortion advocates are fighting for her right to abort so that she doesn’t have to suffer further while some pro-life promoters disagree.  I say some because many who consider themselves pro-life actually side with the pro-abortion groups in the case of rape.  In fact, most of our political pro-life supporters accept the unwritten “except in case of rape or incest” clause.

I have many friends who take this stance.  I, for one, have always been pro-life; even in the deplorable situations found above.  Perhaps I am biased as I am a rape baby.  To those who have read this blog for a while, this is not news.  To others, perhaps it is.  My wife and I, with admittedly some sense of twisted thinking, call it my “rape card” because I usually don’t pull it out until deeply invested in a debate.  To further that twisted view, I have expressed to many that I am thankful for my history and the ability to pull such a card.  Why?  Because I am a happy man with a wife and family.  The fact that my mom was raped when she was 14, while horrid and sad, doesn’t have any influence on my life today except, undeniably, my stance on abortion.   Further, the ability to pull such a card has turned many minds to my pro-life way of thinking.

Here is the sad truth about rape – it sucks.  It’s detestable and any man who rapes a woman (especially these young children) is disgusting in every way.  Unfortunately, when they rape, they hurt; not only physically, but emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.  These women can suffer for years or the rest of their lives.  This suffering is unfair, unfortunate, and undeserved.  If we could simply wipe all of that pain away, we would.  Still, when it happens the suffering comes.  The point of emphasis in this argument comes down to an understandable sympathy for these suffering victims.  It is completely reasonable for an advocate of such a victim to attempt to limit the amount of suffering.  I also do not deny that carrying the baby conceived in rape is an addition to their suffering.  Certainly for some having the baby would be further accumulation.  My detractors often maintain that I am cold and heartless in my stance by defining it as “forcing the victim into more suffering”.  So how do I justify such a stance?

I cannot get beyond the notion that the suffering of one trumps the life of an innocent.  I also cannot think of any other situation where this is true outside of Christology (Christ’s death for sinners).  Do we kill innocent people to lessen the suffering of others?  This is certainly unethical, and framed properly, nearly all would agree.  What each proponent of abortion in this circumstance is saying is that they would rather see a baby snuffed out rather than see a victim suffer more.  The question that must be asked is what possible justice can be explained from the perspective of the unborn child?

Perhaps we can all agree that punishment for a man who rapes a woman should be swift, but how many in our society would agree he should be put to death? How many would say that we should extinguish any chance this human being has at hurting someone again? Certainly the position that a rapist shouldn’t be able to have the opportunities to enjoy life (our greatest gift) is an understandable one; whether you agree or not. But perhaps some, even here, would disagree. Should we question the logic then that there is no death penalty for a rape in America (save 6 states), but it is completely legal to extinguish the opportunity for the innocent child to enjoy life?

Frederick Douglas once said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”. This, of course, is only true if the child is alive. Sadly, with this stance, we have accepted as a society (and in law) that we should take a shot at the latter, which is harder, and forsake the former, which is easier. Broken men serve a sentence and innocent children perish….and we call that just. But what does Frederick Douglas know…he was just a rape baby who should have been killed for the sake of his mother.Protesters Rally At Opening Of RNC Convention


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  • Steve Dennis July 12, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    Great post RHM, while I have been reading you for awhile here I did not know this about you. You certainly lend a different perspective to this argument. Like you I consider myself to be socially libertarian and I also think the government has no place in marriage. I always took the same stance on abortion, although I am pro-life I didn’t think I had the right to impose this view on others, but I love the way you framed this issue because it is more than a social issue and you have caused me to rethink my stance. Thank you.
    Steve Dennis recently posted..Janet Napolitano resigns abruptly from the DHSMy Profile

  • RightHandMan
    RightHandMan July 12, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    I’m thrilled to hear that Steve. My argument against the typical libertarian argument (that I often make in regard to marriage, drugs, enterprise, etc.) is that the fed does have the right to make laws protecting life. Life is a fundamental right. Now, if the fetus had no ability to become a person or the woman had a tumor or parasite in her uterus, the government has no business in her medical decision.

    Our laws are centered on protecting life, liberty, and enterprise. We cannot let liberty, as treasured as it is, trump life because without life liberty is vain.

  • Harrison August 3, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    If you are against abortion I don’t see how you can have an exception. If you are for protecting the innocent life then why should it matter if the mother’s life is in danger… you would be okay in trading one life for another?

    I see being pro life as being an absolute. Nobody wants to see any mother die in childbirth but killing the unborn baby isn’t fair to it, either.