It is of fundamental importance that we acknowledge the sensitivity of this topic prior to engaging in our positions. This specific discussion includes two topics, sexual assault and abortion, each of which result in extreme emotional trauma. Please remember this if you plan to comment.
Since the beginning of April, five states have enacted “heartbeat bills” which would prohibit abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected, unless complications compromise the mother’s life. What makes these laws unique among other pro-life laws is not just the early standard of prohibition, but the fact that they have no exception for rape. This has surfaced fierce dialogues within the pro-life/pro-choice communities, but what is interesting is that even some pro-life advocates support rape exceptions. This is troubling. Consider the following objections to rape exceptions:
1. They undermine the value of the baby.
If you’re pro-life, but support rape exceptions, your logic is flawed. See, the pro-life position is fundamentally based in the value of the fetus (baby.) But the value of a baby is not appraised by the means of its conception. That said, a baby conceived from rape has the same value as a baby conceived in consensual intercourse. So, if the value of a fetus conceived in consensual intercourse secures its right to life, we cannot justify ending the life of the fetus conceived in rape, since it holds the same value. Rape exceptions, or rather their flawed logic, attempt to devalue the innocent life of the fetus.
2. They undermine the power of the mother.
To support a rape exception is to undermine the instinctive posture of motherly protection. The bond between a mother and her children is supreme. This is seen across nature. The strength a mother will show to protect children is powerful, thus to prey on a woman in post-traumatic stress encouraging her to terminate the innocent life inside of her is a whole new realm of depravity. It’s as if to say, “you’re not strong enough to protect your child,” instead of identifying the tragedy behind the circumstances and walking with her through it.
3. They give evil a victory lap.
As if rape wasn’t a sick enough display of evil, aborting the innocent infant is demanding an encore from evil. I’m choosing to quote my friend Gabriel Pagel, as he put it better than I would:
“The very reason you hate rape and mourn for the mother's pain (her humanity and right to not be violated by outside forces) is the same reason we cannot call for the unborn to be aborted (who's humanity is denied when we deprive them of life, inflict pain, and violate them during abortion).”
4. They punish the wrong people– yes, people.
Rape exceptions condemn an innocent life to death, and strip an innocent mother of her motherhood. That said, the perpetrator who spends 10 years in prison gets off the easiest. This is a horribly concerning irony. All sides agree that rape victims are not in a stable emotional or mental state following their attacks – thus it should be reasonable why pro-lifers would intervene when the survivor is deciding whether to end the life of their child.