Abortion. Pro-life. Choice. Rape.
Buzzwords from the past couple weeks in the national debate surrounding different legislation passed in a number of states. The issue is emotionally charged. It’s divisive.
And why wouldn’t it be? We’re talking about whether an innocent, unborn human being lives or dies.
There is a long spectrum of where one may fall on the abortion issue. For example, one could be a strict life-at-conception (personhood) supporter. One could also support the ability to allow a baby who survives an abortion to be left to die. And there are many, many possibilities in between.
At the risk of “dumbing down” the most pressing issue of our time, I submit in reality there are three positions.
The first position is that life begins at conception and should be protected from the moment of fertilization. This position is typically rooted in one of two things — if not both. For many who hold this view, their faith dictates the idea that an unborn person is indeed a person of value and deserves constitutional protection when it comes to his or her right to life.
Heck, in America you can’t even harm the egg of a bald eagle without being guilty of a crime. So for life-at-conception folks, why on earth should you be allowed to terminate a fertilized human egg?
For others who hold this position, it is rooted in science. The science says life does indeed begin at conception. Even in the early 1950s Planned Parenthood’s own literature supported this claim. At the moment of conception a unique person is created with his or her own personal DNA.
Call him or her what you want — fetus, embryo, zygote, baby — it is a human being at some stage of development. It is a human being.
Those who believe life begins at conception believe that life should also be protected, for the most part. More on that later.
And there’s the other end of the spectrum. Folks who either aren’t sure or simply don’t care when life begins. These people might tell you they don’t personally like abortion, but they don’t want to be in the business of telling someone else what they can or can’t do.
There are folks who would make the argument that even children already born don’t necessarily have a right to life.
I’m serious. There are enough of those folks out there to prompt an article by the Journal of Medical Ethics with the headline After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?
Full disclosure, I’m firmly in the life-at-conception camp. As a father who went to every single prenatal appointment with my wife, never once did I have a doubt whether the living thing inside of her was a human being. The heartbeat, the ultrasounds, the kicks, the movements — it was a little baby person from the moment it was created.
And the government has a duty to protect and provide security for its people. If an eagle’s egg is worth governmental protection, isn’t a humans?
As I said earlier, there are many positions people hold between those two polar opposites. But at the end of the day the issue of abortion comes down to one central question — when does life begin.
And that’s where this third group of people will draw my ire. Included in this group of people are Sean Hannity and President Donald Trump.
This group of people considers itself to be pro-life. Some strongly pro-life. But they may be comfortable with abortion before 6 weeks, or 12 weeks or 20 weeks. Or they may be OK with abortion in cases of rape or incest.
And therein lies the problem.
When “pro-life” folks come out in support of abortion at early stages of pregnancy or in cases of rape, they undermine the most important tool in the debate — the truth.
Because if we are pro-life, we are pro-life because we believe the unborn baby is a person. If the unborn baby isn’t a person, who cares what happens to it? If it’s not a person, why bother even talking about it?
But if it is a person — then that changes everything. Or at least it should.
The truth is — at least for those who are pro-life — life begins at conception. Period. End of story. That is it.
So, if you’re pro-life, how on earth can you possibly say circumstances should dictate (rape) whether or not that unborn person lives or dies? We don’t even sentence a rapist to death in this country. Why in the world are we killing an innocent unborn child?
Yet you will find many self-proclaimed pro-life folks also defending the right to kill a baby if it is conceived in rape.
Here’s just one honest question…
Let’s pretend those “pro-life” folks have their way. Abortion is banned except in cases of rape. Do you think more women will claim they were raped?
Wouldn’t that policy simply open up the floodgates to women who want an abortion to just claim rape? Wouldn’t it encourage abortionists to instruct a woman “well, I can’t perform an abortion unless you were raped… were you raped?”
I’d hope this goes without saying, but to be safe, I acknowledge rape does happen and rape can lead to pregnancy. Women do deserve to be heard and listened to when they make these claims.
That said, is it wise to incentivize claiming rape?
Based on The Iowa Standard’s recent poll, some of you likely support abortion in cases of rape and incest. Please do not be offended by what I am about to say. Just think about it.
I submit that the most heartless position of the three positions detailed in this article is the position that acknowledges life begins at conception, life should be protected — unless it was conceived in rape.
Because those folks know better.
Those folks who support exceptions for rape and incest acknowledge what faith, science and reason suggest — life begins at conception. Yet they don’t believe a child deserves protection simply because the actions of his or her father.
There are folks out there who are alive. Who were born. Who were conceived in rape.
Think about what your position tells them. Think about what sort of value they must feel about their own lives when they hear that fellow pro-lifers do not believe they deserved their right to life. That their life wasn’t worth protecting or defending.
Politics can be ugly. Morality can get ugly. Right and wrong can get ugly.
Abortion is the ugliest of the ugly. Rape is right there with it.
Any time we treat someone as property rather than a person it is ugly. And in abortion and rape, that’s what we do.
I get the Left’s position. I get abortion-on-demand folks. They simply lack the moral compass necessary to see this issue the right way.
What I don’t get are the pro-lifers with exceptions. Because they know better.
And I’m reminded of 2 Peter 2:21:
“It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”
Folks, we know. At the end of the day whether it is our faith that tells us, our reason that tells us or science, we know that life begins at conception.