Saying 'We Need Abortion Because of Rape' is Dishonest, Unjust, and Merciless

As Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and Missouri Governor Mike Parsons pass pro-life legislation that says you can’t murder children conceived in rape or incest, the pro-choice movement has predictably been responding like this:

While leftists wanting to dismember children is nothing new, many pro-life individuals also buy the lie that says, “if the circumstances of your conception were sufficiently horrible enough, then you deserve the death penalty.” President Donald Trump voiced his support for killing children conceived in rape and incest last week on Twitter:

Firing back, Rebecca Kiessling, a pro-life speaker conceived in rape, made the obvious observation that the President’s statements communicate that people like her don’t have a right to life and her mother’s right to kill her in the womb ought to be protected.

Given the widespread hysteria amongst pro-aborts and even many self-proclaimed pro-lifers concerning the argument that babies conceived in rape or incest should be dismembered, here are three reasons why this argument is dishonest, unjust, and merciless.

Pro-Choicers Appeal to Rape to Keep Abortion-on-demand Legal

First, this argument is a total sham. The pro-choice philosophy is not that women have a moral right to abortion when a rapist impregnates them. Their philosophy is that women have the moral right to pay a “physician” to kill their baby at any stage of pregnancy for any reason or no reason at all. The appeal to circumstances of rape is argued as an emotionally-powerful strategy to persuade more people that abortion should remain legal.

Generally speaking, people tend to acknowledge the plight of the mother over the plight of her unborn child because we can see the mother and hear her story. However, if the unborn is a distinct, living, and whole human being - which the science of embryology affirms he is - then we ought to equally acknowledge the plight of the mother and her unborn child.

This sham can be easily exposed by asking your pro-choice friend, “Are you willing to join me in fighting to end all abortions that aren’t performed because of rape and incest?” When they answer no, you will know that their concern is not for keeping abortion legal in circumstances of rape and incest. Their concern is keeping abortion legal PERIOD!

Rape Accounts for Less Than One Percent of Abortions Performed

Second, this argument commits the exception fallacy by appealing to the exceptions in order to argue for the norm. In other words, the pro-choice movement uses the specific circumstance of rape and incest as an argument for why abortion should remain legal in all circumstances. We know that abortions performed in circumstances of rape are the exception as they account for less than 1% of the annual abortion rate. The Guttmacher Institute (Planned Parenthood’s statistical research arm) reports that 1% of women cited rape as the reason for their abortion in 1987, and less than 0.5% of women in 2004.

Just as pro-aborts hide behind false reasons, such as rape, to justify their support for all abortions, they also hide behind statistical exceptions to make their support for abortion-on-demand seem more compassionate.

Perverting Justice

Third, this argument is a gross perversion of justice. In what other circumstance would a pro-abortion advocate accept the murder of a child because the child’s mother was brutally abused? If unborn babies conceived in rape should be killed simply because their father was a rapist, would pro-aborts support the right of mothers to pay doctors to suffocate their newborn babies, so long as those newborns were conceived in rape? At what point do the circumstances of your conception cease to justify your murder?

One of the most popular arguments in support of killing babies conceived in rape is that the baby might look like the rapist and it would be evil to force women to have babies that look like and remind them of their rapist.

Very well. Here’s a solution: In order to ensure we don’t abort any babies that don’t look like their rapist father, let’s allow all babies conceived in rape to be born. If the newborn looks like the rapist, slit his throat. If the newborn doesn’t look like the rapist, let him live. However, because it often takes babies a couple of years before they look like Mom or Dad, perhaps we should wait until these babies are two years old, at which point we can know with certainty whether they will look like their rapist father or like their mother. Then we’ll only kill the 2-year-olds that resemble their father.

While pro-abortion advocates rightly object to killing newborns and toddlers conceived in rape, they cannot adequately explain why that is wrong, yet killing those same human beings in the womb is not wrong.

The reason they cannot adequately explain their intellectual inconsistency is because there is in fact no value-giving difference between the embryonic human beings we once were and the adults we are today that can justify killing us at that earlier stage. In other words, the unborn differs from us in much the same way that we differ from one another: All humans vary in regard to size, level of development, location, and degree of dependency.

The perversion of justice gets worse. While pro-aborts thankfully don’t support honor killings (the murder of innocent women who have been raped), they do believe that innocent unborn children should be murdered for the crimes of their father.

Amazingly, pro-aborts cry for the murder of innocent babies, while largely refusing to support a life-time prison sentence or the death penalty for rapists. In other words, the outcome is the death penalty for babies and a few years in prison for rapists.  If we don’t give the death penalty to the rapist, who is guilty, and we don’t give the death penalty to the mother (thank God) who is innocent, why should we give the death penalty to the unborn child who is just as innocent as his or her mother?

While there is obvious emotional and physiological complexity for a woman who has endured the horror of rape and is now carrying a child that is the product of that very injustice, that does not mean that killing her unborn child is morally complex. We don’t get to murder children because something horrible happened to us. It doesn’t work that way. Hardship does not justify homicide.

By all means, let us support women who are the victims of rape. Let us create a safe culture where women feel comfortable to immediately report incidents’ of sexual assault so we can deal swiftly and justly with these animals. Let us punish rapists to the full extent of the law. But seeking to murder babies as a solution to rape is not a solution. It’s barbarism; and it is wrong for the same exact reason that rape is wrong: both rape and abortion involve the intentional mistreatment and harm of an innocent human being.

Women Suffer From Double Trauma

Moral choices have consequences. After aborting their children who were conceived in rape, many women end up suffering more trauma. One of the only surveys ever done on the experiences of women who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest was conducted by the Elliot Institute and compiled in the book, Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting From Sexual Assault. Surveying 192 women, the research found:

  • 80% of the women who aborted reported that abortion had been the wrong solution.

  • A majority of women said that abortion only increased the trauma they were already experiencing.

  • 43% of rape victims chose abortions because they felt pressured to do so by family members.

  • None of the women who gave birth to a child conceived in rape expressed regret or wished they had chosen abortion.

Unfortunately, many pro-life legislators accept exceptions for rape and incest in pro-life bills. This is either because their conscience tells them women should have the right to kill their babies conceived in rape or because of strategic reasons – given that most politicians won’t vote for a bill that doesn’t have a rape/incest exception.

While many pro-lifers accept the sacrifice of allowing for exceptions in these bills in order to immediately save savable babies, the pro-life movement will not be satisfied until every human being is protected and the right to life applied equally. Until our country stops killing babies, regardless of the circumstances of their conception, the advocates of human equality will fight on. Will you join the fight?

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Seth Gruber

Seth travels and speaks in Protestant and Catholic high schools, churches, training seminars, and for pregnancy resource center banquets, engages in academic debate, and blogs and writes as a cultural and political commentator. Seth has been published by Christian Research Journal and writes regularly for Life Training Institute and his own blog.