Post Author: Bill Pratt
In part 3, we review responses to arguments 5 and 6. Again, our guide through these responses to common pro-abortion arguments will be Mike Adams, author of Letters to a Young Progressive. Adams addresses the abortion issue in Letter 8 of his book.
Argument 5: “It is wrong for a woman to be forced to give birth to a baby she cannot afford.”
This argument is also remarkably callous—so much so that it is difficult to understand how those who make it could describe themselves as “liberal.” Do we really need to start reassigning Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal to underline how profoundly sick and distasteful this argument really is?
Swift wrote—satirically of course—a proposal that suggested people eat their babies in order to relieve their hunger and poverty. Serious arguments in favor of “choice” often sound chillingly similar. For those who have never read Swift, I like to point to a more contemporary example. In the 80s, a punk rock band called The Dead Kennedys wrote a song called “Kill the Poor” in which they mockingly suggested that we kill poor people as a means of eliminating poverty. That would certainly eliminate poverty. But is it really an acceptable solution? Of course not. That was their point.
It’s a good idea to confront the advocates of legal abortion with the question of whether it is permissible to kill to eliminate poverty. In response, they typically say something like this: “No, I would never advocate killing the poor. I would advocate abortion to prevent them from becoming poor people in the first place.” They are trapped once again in the untenable position of denying the personhood of the unborn. Please review argument #1.
Of course, there is another aspect to the poverty-as-a-defense-of-abortion argument. It is the crass argument that the mother cannot “afford” the baby. This raises another fundamental question: “Is it permissible to kill a person in order to alleviate financial stress?” If so, I’d like to kill the banker who holds my mortgage. Just kidding. Of course, I cannot do that anyway since a) he is a middle-aged man and b) the Supreme Court does not authorize abortions in the 200th trimester—at least, they haven’t yet!
Argument 6: “It is wrong to force a woman to give birth to a baby after she has been a victim of rape (or incest, which is almost always statutory rape).”
Whenever I hear an argument for the rape exception, I think of my friend Laura. She was adopted, and in her twenties she wanted to locate her birth mother and learn about the circumstances of her adoption. When she did, she found out that she was the product of a rape. I don’t have the audacity to tell her an abortionist should have killed her. I leave that to the compassionate liberals who oversimplify the rape issue. Actually, “oversimplify” is too kind a term.
They are exploiting the rape issue in order to avoid the central question of the debate: “Is the unborn child—yes, even the product of a rape-human?” I say, “Of course!” And Laura agrees with me. If you disagree, then you may take it up with her or with others conceived in rape, such as attorney and pro-life advocate Rebecca Kiessling. Their lives are hardly useless. And because their mothers had the courage to bear them, they have made a profound difference in this world—including saving countless lives with their pro-life testimony.
Whenever the issue of the rape exception is raised, it is well worth mentioning Kennedy v. Louisiana, decided by the Supreme Court in 2008. The Court spared Kennedy from execution on the grounds that it would be “cruel and unusual punishment” to execute a man who had not killed anyone.
This was a brutal rape case-indeed, among the worst I’ve ever studied. An expert in pediatric forensic medicine testified at Kennedy’s trial that Kennedy had raped his eight-year-old stepdaughter savagely, to the point of causing permanent physical damage. In fact, a laceration to the left wall of her vagina had separated her cervix from the back of her vagina and caused her rectum to protrude into her vaginal structure. Put simply, Kennedy raped, sodomized, and viciously tortured the little girl.
Thankfully, he was easily convicted for doing so. There is no question whatsoever about his guilt. But the high court ruled that Kennedy’s execution would violate the Eighth Amendment because of “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.” This decision rested largely on the fact that most states reject the idea of execution for rape—even the rape of a young child, even accompanied by other aggravating factors.
As a result, this is the position in which we find ourselves: When a woman is raped she has a constitutional right to an abortion. And the rapist has a constitutional right to life. But the unborn baby has no rights whatsoever.
The Kennedy case helps us to better understand another frequently employed argument for the rape exception—that a woman has a right to abort in order to rid her of the memory of a horrible event. But this argument is both logically and factually flawed. Logically speaking, the woman, if granted the right to kill one person, should be entitled to kill the rapist. She should not be entitled to kill the baby! Any assertion to the contrary can be justified only by denying the personhood of the unborn. Once again, review argument #1.
Factually speaking, there is simply no merit to the argument that abortions either soothe the conscience or assuage the memory of rape victims. In the first place, too many women feel guilty and blame themselves in the aftermath of rape, and getting an abortion adds another layer of guilt and trauma. Only the birth of the child can provide healing—even if the child is immediately given up for adoption.
Philosophers since Socrates have been pointing out that it is better to suffer evil than to inflict it. Planned Parenthood counselors are never inclined to raise this point. They profit from the infliction of evil upon the innocent. And they use rape victims to justify their occupation.
After I have finished making all the points I wish to make, I always extend the following offer to my opponent: “If I agree to write in the exception for rape, will you be willing to lobby for the law banning all other abortions?” In all of my years discussing abortion, no one has taken me up on the offer. Their reaction always shows that they were never in favor of keeping abortion legal in order to protect victims of rape. They are simply using these women for political purposes.