Quick Response #12: We Need Broad Abortion Access for Rape Cases

Emily Albrecht responds to the pro-choice concern about abortions in the case of rape. How should the horrendous violence of rape effect our laws about abortion?

Watch all the videos in ERI’s Quick Response series here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsN8Ay8poS-It-dWSmblq1ZufOH-MVj1L

Related Links:

News story about cities failing to process rape kits:

Pro-Life Apologetics: The Equal Rights Argument:

Script Text

But what about the case of rape? It’s a question that’s certain to come up in basically every conversation I have about abortion, and I’m sad to say that I don’t think many pro-lifers address this question adequately. Yes, abortions in the case of rape account for a very small percentage of all abortions, but these women’s situations are real, and they still need to be part of the conversation. Too often, pro-life people fall into something we call “fetus tunnel vision” where it seems like the only thing they care about is the fetus. Pro-lifers need to do a better job expressing the genuine compassion they have for survivors of rape. 

(intro sequence)

Rape is one of the worst things I know of, and I certainly don’t think that our society takes rape seriously enough. The way that people often talk about rape puts the blame on the survivor by saying things like “well, if she hadn’t worn that dress” or “if she hadn’t gone to that party,” implying that it’s the woman’s fault while placing absolutely ZERO responsibility on the person who committed a HORRENDOUS ACT OF SEXUAL AND EMOTIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST HER. I do feel like our society has been trending better on these conversations lately, thanks in part to the #metoo movement and watchdog groups like MinistryWatch, and I’m glad for that, but there is so much more work to do. For example, we need to make sure that every city has the necessary resources to process rape kits, instead of leaving thousands on the shelves as many cities were recently exposed doing.

Let’s imagine that a woman is raped and becomes pregnant, and she decides not to have an abortion. Some women do decide not to have an abortion after being raped. So this woman decides that she wants to carry the pregnancy to term, and she gives birth to a baby boy. As months go by, things are going okay. She’s getting therapy, she has a supportive community around her, the rapist’s butt is in jail where it belongs—it’s a slow road to healing, but she’s doing as well as she could be. Until her son turns two. Around the age of two, the baby’s face starts to change, and he looks less like a baby, and more like a little boy. And he looks a lot like his biological father. He looks like the rapist. Things start to go downhill rapidly: she’s having flashbacks every day, nightmares every night, she’s around her son all the time and it gets so bad that she starts to hate her son, to the point where she wants to KILL HER SON because she thinks it’s the only thing that will give her relief. 

This is an extremely traumatic experience, and I don’t want any woman to be in that situation, ever. But should she be allowed to kill her son?

No. I think we can all agree on that. We should surround this woman with love and support and resources and everything we can possibly think of, and I know none of that will ever totally fix the situation, but we do the best we can. Basically, we should be willing to do just about anything for this woman, EXCEPT KILL SOMEONE. We shouldn’t be willing to do that. 

Let’s go back to abortion for a second then. I have this view that the two-year-old son in that story and a fetus have the same moral status. IF I’m right about that—IF I’m right that the unborn is equally valuable as the toddler—then we shouldn’t kill the unborn just like we shouldn’t kill the toddler in the case of rape. That doesn’t mean that I don’t care about the woman, it simply means that killing is off-limits. If you don’t agree that the fetus and the toddler are equally valuable, check-out our video on the Equal Rights Argument. Link in the description. 

Having an exception that allows abortion in the case of rape would also be incredibly harmful to women. In order for that exception to even work, women would have to substantiate that they were raped, which is clearly harmful to the survivors of rape. Therefore, the only way to do right by those women would be to waive any requirement for proof, which allows anyone to get an abortion, no questions asked. The rape exception could become a trojan horse for broad abortion access. So having an exception for the case of rape wouldn’t even work practically, not to mention the fact that killing the fetus is wrong.

We can all agree that rape is a horrific and unjust act of violence against an innocent person: the woman. But I don’t think it is right to commit a second act of violence against another innocent person in order to help solve an already traumatic situation.

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