Why Rape and Incest are Not Moral Reasons for an Abortion

Written by on May 21, 2019

By Jesse Sumpter

Last week the state of Alabama passed a law making it a felony offense to perform an abortion and this law does not allow any exceptions for rape and incest. Alabama did the right thing here. I wrote last week that this law is an opportunity for Pro-lifers to stand up and explain why rape and incest are not legitimate reasons to allow an abortion.

Then on Saturday President Trump said this on twitter: “I am strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions – Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother – the same position taken by Ronald Reagan.” While I am thankful that the president is supportive of the Pro-life cause and that he has been vocal about his position, the exceptions he lists here, specifically “rape and incest” are not legitimate exceptions. The reality is that the president needs to correct his position to be fully Pro-life. The Alabama law really is correct on this point. And this gives us another reason why we need to talk a lot about the Alabama law: Americans, including the President, need to be educated on why rape and incest are not moral reasons to allow for abortion.

So let’s look at why it is immoral to use rape and incest to allow for an abortion.

First and most importantly, in the case of rape and incest, the child conceived is innocent. This is the first rule of law: the innocent party should not be killed. The rapist should be tried and held responsible. The death penalty could and probably should be applied to him but the primary rule of law is that the innocent party is innocent.

What about memories of the event? Won’t the child bring up traumatic memories for the mother?

That is true and possible. However, trauma does not make murder lawful. There are a host of traumatic events that a person can go through in life but that does not mean anyone should die.

For example, a child and parent are in a car crash and they both survive. Will there be memories of the trauma? Will the child remind the parent of that event? Yes. But they need counselling for grief and trauma. We don’t need to kill one of them.

What about an attempted murder? A gunman pulls a gun on a mother and child. He shoots the mother but she survives. Neither the mother nor the child should be done away with. They need help with the trauma of that scenario but they don’t need to be killed.

Another way to look at the situation of rape is to flip the question around: in the case of rape, would it be lawful to kill the mother and let the baby live? If we flip the question like that, the answer becomes plain and clear. Obviously, the woman is innocent of rape and she is a victim. To kill the victim makes no sense whatsoever. The woman should not be killed and neither should the baby.

Is there shame associated with the rape?

Yes, there can be. What does the woman need to help cope with this? She needs the truth: yes, what happened to her is terrible, but she is innocent. She is a genuine victim in this situation. She needs to learn to forgive and she needs to know that her true identity is found in Jesus. If she finds her rest and hope in Jesus, then He will give her the strength to care for this child. In looking to Jesus, this woman is innocent and pure. There is nothing to be ashamed of. She did nothing wrong. Jesus knows she is perfect and whole. It is Jesus’ view that matters. And the Christian church should reach out to this woman and encourage her in this truth.

Should the woman continue to be the mother of the child after the birth?

There are multiple solutions here to be considered but murder is not one of them. The mother could be the right mother for the child; that sometimes happens. She could be the one who could raise the child the best. However, it might be better for the mother to have the child adopted. That is another great solution.

Will the child have to deal with a traumatic past?

Yes, but many people have had a traumatic past and they have to learn how to deal with it. Did you survive a car wreck when you were little? Did you suffer through a parental divorce when you were young? The answer to these problems is to teach and guide people through these past events. They need to learn how to process them. But in the power of God and in the power of the gospel true forgiveness can be found. God can heal the darkest wounds. By God’s grace and mercy, a traumatic past does not determine one’s future.

There are many other parts of this issue to discuss but this should get one going in the right direction. For another helpful discussion on this issue, I would recommend Matt Walsh’s piece: Three Reasons Why The ‘Rape And Incest’ Argument For Abortion Is Misleading, Disingenuous, And Wrong.

The new law in Alabama has provided an opportunity for Pro-lifers to discuss this issue. We need to step up and do that. This is a chance to educate people around the country, including the president himself.

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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