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On The Rape Exception

Abortion is wrong because it kills a human being.

I suspect almost everyone who identifies as pro-life or anti-abortion would likely agree with this sentiment, despite pro-choice rhetoric that attempts to paint pro-lifers as cranky old Christian men who simply want to control women’s bodies and punish them for having sex.

We know this stereotype isn’t true: that pro-lifers come from all different backgrounds, that we are compassionate, that we seek to protect both women and children.

However, there is one thing that many of us do that perhaps more than anything makes us look like misogynists who just want to control women’s bodies. It may sound counter-intuitive but what I’m talking about is the rape exception.

This is because regardless of why we may feel the need to advocate for this position, it obfuscates why abortion is wrong in the first place. After all, if abortion should be legal in some cases -- why not all?

When we say that abortion should be allowed or taxpayer funded only if the pregnant person did not choose to have sex, it gives off the impression that in every other case we simply desire to punish her for choosing to have sex.

Proponents of the rape exception will say that there is a certain level of risk that you sign up for when you have consensual sexual intercourse and because you knew about that risk there is an obligation to care for a potential child if one happens to be created. It follows then that in the case of rape there is no obligation to take care of a potential child. While of course most everyone knows that sex can lead to pregnancy -- this supposed obligation should be wholly irrelevant to the pro-life position.

In my view, abortion is not wrong because it allows people to have consequence-free sex -- it is wrong because it is undeniably an act of violence. Every single abortion procedure ends the life of a young human being and it does so through either starvation, poisoning, or dismemberment.

Life begins at conception -- regardless of the circumstances surrounding that conception.

Undoubtedly, pro-lifers who hold a rape exception do so out of what they believe is compassion for people who have experienced the violence of sexual assault; however, this compassion is ultimately misplaced.

On the topic of the rape exception, sexual assault survivor and mother from rape Jennifer Christie has said, “To be clear: What we’re saying with that statement is that a woman who has just suffered unspeakable violation and violence will be best served by… violence and death." She continues, "Either lie on a table and get ready for someone to once again invade your body, this time vacuuming out your child, piece by piece, and you’re then left to cramp and bleed and think about what just happened. Or you’re given a pill where you can suffer cramping and bleeding alone as bits of your child slip from your body in small pieces over several hours or days and you may have to be vacuumed out anyway.”

Elective abortion, which always violently ends the life of at least one human being, is never a compassionate option.

While I understand the desire to appear moderate by making exceptions for abortion -- there is nothing moderate or sensible about it being legal to slaughter innocent children.

For more information about the rape exception, I highly encourage you to look into the work of Rebecca Kiessling and her organization Save the 1 which advocates for the rights of rape survivors and their children.


Disclaimer: The views presented in the Rehumanize Blog do not necessarily represent the views of all members, contributors, or donors. We exist to present a forum for discussion within the Consistent Life Ethic, to promote discourse and present an opportunity for peer review and dialogue.

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