May 19 2010
An excellent editorial, here.
When abortion is viewed in general as a compassionate course of action, it will naturally be viewed all the more compassionately when a girl or woman is pregnant because someone raped her.
The prevailing “necessary evil” view on abortion is part of the “abortion as compassion” view. Denying an abortion, particularly in cases of rape, is viewed by many as excessive and cruel.
In our current culture, it’s not easy to say abortion is never compassionate. We might point to the many known cases where abortion concealed rape and/or incest and allowed the criminal to keep assaulting a young woman. We might point to the victim in the womb being one and the same in substance and soul as any other pregnancy, normally conceived. All of it rings hollow, and I’m aware of that.
With Quebec’s history with the Roman Catholic Church, the problem is compounded. It’s also worse in Quebec because there, more so than any other province, abortion is used as birth control. Multiple examples of one woman having multiple abortions are known to me personally.
If you had many abortions for pretty much no reason–how crazy is it to deny a woman who might possibly have a very good reason?
Where rape is the topic in conjunction with abortion the discussion is as hard as it gets. There’s disagreement on the PWPL team, too. But we have agreed to work on the 99% of abortions done for casual reasons before turning our attention to the very difficult cases.
Brigitte adds: Right on. If we could make a dent in the number of casual abortions in this country, that would make me very happy indeed. That said, I’m no longer sure quite where I stand on the subject of rape/incest. I find it difficult, if not impossible, to tell a woman who got pregnant after non-consensual sex (especially if the event was particularly traumatic) that she should bear the child that came from the assault. I’m not sure I could do it. Yes, I know – the child is innocent and human and making him or her yet another victim of the criminal’s actions would not do anything to right the wrong. But at the same time, gosh, carrying a baby for nine months then going through childbirth for someone whose existence is a constant reminder of a horrible crime of which you were the primary victim, that must be extraordinarily difficult. I suppose that puts me somewhere on the fence.