I was advised to look up footage of Sarah Palin in the Alaska gubernatorial debates on YouTube, since she apparently performed much better in that context than she did with Katie Couric, and lo and behold, it seems that she did. [youtube:http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=y1-B-OyQ-KI&feature=related]
I am struck by how much the discussion of abortion dwelt upon abortion for a rape victim. Why does it seem to baffle so many people that those who believe abortion is wrong also believe that aborting a baby conceived in rape is wrong? If the issue is an innate right to life, why would the circumstances of conception be a part of the equation?
Any attempt to point out that abortion for rape victims might not be the answer is dicey, because of the need to be sensitive to the pain and horror endured by rape victims for a long time – frequently a lifetime – after the assault itself. Pregnancy with a much-wanted child can still be a physically and mentally stressful experience; I can’t imagine how much worse this would be if the pregnancy was not only unwanted but a constant reminder of violation. If the issue, though, is to minimize the suffering of a woman who has already been victimized, why do the reservations pro-lifers have about abortion in general – that it damages women on a physical, moral and emotional level – not still apply?
To put it more bluntly: most pro-lifers believe abortion to be wrong because it ends a human life. How does it help a rape victim to make her an accessory to this?
Andrea adds: It’s only in a world where abortion is viewed as compassionate that we would “offer it” as a “solution” to a victim of rape. We’re a long ways away from reversing the “abortion as compassion” sentiment. The line I’ve adopted is that I’ll get into discussing cases of rape and incest when the other 99 per cent of abortions are eradicated. So very few abortions are done for this reason.
We recently had someone who regrets her abortion write in to PWPL. She had the abortion because she was raped. Just goes to show you, these cases are not clear cut–and the pain of killing another exists even when you were wronged in the first place, grievously so.
Brigitte is looking for a middle ground: While I would not go so far as to recommend abortion as a “solution” to a victim of rape (nothing can erase that kind of memory) who found herself pregnant due to the rape, I could not bring myself to condemn her for choosing to end that baby’s life. In my book, when you do not consent to sex, you can’t be forced to bear and give birth to the child.
Andrea adds: To be frank, I’m not in the business of condemning any woman–so many have had abortions, and again, 99 per cent are not because of rape. I’m in the business of nurturing good choices. Abortion isn’t one. Rape is terrible–always. So is abortion. Though I appreciate the connection Brigitte is making between sex and pregnancy–ie that’s where the “reproductive choice” truly lies–the fact that the woman is raped, thereby denying her the “choice” doesn’t make the killing of innocents into a workable thing, or the right thing to do.