A few months back, I wrote a controversial post about abortion, commenting that an unborn child should have a chance at life even if the woman is raped. It was not well received. However, after recent events in Alabama, it seems I'm not the only one who feels this way. I’ve been turning this topic over and over in my mind. I decided to take a closer look at the rape-victim pro-choice point of view; as they say “her body, her choice;” trying to understand if there is a middle ground somewhere on this particular subject.
A woman experiencing rape is horrible and unimaginable; a transgression that no woman should ever have to suffer. A woman who didn't consent, is forced to have sex, and a man, who is much stronger than a woman, just committed an act against her will. She is likely traumatized, and in some instances, she may even black out from the horrible experience—followed by months (if not years) of counseling and a strong inability to trust men.
Most women don't end up pregnant from being raped, however, less than 1% do. So, what's next if she does end up pregnant?
Fact: Having an abortion doesn't erase the rape situation. It doesn't fix what's already been done. Why should an unborn now become a victim?
What most seem to forget is now we have an unborn child to consider; not just a clump of cells, contrary to popular belief. If abortion is automatically the next step, an unborn child will become the next victim. There are many reported cases of rape-induced children having a chance at life who become something great and wonderful. We tend to lose sight of the unborn because it can't protect itself from harm; it can’t speak up for itself in self-defense.
Pro-lifers represent that voice for the unborn.
I don’t need to tell you abortion is a hot topic and can be approached in many ways, depending on the circumstances. I've seen and read many posts asking the question, "What if it was your daughter who was raped?"
If this happened to my daughter, my first step would be to get her psychological help and try to address each situation as it unfolds. I would explain that ultimately it would be her choice to make this decision, and I would support her regardless. As a father (and someone who is pro-life), I would encourage my daughter to reconsider the idea of abortion. However, given the extreme circumstance, I could never be upset with her if she chose to abort. I want to save the life of every unborn but I also have to be a father 1st and make sure my daughter receives the best help available. I don't believe this is an “either/or” situation (either pro-life or pro-choice), and to be honest I'm not sure what I would call it.
In my opinion, this isn't a pro-life or pro-choice situation. This is an extreme mental trauma situation. We need to step away from these pro-life/pro-choice labels. We are so busy putting labels on each other that we forget the trauma a woman has just experienced.
There is a major difference between being a rape victim and making specific choices, placing yourself in certain situations, and ending up pregnant as a result of those poor choices. Most abortions are done out of convenience. Women want the benefits of promiscuous sex without having to suffer the consequences. A high percentage of women get abortions fearing it will interfere with school, career, or finances. Even though no one would ever wish for anyone's daughter to be raped, we should be more concerned about the higher percentage of daughters getting abortions due to inconvenience.
I would encourage women who end up in this situation to talk with other women who decided to keep their child after being raped. Hear their stories before making that tough decision. There are forums and social media support groups specifically for this purpose.
For the most part, the government should not be involved in this discussion. If government-funded organizations like Planned Parenthood didn't exist, women would be more selective and responsible when it comes to their bodies. Men wouldn't be able to as easily push women toward having sex in the first place, let alone getting an abortion. I think government regulations should be kept at a minimum for those rare cases, such as rape or incest, that fall outside of the categories of “I was acting irresponsibly,” or “a baby would be inconvenient.”
Recently, legislators in Alabama chose to recognize the unborn as human life and have moved to protect that life. But it didn’t need to come to this extreme. As I said before, if places like Planned Parenthood didn’t receive government funding in the first place, men and women could be held accountable for the decisions they make without government involvement. However, since these places do exist, it is easier to throw caution to the wind rather than think through your actions before you decide to take that risk of becoming pregnant. We need to hold ourselves accountable rather shrugging our shoulders, saying things like, “Well, we can always get an abortion.” Especially when most abortions are performed due to inconvenience.
The only other time the government should be involved is in rare situations where the mother wants an abortion but the father does not. This is a topic rarely discussed as it's not as popular given the low percentage if cases (even despite the fact that everyone seems to focus on the <1% of rape cases. #Patriarchy, am I right?). In my opinion, if a woman isn't ready to be a mother but proceeds to get an abortion despite the father’s wishes, this should be treated as a crime with the maximum penalty applied. I understand it's your body and choice but as a active partner, the father does have a right and a voice to this decision. Both the mother and the father lose that right when they enter the bedroom and choose to have sex. There might be laws already in place for this, but if not, this is the only other time I believe the courts and government should interject.
This is without question an incredibly difficult subject, not only are we talking about the mother’s body and choice, but also the father’s body and choice, the child’s body and choice, as well as government’s role and the unspoken meta-conversation going on beneath it all.
There’s a lot going on, with no clear solution. Emotions are high, and people are not thinking clearly; especially in the case of pregnancy via rape. However, in my humble opinion, two wrongs don’t make a right, so I would encourage each woman to reconsider the abortion option and choose life; even if the end result is that the child is put up for adoption.