Lately, it seems that our candidates for U.S. Senate can’t seem to talk about this topic without saying something monumentally stupid. It’s not that they’re creeps who hate women, it’s that they really struggle to talk about this sensitive topic in a way that doesn’t offend the entire universe.
However, I would like to point out that we all say stupid things from time to time, and that their words have been blown out of proportion in my opinion. Each clarified their statement, and Akin apologized for the way his words came out. The media, both social and regular, won’t let us move on from that though–once again sensational, entertainment wins out over actual news.
Akin clearly doesn’t know much about how women’s bodies work (and who can blame him? women often don’t understand how their bodies work), but I think what Mourdock was trying to say has merit. At conception, a new human life is created. It is a complete organism that directs its own development that shares some similarities with the mother, but is biologically different. The only thing that changes between then and birth is the same thing that changes between a newborn and an adult: time, nutrients, and growth. Nothing external is added to change this life from being not-human into human.
If you believe that God creates life, would you say that he ever does so accidentally? That He ever does anything accidentally? Of course not. That God intentionally creates life has nothing to do with whether He intended the rape to occur. Rather, given that the rape has already occurred, God takes a horrifying, terrible situation and brings something good out of it: a new life. And that is what I think Mourdock was trying to convey.
Everyone who talks about abortion being okay in the case of rape does a disservice to all women who have been raped. This attitude says that the baby resulting from rape is repulsive to their own mothers, and that any woman who has been raped should have the option of aborting their child. Almost 40% of all pregnancies resulting from rape are carried to term. Think about what the abortion in the case of rape mentality says to these women who choose to keep their child. Women have enough trouble trying to defend against those who say they weren’t really raped, that they somehow wanted it. If a woman keeps her baby resulting from the rape, the mentality suggests that maybe she wasn’t really raped. After all, what rape victim would want to keep her rapists baby?
This mentality also harms every person who was conceived in rape. When a pregnancy occurs following a rape, the resulting child is not just the rapist’s child as it is almost exclusively referred to. It is also the woman’s child. To say that abortion is okay in the case of rape is to say to every person living as the result of rape that their lives are worth less because of who their fathers were. The punishment for rape isn’t death, so why is the punishment for the innocent child greater?
There’s an analogy that some people like to throw out to say that abortion should be legal in the case of rape. It goes something like this: Imagine that one night, someone breaks in and attaches you to another person through medical equipment, and if you detach yourself from them, they’ll die. Is it unethical to pull the plug, therefore killing them? The thought is that while it would be heroic of you to remain in that room attached to some stranger, it would not be legally necessary. After all, you didn’t do anything to the person to cause them harm, and it’s not your fault they are attached to you.
I think this analogy needs to be altered: Someone breaks in and steals your reproductive cells, which is a traumatic invasion of self. Through some medical procedure, someone creates a baby that is biologically half yours. After the baby (let’s say a girl, for pronoun ease) is born, they discover that she needs to be attached to your bloodstream 24/7 for 9 months to cure the disease. In the middle of the night, they break in and attach your baby girl to you, placing her in a sling along your front. If you remove her, she will die. You can still live out your life, but it is more difficult and you will be reminded of the invasion. If you allow her to remain attached to you for 9 months, you will have the choice of keeping her or giving her to someone else. Is it still okay to pull the plug on your daughter before the 9 months are up and let her die?