UPDATE 2: Please go reat this article at the Washington Examiner: When a horrific rape leads to an innocent life. It has a few examples of women who chose to continue a rape pregnancy AND the offspring of such a pregnancy. Key quote:
Jenni says her mother tells her that "it was a horrible thing that happened, but this was a little light in her life." A daughter to raise "gave her incentive to recover." Aborting Jenni "would have been just another trauma," her mother says.
After Akin's comments, the Republican ticket proclaimed: "A Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape."
Kristi doesn't accept this stance. "It's important to realize that the child is punished for the sins of the father" when a child is aborted, because she was conceived by rape. "The child is innocent by all means."
The rape-and-incest exception has an emotional appeal, and it's hard to argue against it. "It usually takes seeing a person," Jenni told me. "Just looking at a person" conceived by this horrific act, "and thinking, 'what makes this person any different from any other?' "
It's truly frustrating and utterly heartbreaking when a Republican sticks his foot in it so badly, and then refuses to step down and let someone else - hopeifully more qualified and verbally adept - to come in and try to rescue the situation.
However, I think that there's something in the situation which hasn't been addressed. For all Akin's absurd assertion that a woman's body can reject impregnation during a "real" rape, he seems to have sidestepped the real facts that a) women DO get pregnant from rape, and b) it is just as morally wrong to abort in that situation as it is in any other - at least if you're going to be a consistant pro-life advocate.
Let me explain:
From the moment of conception (and contra what the esteemed Ann Althouse, for one, seems to say here, about 2/3 of the way through), the "fetus," "baby," "glob of cells" or whatever you choose to call it, is human. Is it a fully functioning, rational, emoting person? No, not yet... But it is certainly not going to pop out as a table, a car, a clam, a shark, a raccoon, or a monkey - biologically, it is only ever going to grow and develop into a human being. Once that first cell is created, a human comes into existence.
Now, one of the other things which pro-lifers like me also assert is that even that single cell is a human PERSON with a soul and a purpose and the God-given gift of life - a life that our Declaration declares to be one of our God-given rights. However, that point is a bit beyond the argument I want to make at this time.
Going back to the biological fact that this tenant of a woman's womb is human, it brings up ethical and legal considerations: Is it ethical to terminate innocent humans? Is it legal to kill someone because of another person's crime? To any reasonable, thinking person the answer to both those questions must be "no."
Please be aware that I understand the desire to allow abortions in cases of rape or incest. These are terrible situations of great physical, emotional, and mental stress, anguish, and pain. It is very hard - sometimes all but impossible - to navigate these tragedies and find the absolute "right" thing to do. Any way the situation is resolved will result in great sacrifice, and it takes a woman of unusual courage, strength, faith, and trust to carry through with such a pregnancy.
But, at the foundation of the crisis is this: what right does anyone have to pronounce a death sentence on a human who is completely innocent of any crime?
I am fortunate; I have never been in that situation. I pray that I never shall. I weep with those who must face this decision, and have the duty - no, the honor - to offer what support and love I can to those women who are dealing with this woeful hardship, no matter what her decision. Christians, in particular, should regard it as a blessing from God to be His physical, earthly hand of love and provision and tenderness to anyone going through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and to help them come through to the Light on the other side.
But as individuals, we should not be counseling death, but encouraging LIFE. Each of us, as individuals, is called to come alongside to give an ear to hear, a shoulder to cry on, hands to comfort. Each of us is called to help with transportation, groceries, doctors, diapers - or with the adoption process.
A woman who aborts a rape pregnancy has nothing but death to bring out of tragedy. There is no positive, no silver lining, that she can take away from the rape. These women need our love, support, and healing, too - of course! - but, oh, the thin, fragile thread we must use to help reweave her life.
God willing, a woman who chooses to give life will be able to look back and see triumph out of tragedy, blessing out of cursing, and joy out of ashes.
UPDATE: My blog-brother, Tom White, has an excellent post that mirrors my thoughts very well. Go read!