The question of whether the rate of conception is low in rape cases, which is also true with most consensual sexual incidents by the way, has nothing whatsoever to do with the question of whether abortion should be allowed in the case of rape. Congressman Todd Akins’ argument was, at best, an incredibly stupid one. He may have single-handedly set the pro-life cause back ten years by giving the other side all they need to make us all look like idiots. In the future, all they will have to do to discredit us with the public, is to apply the Todd Akin moniker to the rest of us. We must formulate our arguments on their real base, the conviction that human life begins at conception and that one innocent should not be made to suffer because another has suffered.
But then, there is the continued suffering of the mother. How can it be justified to force her to suffer even more? This question often assumes that abortion reduces her suffering, which may not always be the case. It is a debatable point and not one that cannot be answered except on an individual basis. If that is the question, the decision must rest with the mother. The pro-life community must provide sound information, compassion, and assistance where needed to minimize the suffering of mother and child. It should caringly present the argument that could be embraced by many, that there may be more healing in giving and nurturing life than in the loss of the child. Abortion is, for many women, a compounding of the pain of pregnancy, and, in this case, a compounding of the bitter tragedy of rape. The same is true, of course, of incest, which accounts for a significant number of the incidents of rape.
Should this be a matter of law or a matter of conscience? I believe that in so difficult and delicate an area it should be left to conscience. This is especially true when the removal of the legal abortion provision leads us to an all or nothing scenario, and in that position, the present culture has opted for unlimited access to abortion. Failure to make such a compromise in the 80s has likely cost millions of lives. Here’s where the statistics enter for an argument, the argument for the exceptions of rape and incest. The small percentage of pregnancies that result from rape means that this is one area we can, by allowing for the exception, save millions of lives. The all or nothing position, even if right, is wrong because of this fact. If we really love life, we must choose the most available route to limit/reduce the number of abortions. Todd Akins’ position is not that route.