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Does Rape Justify Abortion?

What Would You Say?

You’re in a conversation about abortion, and someone says, “Abortion should be legal because a woman should never be forced to carry the child of her rapist!” What would you say? Let’s be clear. Rape is awful. Rape is evil. Those who commit rape deserve to be punished. Victims of rape deserve compassion and care. However, in conversations about abortion, the possibility of pregnancy by rape or incest is typically used to argue for the legalization of abortion in all cases. Here are three things to remember. First, rape and incest represent a tiny fraction of abortions. Even if abortion could be justified in these rare situations, the vast majority of abortions are in no way justified by these exceptions. We cannot avoid discussing the rule because of the exception. Second, abortion in the case of rape punishes an innocent party. In cases of rape that leads to conception, there are three parties involved: the rapist, the woman, and the child. Which of these three parties is guilty of a crime and deserves to be punished? The woman did nothing wrong. The child did nothing wrong. Only the rapist is guilty. But abortion means that the innocent child is given a punishment that even the guilty rapist won’t face. In no other situation do we suggest that a child should be punished for their parent’s crimes. In fact, we would never justify killing a born child who was conceived in rape. If we wouldn’t punish a child after they are born, why should we punish a child before she is born? Third, our value as humans is not based on how we are conceived. Some people are conceived in love. Others are conceived in lust. And some, tragically, are conceived in violence. Regardless of the circumstances, in each case an innocent, unrepeatable, and irreplaceable human being comes into existence. By virtue of being human, they have dignity and rights regardless of how they came to be. Finally, Abortion will not change what happened. Abortion may seem like a way to minimize the pain, but it will not change the past and it cannot make a victim forget what happened. Many things, well beyond a pregnancy, can act as reminders to victims of sexual assault. Abortion doesn’t make the woman any less of a victim, but creates another victim. Rape is wrong. So is abortion. The fact that rape is wrong, doesn’t make abortion ok. Let’s Review When someone says that cases of rape are the reason abortion is ok, remember this. Of all the abortions that occur, very few are for rape and incest. The vast majority of abortions are in no way justified by these exceptions. Abortion in cases of rape or incest punishes the innocent. A child should never be punished for the crimes of their father. Our value as humans does not come from how we are conceived. It comes from who we are as humans created in the image of God. And finally, abortion will not change what happened, but it will create another victim.