Lately, we’ve heard a lot about pro-life politicians struggling to express their views in an affirming and sensitive manner. Their words, whether rightfully or otherwise, are taken to be ignorant and lacking in empathy. Below I’ve prepared a response that I think could be used by any public figure that is asked, “Should abortion be allowed in cases of rape?”
Thank you for your question and thank you for your concern about the rights of women, an issue very close to my heart.
The idea that women exist merely as objects for the gratification of men is a serious problem that we, as a society, need to deal with. The fact that there are men who feel that they have the right to take the most precious gift of sexuality from a women by any means other than consent is a disturbing one that stands in direct contradiction with the American ethos: notably the truths we hold concerning the equality of all and the inalienability of the individual’s rights. Women and men have an equal source in God and are equally made in the image and likeness of that God. The duty of government, as our Declaration of Independence tells us, is to secure our unalienable rights endowed to us through our equal generation from God.
To combat this problem we need first to secure the rights of all. To affirm the rights of women is to affirm the rights of men: our rights are not in opposition to one another. This idea should be core to our discussion of the issue. The rights of one cannot infringe upon the rights of another. Once we cross that line, we cease to be exercising our own rights and begin suppressing the rights of another. We are horrified by the rapist because he does just this. By his actions, he changes the relationship between himself and women from one of complementary partnership into one of objectification. The woman, equal to him in value and dignity, he treats not as the crown of creation that she is, but as a thing fully inhuman. Human beings should never be used and discarded as the rapist seeks to do.
As a nation, the measure of our humanity is not the rights of the strong, the healthy, and the able; rather we are measured by the rights secured for the weak, the sick, and the vulnerable. If we want to affirm and confirm the rights of women in our country, we must do so for the most at risk in our nation and those who have no means of self protection. None are more weak and more vulnerable than the child, and no child more so than the child in the womb. The child in the womb relies completely upon us, her mother first but all of us as well, to create the conditions necessary for her to thrive. If we are to protect the Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness for any, we must protect it for her, in that most vulnerable position from where we all came. No matter how beautiful or how despicable her entry into this world was, we now have a duty towards her and it begins with securing her Life.
We cannot end at Life, however. We must continue and secure the rights to Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We cannot leave the child and the suffering woman and say, “we have secured their lives, our duty is complete.” The pain inflicted upon them is as great as any and to ignore or dismiss it is to cause further injury. We must open our arms to them, as all, as sons and daughters of our same family. This way is not the easy way out, the path of least resistance. It will be a struggle, but Americans are a people that do not shy away from the struggle. Rather we meet it head on and come out better for it.