Thursday, August 23, 2012
Thoughts on rape and abortion
A certain Republican politician has got himself into hot water over his inadvised use of the phrase "legitimate rape". The media hype is preventing people from reflecting on the truth.
If conception occurs in a given rape situation, there is a child. This child is innocent. It should not be deprived of its life because of the crime of its father.
Some say that abortion should be permitted in the case of rape. But how is the occurrence of rape verified? Justice would require a juridical investigation and trial. Such a process would take time. A pregnancy typically comes to term in nine months. A proper process would hardly be concluded in such a time. So the child would be killed before rape is verified. What if, in fact, it was not a case of true rape?
I do not in any way wish to sound unsympathetic to those who are true victims of rape. They are truly victims of a most horrible crime.
But if the legitimacy of abortion were to be allowed in the case of rape, might some women plead rape in order to procure the abortion of their child?
To me, it makes no legal sense to permit abortion in the case or rape. Of course, it makes no moral sense either. But if I did hold that abortion would be morally acceptable in the case of rape, I would want to insist on a proper process to verify rape before inflicting the death sentence upon the innocent child, but how could such a process be completed before the birth of the child?
Sin, unfortunately, always opens up Pandora's box of dilemmas. We have always to start from where we are. The evil of whatever has occurred in the past (in this case, rape) cannot be undone, but we can always seek to ensure that the just path is followed from here on (i.e. the bringing to justice of the rapist without the killing of an innocent child).