In the debate on abortion, the oft-heard phrase resounds, “I am against abortion except in the cases of rape, incest or life of the mother.” Over and over, “…rape, incest, life of mother.” “…rape, incest, life of mother.” These are the trifecta of exceptions to abortion.
In fact, Cindy McCain recently noted in an interview how she and Senator McCain parted ways with Gov. Palin on this very issue. The McCains believe abortion is acceptable for rape and incest whereas Gov. Palin gives no exception for rape and incest. (For this blog entry I will not address “life of the mother” and focus on the other two exceptions.)
I am curious as to how those who oppose abortion can be consistent in their method and allow these two exceptions? If you have had any interaction with me at all, you know I focus on methodology, methodology, and methodology. If you are presenting me with a claim that certain objects exhibit a trait (such as some writings are inspired by a god, or some objects are designed by an intelligent designer, or some event occurred in history) I will pester you persistently over and over as to what method you used to make those designations to differentiate from other similar writings, objects or events.
What method is used to come up with these two exceptions and ONLY these two? See, the traditional argument against abortion is that the conceived fetus is a human. And as such, is entitled to greater protection when compared to other considerations. Whereas the pro-abortion crowd points out the conceived fetus is a reproductive choice; emphasizing on the pregnant female’s situation. (And yes, I know using “fetus” instead of “baby” is a loaded term in this debate as well.)
And so we end up with both sides talking past each other; each focusing on a different emphasis. The anti-abortion group, while sympathetic to the female, firmly stands on the sanctity of human life holding precedence over the financial, social or environmental status of the mother. The anti-abortion company, while sympathetic to the potential for the fetus to develop to full human rights, indicates the fetus is part of the female’s body, and it is her choice what to do with her body.
Yet all of a sudden, the anti-abortionists, in creating these exceptions, do focus the female’s situation over the sanctity of life. A 17-year-old gets pregnant with her 17-year-old boyfriend? Sad, but she must have the baby. Simply because the circumstances of their sex were not ideal, this does not justify killing a human. Or so goes the argument. But wait—if he forced himself on her--then it is perfectly acceptable to kill the same human?
Why the change? We still have (according to the anti-abortionist) a human. We still have a set of 17-year-old parents. Because the form of insemination included sex in one instance, and rape in another—this justifies allowing the killing of a human?
Certainly we all agree rape is immoral. Question: is consensual sex between 13-year-olds immoral? It is illegal. In fact, consensual sex between a 16-year-old boy and his 15-year-old, 363-day-right-before-her-birthday, was statutory rape in Michigan. Does this exception mean if she gets pregnant on the day before her birthday she can get an abortion, but if she gets pregnant one day later, she cannot?
Why does one day create a difference? Especially if we are talking about a human life?
And incest is even odder. First of all, if it is forced incest, it would fall under “rape” and not need a separate exception. In order to qualify, we must be talking about consensual incest. The single largest concern is the health issue—mixing too familiar genes creating deformities in the child.
Yet in other deformities, which are known, abortion is not allowed. Here it is only a possibility—and it becomes acceptable? If you are pregnant with a Down’s Syndrome baby—according to this argument, you may not get an abortion. Unless you had sex with your first cousin. Then—same consent, same sex, same baby—it becomes acceptable.
Why does one day make a difference? Why does the blood relationship make a difference? Further, “incest” is a tricky word. In Michigan, there is no crime of incest—we are only prohibited from marrying certain relations—including our first cousin. But in other states, (Such as Alaska one can marry their first cousin.
Where do we find the definition of “incest” whereby one knows it qualifies as an exception to the prohibition on abortion? Is it first cousin? Second Cousin? 13th Cousin? Where do we find the distinct definition of statutory rape? (The age of consent changes state-by-state in America, and county-by-country as well.)
What has happened is that these words, “What about rape and incest?” have become political hot potatoes. They have become a catch-phrase to the point no one even thinks about the implications. How much consensual incest is occurring where abortions are an issue?
Because the anti-abortionist finds it uncomfortable to be placed in the situation of saying, “A woman, under the awful circumstances of a rape, must give birth to the rapists’ child,” vacillate and capitulate there are at least some circumstances in which the human life is no longer sacrosanct, and can be morally terminated. Incest just sounds bad, too, and has been tacked on to “rape” so many times, it has become a mantra—“except in cases of rape and incest.”
While I abhor Gov. Palin for other reasons; her belief abortion is never allowed, including situations of rape and incest is far more consistent. Once “special circumstances” allow an exception, we introduce the question—“what method do you use to determine special circumstances?”
Rape is a horrible situation. But so is having a baby at age 14 with a father whose greatest ambition at the moment is to make the Junior Varsity basketball team. So is having a baby when there is no enough food to feed the rest of the family. So is having a crack baby. Arguably, all of these situations are worse than two cousins having sex. Yet that, too, is apparently an exception.
The question that should be asked the McCains (but never will be) is this—“what method did you use to come up with rape and incest to be the only two exceptions to abortion?”