Except in the Case of Rape and Incest

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As we approach the midterm election, my friends on the left are particularly disturbed by some in the current crop of nutjob GOP candidates who are pro-life and do not make the exception for rape and incest. Sharron Angle is one such candidate. Well, I hate to disappoint my liberal friends but this is about the only issue where Sharron Angle is right on the money.

No, I haven’t switched from pro-choice to pro-life but I know an inconsistent argument when I see one. Calling oneself pro-life and then tossing in the rape/incest caveat completely implodes the position. Let’s examine why the exception gets discussed and why supposedly pro-life people should be called on the carpet for it.

Fundamental Premise

The fundamental premise of a pro-life stance must be zygote/embryo/fetus centric. That is the “life” we are talking about when we say pro-life. So the rape/incest exception must be viewed from a zygote/embryo/fetus perspective.


Rape is an horrific trauma to the female victim. I know of no scientific study that says a developing fetus is negatively effected by having been conceived by rape. A pro-life stance places our priority on the new life, not the psychological situation of the mother. No child chooses a rapist for his father. Why should any child’s life be terminated because of it? Is that not the very essence of visiting the sins of the father upon the child? The argument that the presence of the child in the mother’s life will forever remind her of her rape is compelling but is answered by adoption. The cold hard fact is rape is no excuse for abortion.


First we need to define our terms very carefully. Intercourse between unwilling partners is rape. So incest between non-consenting partners is rape. See above argument. So now we get to the much stickier situation of consensual incest. This of course is the ultimate taboo in Western culture. I argue that few people are really concerned about the medical implications of “in-breeding” when they make incest an abortion exception. The truth is they are disgusted by the circumstances of the birth and are visiting that disgust upon the developing fetus. Once again, abortion is not the answer. No one asks for their uncle to be their daddy. So why should their life be snuffed out because of it?

If you are truly pro-life, then the only exception that I can fathom is distinct physical risk to the mother that might result in her death. Then you’ve got a real dilemma in balancing the welfare of the baby against that of the mother. From what I’ve heard, Sharron Angle has not advocated mother’s risking probable death to go full term.

So what this comes down to is that the rape/incest exception ipso facto makes you pro-choice. The only difference is that you have self righteously declared your set of choices more worthy than the choices other women might wrestle with.

I may be pro-choice and Sharron Angle may be as nutty as a holiday fruitcake but I applaud her and others like her for being truly pro-life. The rest of you so-called pro-lifers are pretenders to the throne.


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