Pro-life...with two exceptions

When discussing abortion today, it seems that most pro-lifers are quite obviously against abortion, except in cases of rape and incest. This is what I’d like to discuss. If it goes off on any other kind of tangent, I humbly request that this thread be closed. The other points have been debated ad nauseum.

In the case of rape, I think I can see why most think it should be allowed. A woman is sexually violated, quite possibly the worst thing that can happen to someone. Then, this child starts growing inside of her. This is the offspring of the man who did this horrible thing to her. However, the child is also half her. It can’t be held responsible for the actions of the father, any more than a child can be blamed if its father hits its mother.

Incest is another matter entirely. The child could be deformed, or have serious health problems. Some seem to think that it’s best to just end it right now and avoid any furthur complications. Still, once again, the child is hardly responsible for the actions of its parents, and it could be said that it still deserves a chance at life.

For the record, I am pro-life but I haven’t quite made up my mind on these two issues yet. I’m trying to look at it from both sides, but am admitedly having problems articulating my questions. Where do some of the other Dopers out there stand on these issues?

I’m 95% pro-life, with rape, incest or serious deformity as the exceptions… I think incest as the exception is generally understood as a teen girl being seduced or molested by an older or stronger family member, not a grown woman who chooses to have sex with a family member.

How would that not be covered under rape, then?

I don’t think we should legalize killing born children of rapes, nor do I think we should legalize killing born children of incest. If I didn’t think there was a relevant difference between the born and the unborn, I would be against legal abortion in those situations.

I recently had a friend who was happily pregnant with her 4th baby find out that the baby had a severe case of Trisonomy 18. This is a genetic disease in which the baby has an over 50% chance of dying before birth and a 0% chance of making it to one year.

In my state the exceptions for a late term abortion are for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. There is no exception for the life or health of the baby.

This baby had a 0% chance of surviving past infancy. I’m pro-life, but in this case supported her difficult decision to fly to California and have an abortion.

What do you think?

What kind of serious deformities would you allow as exceptions?

I think I fell bad for your friend, I hope she’s ok :frowning:

I also think that the health of the baby probably wasn’t discussed when passing the bill but should have…

Would you support euthanasia for a born baby with a 100% terminal illness? If so, then I think you’re pro-euthanasia, not pro-life. If not, then what is the distinction between the born baby and the unborn baby that allowed you to support your friend’s decision?

Being pro-life except in cases of rape or incest is an inherently contradictory postion.

If you are pro-life/anti-choice, it is presumably because you believe that a fetus is an innocent human life.

If you are pro-choice/anti-life, it is presumably because you believe that a woman should have the ultimate say over the reproductive aspect of her own body.

If you are pro-life except for rape and incest, you clearly understand that there are cases where a woman would have a legitimate desire to terminate a pregnancy. In this case, the fetus’s life becomes less sacred because the woman did not consent to the sex that created it. So, essentially, you are punishing women who choose to have sex, or saying that they have to carry the fetus to term because they are loose or wicked or painted Jezebels or some other atavistic, double-standardized, “moral” term.

Or, and try to stay with me here, you don’t see the issue in complete black and white, where the baby is either completely sacred and the mother is a whore. Allowing an abortion in the case of rape or incest does not make the baby’s life “less sacred” and not allowing it otherwise doesn’t make the mother a jezebel. Maybe if you take a second and read some of the hundreds of other threads on the issue of abortion, you may come to understand that it isn’t quite as simple as you would like.

Well stated, jmonster.

No, but it means that the person who supports abortion in those cases doesn’t think a fetus has the same right to life as a born baby, unless they also support the killing of born babies in cases of rape and incest.

Thank you, jmonster, for stating my argument better than I did. This is basically what I was trying to get at.

Most pro-lifers seem to believe that life as a human being literally begins at conception. If it is wrong to abort an unwanted fetus why is it ok to abort a fetus created through rape or incest? There really isn’t any middle ground here. Either you’re pro-life or not.


I’m unsure whether we’re talking about legally or morally, but I always have to ask those that allow for the ‘rape loophole’…how does one enforce this? Can’t any woman just claim to be raped to get one? Would you need it to be reported to the police? Endictment? Conviction?

If we’re simply talking about the moral issues, feel free to disregard those questions. Other than that, I agree totally with jmonster in the distinction being more about the mother’s virtue than the child’s well-being.

This has also puzzled me as well. Another salute to jmonster for his excellent post.

For the record I’m completely pro-choice.

I know lots of pro-lifers who, like me, do not believe that rape or incest are legitimate exceptions. I know several on this very board.

Bob Cos

I agree that there is no reason to punish the baby for the sins of the father in cases of rape.

But what about the case of the baby’s life (as I detailed in the post above?)

I’m very sorry for your friend. That must have been terrible to endure.

I personally don’t believe in a “life at any cost” philosophy. For example, for a terminal patient suffering greatly, it may be the best decision not to attempt any heroic measures to prolong life. These are heart-rending scenarios, and the best solution may not be obvious. We all do the best we can.

But since you asked, no, I don’t believe it’s ethical or justifiable to abort a child, even if that child may have very little life to live. Honestly, I’m not familiar with the condition you mentioned. But if you’re asking if I believe as a general rule that a terminal child (born or unborn) can be killed because of that terminal condition, no, I do not. It is one thing not to take heroic measures. It’s another thing, in my opinion, to take active measures to terminate a life one deems as not worth living, for whatever reason. Would you feel the same way if your friend wanted to euthanize a two-year old who was diagnosed with a terminal condition?

I hope your friend is doing OK…

If my friend had a 2 year old with a disease that was 100% fatal in a short time, and this disease caused a terrible quality of life for the time the child had left, then Yes, I would think euthanasia would be a merciful option.