Pro-Lifers, May I Have A Moment Of Your Time?

I just want to ask a question that I have always wondered about…

Pro-Life is about being opposed to abortion. I have always assumed this meant that Pro-Lifers are against “cosmetic” abortions, that is the people who don’t take enough care to prevent pregnancy, and then need to dispose of inconvenient offspring before they arrive. However, some pregnancies are not the fault of the mother, arising from rape and similar situations. Does the average Pro-Lifer have a sympathy in this situation, and would they consider this an exception to the whole anti-abortion stance?


cazzle, I’d make sure you keep a tight rein on this one, it could get ugly real quick.

But from my narrow experience, I can’t really say. It’s very much split down the line. I’m pro-life, but there’s no way I could say to a violated woman that she would have to carry a rapist’s baby to term. But my source of guidance and direction (the Catholic Church) maintains a stance of NO abortions, period. If a bill came up in Congress/case in the Supreme Court outlawing abortions except in these instances, it would support it. But only as a stepping stone for more abolishment to follow in the future.

It’s a very difficult stance, and that’s one final step that I personally wouldn’t be able to take. But the majority of people who take that 100% abolishment position maintain that the life of an innocent child is much more valuable than the repurcussions and emotional scarring of carrying a rapist’s baby to term.

Sorry if that’s not quite as definitive as you wanted, but it’s all I know.

Thanks, Munch.

I do want to make it clear that I just want the opinions of Pro-Lifers on the OP - there are thousands of other issues related to abortion, and I don’t care about them right now. I just want to know, if you consider yourself to be pro-life, do you allow that there are circumstances that deserve special consideration. I don’t need facts, just opinions.

I second what Munch said. Cases of rape, incest, or where there’s a very real chance of the mother dying are exceptions, IMO. Whether this reflects the opinions of “average” Pro-Lifers, I couldn’t say. But I’m pleased to give you my opinion, since you asked.


Your question is pointless, because “Pro-Life” is a term that encompasses a lot of different people with different position. There is no one single position that is described as “Pro-Life”.

The same can also be said for “Pro-Choicers”.

Okay, firstly realize that this is my opinion: I do not speak for anyone but myself here.

“However, some pregnancies are not the fault of the mother, arising from rape and similar situations. Does the average Pro-Lifer have a sympathy in this situation, and would they consider this an exception to the whole anti-abortion stance?”

In some cases. For example, diabetic honor student Rosemary Baker is on her way home from school (with two other friends) one spring evening when she’s attacked by a group of men. Her two other friends are rendered unconscious and she’s beaten and raped. Somehow she ends up pregnant.

Now, in my mind carrying this baby would be possibly (likely, even) life-threatening to Rosemary Baker, and the baby might well end up brain-damaged and unable to ever function without assistance. And if Rosemary dies three months into the pregnancy, her baby doesn’t stand a very good chance of living much longer. So I’d go with the safest form of abortion possible there and continue with the recommended regimen of physical therapy and psychological therapy.

In some cases I think abortion is the best option because the mother’s life would quite possibly terminate before the baby was viable. In this case I see two options: end the life of the baby, or end the life of both.


To me, it means no unnecessary abortions (i.e. Debbie Brown and her boyfriend want to have sex and they’re both very healthy and they’d be able to take care of a baby but they don’t want to have to). I fully support the choice of an abortion in some cases (like “Rosemary”'s). I just don’t support abortions in cases like “Debbie”'s.

Note that “unnecessary” is my opinion. It will vary by person.

Munch said:

DAVEW0071 said:

I’ll address this to you two, since you’ve come out and said it outright. If you believe that abortion should be restricted or prohibitted on the grounds that the fetus is a human life worthy of protection (correct me if this isn’t your position), then how can you possibly make an exception for rape or incest–which do not themselves make a pregnancy physically dangerous? If a fetus issuch a life, then how can any actions of one or both parents change that status?

I guess what I’m looking for is an intellectually-honest reason for forcing one class of women to carry a pregnancy to term while making an exception for another class, other than it makes the position more appealing to the public.

I’m not asking for an all encompassing overview. I just want individual opinions. I do not speak for all pro-choice people, and I don’t expect any one of you to speak for all pro-life people, but I’m interested in gaining insight into individual opinions. That is why I posted this in IMHO and not in Great Debates or General Questions.

I think this is a path we don’t want to take. This isn’t about abortion being right or wrong or any of the other issues, I just want to know if the people on this board who consider themselves Pro Life think there are possible exceptions to the rule. No one here has the right to question the validity of another poster’s opinion on this matter - we’re just talking opinions. You don’t have to justify your opinion if you don’t want to (or else we’ll end up in a Great Debate).

Please feel free to share your opinion with us, MysterEcks

I see my pro-life position as an ideal - something that we should strive for. I can envisage many situations where I would be able to empathise with the mother’s desire to terminate her pregnancy, not just those extreem cases outlined above.

Life is something to be cherished and protected, and I fear that abortion (for whatever reason) undermines that. For the same reason I am against the death penalty, war and euthanasia - every time a life (and I do consider a foetus to be alive) is taken, the value of LIFE decreases. In the same way that it may be necessary to kill someone - e.g. to protect yourself/your family - it is never right to do so. A life has been taken that might have been spared. I would hope that abortion is the last option that a woman would choose - and even then, urge her to consider again whether there is not some alternative path she could follow.

I would never prevent anyone from aborting, that is a decision for them to make and to live with - as one person I heard speak on the subject said: “We would rather make abortion unthinkable, than illegal.”

FTR - I am male, but have vicariously lived through an abortion experience…

that if there were a choice between saving the mother or the baby, the baby should be saved in order to be baptized (it was okay to let the mother die because she was already baptized). I am thinking that may be the logic that some pro-lifers use who are opposed to any abortions ever, the baby needs to be baptized. Just a guess.

The view of many ‘pro lifers’ is that the baby is a human. no matter how it formed it is a human life and should not be terminated because it was created by rape. The rapist (in a true rape not the pc date rape) should loose his life possibly or perhaps have to pay child support if they can.

{yea I know should someone be able to aviod the death penelity if they can afford it? - well my answer is we are so far away from prohibiting abortions under that circumstance - we’ll have to worry about that when the situation cames up - also the rapist should be castrated anyway.}

The baby if anything is a victom of the rape just like the mother (or possible the father) - In what other crime do we kill a victom?

Now if you beleive that the baby is not human till it’s born then you shoul have no problem killing it.

The difficulty I have with saying “okay” to an abortion following rape (as if my “okay” is worth anything, but bear with me:)) is that rape is already physically, emotionally, and in all other ways an incredibly . . . I can’t think of an appropriate word. But to then go and get an abortion seems to add to the negativity of it all.

Perhaps this is a GQ moment, but does anyone happen to know of stats on how many pregnancies were the result of rape, and how many reported rapes there were? That way one could at least get an idea of how common or uncommon it is. I’d ask for similar numbers on incest, but I don’t know that they’d be anywhere near as easy to find.

And though I’m not the posters you addressed, MysterEcks, I used to follow the “except with rape or incest” much more closely than I do now. Your question was:

“If you believe that abortion should be restricted or prohibitted on the grounds that the fetus is a human life worthy of protection (correct me if this isn’t your position), then how can you possibly make an exception for rape or incest–which do not themselves make a pregnancy physically dangerous? If a fetus issuch a life, then how can any actions of one or both parents change that status?”

My reasoning for this was that in the case of rape, the woman did not act in a way consistent with getting pregnant. That is, she didn’t want to have sex. So while I did not approve (again, like someone’d need it, but bear with me) of an abortion performed on, say, a 25-year-old woman who had no problems a pregnancy would complicate, had that woman been raped I would have said “she didn’t want to have sex; she doesn’t have to life with the results of another’s action.”

That’s a completely valid question. And one I cannot possibly answer. The issue of abortion is an incredibly difficult monster to deal with. There are so many issues, so many degrees of variability, so many circumstances, etc. But let me try to clarify my view a bit more.

[I just deleted three big paragraphs explaining what I would do in the situation. However, it is completely bogus, because I am not a woman, and have no way of ever sympathizing or relating to such an experience. And even if I was a woman, I would have no idea as to the emotionality and impact such an event as rape compiled with a subsequent pregnancy would have on me.]

Currently, it is ultimately up to the woman in question to make the decision. But as grimpixie said, idealy, we would want abortion to be unthinkable, rather than not an option at all.

Basically, this is why I am not a politician. It is an issue I cannot fully get a grip on, as it is too unweildy for me. Call me indecisive, call me obtuse, call me irrational, but that’s currently where I am right now with the issue.

As a Christian, I sort of feel as if I should adopt the rabidly pro-life stance that I see around me a lot, but I just can’t bring myself to believe that a small ball of cells is a person. (we discussed that Here and are discussing it again Here), particularly when God (real or hypothetical) sees fit to allow something like 30%(?) of such balls of cells to fail to develop into people anyway.

My biggest beef now (I think) with abortion is that using it as a form of contraception is just plain ignorant (there are plenty of other ways that are easier and have fewer side-effects).

As far as abortion later in pregnancy, my view is clouded by emotion and therefore far from objective; my wife’s first two pregancies ended with miscarriage at 22 weeks or so, in the same ward were teenagers who were in for an abortion, who were just too dumb to plan ahead and would probably continue to be too dumb even afterward. This seemed unfair to me at the time and it still does now.
Let me tell you that on both occasions she had to go through full labour and delivery, there was no sign of life in the babies***** in either case, 22 weeks is just too early for independent survival (in the biological sense, but even a new-born baby is entirely dependent in other ways, so I don’t see this as a dividing line), but there’s little doubt in my heavily biased mind that what I cradled in my hands was a child.

*****[sup]Correct me on this piece of terminology only if you wish to lose a few teeth[/sup]

So, am I a ‘pro-lifer’? yes, but probably weakly; I see the way forward as being in more education, not more legislation.

I am pro-life, from conception until natural death. It’s not a question of “fault of the mother”–I don’t stand in judgment of women who get pregnant for any reason. For me, it’s the way I stated in the Pit thread on stem cell research–the embryo, fetus, and child has human worth and digntiy and is sacred to me for what it is, not for how it came to be.

I cannot imagine how horrible rape and incest must be, but I have to fall back on the notion that nowhere else in society is a child punished because of the crimes of its parent. This accounts for only a tiny percentage of abortion, and the key here is to enforce the strictest possible penalties for rape and incest. To me, that shows the greatest sympathy for the woman–the notion that she will get justice.

Now, as for life of the mother, I choose to follow my Church’s teachings. If the pregnancy is ectopic and neither mother nor child will survive if the pregnancy continues, the pregnancy can be ended (it is impossible for an ectopic pregnancy to be carried to term). If the mother has uterine cancer but is pregnant, she may have her uterus removed (the intent is not to end the pregnancy but to save the mother’s life). Again, the intent must not be to end the child’s life, but to save the mother’s. In the case of a child with no chance to live (anencephaly springs to mind), I would argue the child should be allowed to be born and then be held and comforted until he or she died.

For me, being pro-life is more than being opposed to abortion or the death penalty or IVF or stem cell research. It’s all well and good to be praying for a greater respect for human life, but if you’re not out there helping pregnant women, being a friend to them, and meeting their needs, you don’t really have a right to call yourself pro-life.

I’ll be honest. I have no idea what category I fall into. I am against abortion as a method of birth control, as I think many people are pro choice or not. My roomate in college had two abortions in one school year and I was simply…appalled. She never used any condoms, birth control, nothing. She just said “I’ll just get an abortion.” that’s…disgusting to me.

I also believe that people have a right to their own bodies, and if they absolutely feel they need an abortion, we can’t stop them, and I’d rather not have them bleed to death in the back of a car.

BUT, if a friend of mine got pregnant and came to me for advice. If she asked me to give my opinion, I would tell her honestly, that I find abortion to be damaging, abhorrent and in many cases irresponsible. That’s just the way I feel based on personal experiences.


I personally believe that life starts when there is brain activity, so before that I have no problem with abortion. After that, I am totally pro-life. Regardless of rape/incest whatever. If the mothers life is definately at risk and both will be lost, sure. But I cant imagine that happens all that often.

IANAHuman Biologist, but I’d hazard a guess that brain activity doesn’t suddenly ‘switch on’. (how many hairs in that beard?)

Ok, this is how I feel about it; abortion is the taking of a life. It is never “right” to do it. However, in the cases of rape and incest, it is sometimes the *less * wrong thing to do, because carrying the baby to term might destroy the lives of two people(or more, actually, if the woman is married and/or has other kids) instead of one. The baby is no less human than one concieved by people that just can’t be bothered to use birth control, though, and it’s equally sorrowful that s/he dies, because the baby is an innocent.


Perhaps such pro-lifers feel that it is not a full-fledged human being, but it is still a proto-human entity. As such, its right to exist is not as high as the mother’s right to not be subject to cruel and unusual punishment (i.e., carrying a rapist’s child), and certainly not as high as the mother’s right to life, but other than non-self-inflicted infringements on the rights of full-fledged human beings, nothing comes ahead of the fetus’s right to exist?