I was recently confronted by yet another Christian claiming that abortion should be allowed in cases of rape and incest. He spoke of:
the psychological torment or torture a mother would have to endure during 9 months of carrying her 'rape child' on top of the already complicated and uncomfortable process of being pregnant.
knowing that their attackers spawn is out there, in the world, and could hypothetically show up at their door any day, in turn forcing the mother to relive her tragedy again just simply due to the site [sic] of this other human being.
This is an argument that I have heard many times when sharing the idea of a complete ban on abortions, and it is sad to hear so many Christians using this argument to justify killing prenatal children. However, there is a very good response to this argument that will often leave the opposition speechless. Here is the response that I made to this gentleman:
You're right, Chuck. The rape issue is one that definitely needs to be discussed and thought out to a great extent, and I'm willing to discuss it if you are. If you don't mind, I would like to ask a question or two to help me clarify your position.
You mentioned the very true fact that a woman who gives birth to her rapist's child may suffer great psychological trauma if she gives her child up for adoption and the child seeks her out years later. I can certainly understand why that would be traumatizing, but I wonder, do you think that it would be okay for a woman in that situation to kill her rapist's teenage or adult child in order to put an end to that trauma? Maybe it was a mistake for her to allow the child to be born and placed up for adoption. Maybe her parents and friends (or even the law) wouldn't allow her to get an abortion to prevent the child's birth. Should she be allowed to end the trauma by killing the spawn of her attacker if it ever comes back into her life?
Now, I'm sure that you would answer no to this question, and I realize that it seems somewhat farfetched in our current society (though it would not be farfetched at all in some other societies). However, this question highlights a very important consideration that I think you have overlooked:. What is the difference between the life of the prenatal child and the life of a born child?
This is the most important question to consider when thinking about abortion for rape. The trauma of the mother is certainly an important consideration, but if it is wrong for a mother to alleviate that trauma by killing a born child, then the issue really rests on the question of the difference between the born child and the prenatal child. If killing a born child in a particular situation is wrong, then there must be a morally sufficient difference between a born child and a prenatal child to justify killing the latter in the same situation. What do you think is the difference between the life and the prenatal child and the life of the born child?
Chuck decided not to discuss the issue any further.
If you would like learn more about how to defend a complete ban on abortions, check out my Personhood Booklet which presents four lines of evidence for the legal personhood of the prenatal child. You can read this book for free online at PersonhoodInitiative.com.