Since news broke that the cancer of Roe v. Wade may be cut from the Constitution and the body politic, hundreds of reporters have called us at Students for Life to re-open conversations buried in political mothballs for almost 50 years. It’s been tough on Corporate Abortion, so accustomed to the smoke screen of words like “pro-choice” that never got fully defined because no one made them do it. It’s no surprise then those old arguments used to justify the deaths of more than 63 million people are making a comeback.
In 1973, the Supreme Court went on a legal scavenger hunt and found abortion camouflaged in the weeds. Not since Adam and Eve have any effort to hide behind so few fig leaves been more inadequate … which brings us to Corporate Abortion’s grasping at their last straws — three exceptions often cited in law – that abortion is justified in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger.
First, let’s set aside “life of the mother” as a category that should be engaged with actual doctors treating multiple patients. There is a big difference between a pregnancy in which effort is made to save both lives and one in which the goal is death. Having had three, high-risk pregnancies out of four, I’ve seen lifesaving efforts up close.
I spent over a year on bed rest over three pregnancies, during which my couch slowly died, but all my children lived. When it was over, I asked my husband to drag that sofa to the curb because I never wanted to see it again. I watched men haul it away as my children played in the front yard.
If the goal of your “health care” is to deliberately end the life of your patient, you’re doing it wrong. A true life of the mother exception means you tried to save every life.
On the issue of children conceived in rape and incest, Corporate Abortion seems to think that they can justify a deadly industry on that possibility alone.
Billionaire abortion profiteers are in a retro moment, returning to the misogyny and cruel classism of the past to justify the deaths of the innocent. Old-time misogynists told women that they could not balance education, career, and family relationships, so they should stay at home. Today women are told the same thing, except now we should stay at work.
Their prejudice is extended to children conceived in rape who must bear the endless media and political analysis that concludes they should die for their father’s sins. It’s not the first time that such a heavy weight was hung around the necks of the innocent who were legally disenfranchised because of the circumstances of their conception.
At one time, legal code limited protections to the children of the married. “The spouses bind themselves, by the act of the marriage itself, to feed, support, and educate their children,” notes a study in the Columbia Law Review.
In a Guardian article titled “Illegitimacy: The Shameful Secret,” it reads: “Before the 20th century it was illegal for illegitimate children to inherit, so among more prosperous families you may find that a trust was set up to care for his or her welfare. Most were not so fortunate. ‘Lots of foundling children were illegitimate. And look at the assize records for the 19th century and you’ll find that half the murder victims were little babies,’ says (Ruth Paley, author of Was Your Ancestor a Bastard.) ‘We don’t think twice about illegitimacy now; it’s really hard to get your mind around the idea that the shame was once so awful that women were prepared to kill their babies.’”
But has that really changed? The abortion debate begins with the assertion that any innocent, tainted by the guilt of their conception, should be killed.
Today’s pro-life response is to reject discrimination and prejudice against children based on perceptions of their race, sex, abilities, or parents, and to reject shaming children for things beyond their control.
When I was a teenager, I learned that one of my mother’s dearest friends was conceived in rape. I loved her, grew up with her children, and admired her gentle spirit. She was not defined by her first moment of existence, but by the life that came after. She was not her father.
Later, as a reporter covering courts and the police beat, I witnessed hundreds of trials involving rape, domestic violence, and child abuse – all the kinds of horror stories some find entertaining in podcasts. I don’t. Seeing real victims stay with you. In such settings, it’s clear who is evil and who deserved protection. Such crimes must be fully prosecuted, but babies are innocent.
That’s a clarity that we have in the pro-life community.
For those assuming today’s pro-life advocates will be cowed by anyone raising the exceptions, a lot has changed over the last 50 years. Our society does not issue birth certificates with a rating system based on how someone was conceived. Not anymore. A birth certificate is a sign of a single fact – that a unique, precious life has entered the world.
- Kristi Stone Hamrick is Chief Media & Policy Strategist for Students for Life Action/Students for Life of America, a Pulliam Fellow and former journalist.