There has been uproar over the comments that Todd Akin (U.S. Representative for Missouri’s Congressional District 2) made about abortion. Many people are offended that he referred to “legitimate abortion” and women’s bodies being able to shut down when raped. I am not clear exactly what he meant or where he got his information, but this is clearly a man who is passionate about the anti-abortion cause and is not very good at expressing his viewpoint on the issue.
The logic behind the pro-life position is that all life is valued equally. The sexual assault of a woman, or anyone for that matter, terrorizes the victim and is a traumatic event that has a lasting impact on the person. The victim in this situation should not be the baby. A true pro-life advocate would say that all life has equal value. When you carve out an exception for rape or incest, what you are saying is that the life of her unborn child is less valuable than the life of other unborn children. An advocate of the pro-life position rejects that assertion. Now, some pro-life political figures believe that there should be an exception for cases of rape or incest, either because they have determined that it is morally just for a victim of sexual assault to have that option available, or it may be a political calculation in order to avoid being labeled as an anti-abortion extremist.
I contend that not including rape and incest exceptions is not extreme. This is merely a belief, as previously stated, that all life is valued equally. A pro-life advocate would tell you that the unborn child of a rape or molestation victim has a life that deserves to be lived. As distressing as this situation may be for the woman, terminating the pregnancy does, in fact, end the life of the developing baby.
I fully understand the position of those who speak out for the right of a woman to have an abortion if she so chooses. The belief is that if a woman is pregnant, it should be up to her to decide if she will carry the baby to term, after talking to the father of the child and her doctor. The contention is that the government should not be involved in the decision.
The issue that I have with this is that pro-choice advocates never voice concern for the welfare of the unborn child, and do not explain why, in the case of a pregnancy resulting from a sexual assault, it is “extreme” to place an equal value on that baby’s life as one does on the life of other unborn children.
• Robert Splaine Jr. has lived in Ahwatukee Foothills for 10 years, as a teen and as an adult. He is an Arizona State University business school graduate.