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Fact Check Friday- Are Abortion Exceptions Needed?

This weeks claim...

"There are exceptions that require us to allow abortion."

What they say.

We hear a lot about the "exceptions" or exclusions when abortion is discussed. We've heard that our laws and our values about abortion must include room for exceptions in tough situations. We can't expect a woman who was a victim of rape or incest to carry to term, right? And what about the life of the mother?

Totally banning abortion makes some people uncomfortable. And somehow we feel better knowing that the "hard cases" will be met with the "compassionate" remedy of abortion.

Let’s take a closer look.

Nearly every State has some limits on abortion and nearly all permit abortion in cases of rape, incest, fetal deformity, or a perceived threat to the mother's life. Let's take a look at each of these situations and examine what happens when exceptions rule the way we view human life. We'll look at the exception for rape and incest.

When the Unthinkable Happens.

Rape and incest are both criminal acts and deeply impact victims for the rest of their lives. No one should ever minimize the trauma, shame and pain women endure due to rape. In our system of justice we punish the criminal. We do not punish the victim, nor do we punish the criminal's children. We are told that if a pregnancy results from an act of rape or incest the compassionate response is to offer the traumatized woman an abortion.

No woman should be "forced to carry that monster's child," we are told. The trauma of sexual assault is very real. But why compound such severe trauma with the additional trauma of abortion?

Rape is an act of violence inflicted upon a woman. She is an innocent victim, and this knowledge may someday help her come to terms with the rape and rebuild her life. But abortion is a second act of violence that a mother inflicts on her own child. Her abortion decision may haunt her long after she has dealt with the rape. Women - even those who were victims of sexual assault - have reported years of physical, emotional and psychological difficulty following their abortions. Abortion did not solve their problems; it merely created additional ones.

The compassionate response to rape is to meet the real needs of the mother. Providing life-affirming medical, financial, and emotional care meets these needs, and that's why our Women's Choice Network clinics are doing this work.

Abortion takes the life of a living human being. The circumstances of conception may have been criminal, but the life of the newly-created human being is just as valuable as any other person's. We do not put criminal's innocent children to death in our culture; it simply isn't done. It should not be done in this situation, either.

The Good and the Best

During a conversation about politics, abortion laws, and expections, one of our Network of Life Board Members responded saying, Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable--the art of the next best.

Sadly even the most pro-life public leaders must sometimes settle for the good in place of the best. In their hearts, they are abolitionists, but the work of passing laws (at least for now) is incremental. Their work is to move the ball down the field toward the goal. We must move our culture toward the perfect while we have the imperfect.

But we who are standing for the unborn and their mothers have the responsibility to be the idealist. We lead to the future of what's possible. We must reinforce the inestimable value of human life without exception.

What are the Facts.

According to ACOG, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, pregnancy resulting from rape is fairly rare.

  • The national rape-related pregnancy rate is less than 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45);

  • According to the ACOG study, among adult women in the US, an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year.

  • Nearly one third (32%) of those women chose to carry to term.

  • 6% chose to place their babies in an adoption plan.

  • The statistics and methods used in some studies has been shown to be flawed (see the Heritage article here).

  • But for the victim and her unborn child, statistics don't matter. Her life, her future and her healing matter.

Take it to Prayer

  • Pray for those who have suffered trauma because of sexual assault.

  • Pray for our elected officials to be bold and wise as they work to "move the ball down the field."

  • Pray for opportunities to talk about these difficult situations. Share the video above with those who have questions.

  • Pray that Pittsburgh could become a sanctuary city for life! 

  • If you feel called to pray for the Network of Life subscribe to The Road Crew. Each week we pray for God to clear the paths to our centers, remove the obstacles, and open highways for women that will lead them to our doors and point them to Christ.

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