Rape and Abortion

I saw a comment on a friend’s blog this week about her stand against abortion in light of the new Texas law.  I was tempted to respond to it, but I knew my response would be too lengthy to put in someone else’s comments.  Emotion-filled reactions to emotion-filled topics are not easy to examine in brief.  A slow, reasoned approach is needed.  That’s what I offer here in a spirit of gentleness and love for all.

Lindsey D wrote, “Talk to me about the underage girl who gets raped and doesn’t know she’s pregnant or is afraid to tell her parents – tell me about what choice she had and what choices she’s remained with?”

Lindsay correctly points out the agony of rape and then the compounded pain of a pregnancy as a result.  That pain makes a victim’s choices difficult to make.  I submit that, if reason is allowed in, the choices become clearer if not easier despite the emotion.

This scenario involves three people inextricably linked by one horrid event; the victim, the perpetrator, and the unborn child.  Biblically, the unborn child is an individual as much as any person outside of womb.

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  David in Psalm 139:13

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, And He who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;  Isaiah 44:24

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”    God speaking to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5

The last verse from Jeremiah is especially telling.  God sanctified and ordained an unborn prophet in utero, not a fetus, something less than human.

The question becomes who should suffer for the crime of rape.  Obviously, the rapist.  As for the unborn child, should that person be killed just because it had the misfortune to be conceived in a brutal attack?  It can be argued that child is every bit the victim as the young lady who was raped.

The young lady is faced with the pain of having a child who is a constant reminder of her ordeal, but is that a justification to kill the child, a person known and loved by God?

It is said that there are two choices one faces throughout life; the easy thing or the right thing.  Indeed, Jesus warns us of this in Matthew 7:13 –

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

I submit that it is possible for mother and child to know happiness in each other…eventually.  It is a narrow gate, but it leads to life and healing.

Lindsey then wrote, “Tell me why you had a choice to go get a vaccine and did so – to protect others and yourself and then tell me how people choosing not to are allowed that option while I have a 25 year old friend whose kidneys are failing because someone chose not to get the vaccine? What choice did she have after she made the right one and then was forced to lay dying and alone because someone else chose for themselves?

“I want to know how it’s different. I want to understand why her beating heart doesn’t matter but an unborn child conceived out of incest or rape has the ability to change another child’s life forever.”

First, let me say I grieve for your friend and you, Lindsey.  I’m old, and I have lost many people.  It is a pain that is familiar to me as it is unpleasant.  My younger sister just died last May.  Believe me when I tell you I understand such pain.

You say your friend made the right choice.  I assume you mean she was vaccinated against COVID.  There are two things that should be pointed out.  First, if the vaccine was as effective as many believe, your friend would not be dying, regardless of whether anyone else was vaccinated.  Second, I don’t know that her case is absolutely the result of exposure to an unvaccinated person.  Obviously, people who have gotten the shot(s) can still get COVID and be carriers.  She could have been infected by someone who was vaccinated.

Equating her beating heart and that of an unborn child of rape is not a fair comparison.  I know Caralyn personally, and I will vouch that she holds your friend’s beating heart as dearly as anyone else’s…born or unborn.

But that is not the real question here.  You are charging the unborn child with changing “another child’s life forever.”  I assume you mean negatively, that the unborn person is the one responsible for the damage done to the rape victim.  The unborn is not the author of the situation, but a fellow victim.  Should the unborn be given a death sentence for being a victim?

You do make an accurate point, though, when your write, “…an unborn child conceived out of incest or rape has the ability to change another child’s life forever.”  The child can affect the mother’s life.  That child can love the mother unconditionally.  That child will nestle against her, giving love as well as receiving it.  Do you see that, if the young mother chooses, that child will be the balm on her wound of rape?

I don’t deny any of the pain you have nor any of the pain that lies ahead during the pregnancy.  I do deny that the long-term result must be a lifetime of pain.  The narrow gate holds the greatest promise and the greatest potential for healing.

Finally, Lindsey wrote, “And if I get pregnant and it’s dangerous for me and the baby to go to term (as it would be) – what right do you have to tell me to kill us both?”

Let’s start with the fifth commandment, you shall not murder, often misinterpreted as you shall not kill.  Both are the acting of ending a life, but murder is a slightly different matter.  It is defined as “the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.”  Killing is permitted in certain circumstances.

For example, the US soldiers in World War Two killed but by and large did not murder.  The United States and its allies were fighting in a defensive mode, making the killing lawful.  The Bible agrees with this interpretation.

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up.  Ecclesiastes 3:3

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.     Romans 13:3-4

Clearly, in this sinful world, killing is sometimes necessary.  Governments in particular have the obligation to protect its citizens, including killing.

As to the legality and morality of abortion when both mother and child are in jeopardy, law schools cover what is called “justifiable homicide.”  It’s a very touchy area and hard to argue, but the upshot can be defined by this example:

You have a lifeboat full of people – too full.  If all remain, all will die.  It is legally arguable that a number of people can be thrown out to save the whole.

If mother and child are both in this lifeboat situation, it is understandable and legal to choose who must die.  Some parents agree to risk the mother and give the baby its life.  Others decide to save the mother.  I have no opinion on this matter, nor am I aware of any Biblical reference that can guide us.  I can only acknowledge the horror of that choice and grieve for those who must make it.

Lindsey, I hope you find this a reasoned response to your request for an explanation of “the black and white” of the argument.  Again, I offer this in gentleness and love.

3 thoughts on “Rape and Abortion

  1. I appreciate your perspective and I understand your points. I don’t agree with everything you said but I respect the tone and sentiment. These are difficult times and I believe we should trust in God. There is not always a clear cut answer – that is my point…and one I will stand by. Emotions play a part in the things we say and what we believe – we are the only ones that have the power to make the choices that will define us. Apologies it took me so long to respond – it was not for lack of care…just…life. Love to you.

    • Dear Lindsay, thank you for your kind words. I’m glad that you heard what I wrote to you even if you don’t agree. This is a very hard part of being a Christian that goes all the way back to the Apostles who argued over certain theological points. Namely, we all have the same Bible, same information, but we come to different conclusions, understandings. Do we condemn each other or lay out our reasoning as you and I have done? We may not change each others mind, but we have added to each others understanding. Christians “sharpen” each other just as steel sharpens steel! And I agree – there is not always a clear cut answer. We prayerfully make the best choices we can and rely on Jesus forgiveness for when we err. Thank you for a very healthy discussion! No apologies necessary! Love to you as well!

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