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What Would You Say about Abortion and Rape? Answering a Tough Question


Discussions about any controversial topic can be dangerous these days. It’s almost certain someone is going to get upset and maybe lose their cool. It could even end a relationship.

The easiest thing to do is avoid tough conversations altogether. Not every argument or arguer is worthy of our engagement.

But issues and people are worthy of the truth. The stakes are simply too high. C.S. Lewis once said that good philosophy is needed if for no other reason than bad philosophy exists. And I’d add, good answers are needed in our culture if for no other reason than bad answers exist. And there are some topics that must be approached only with truth and love—together.

For instance: “Is abortion justified in the case of rape? Should a rape victim be forced to carry a baby to term?”

We tackle this question in our latest “What Would You Say?” video, a series designed to help you answer our culture’s toughest questions in an understandable, trustworthy, and memorable way.

On this question, we must never forget just how heinous and evil rape is. It may be that our questioner is a victim, and if so, our words alone won’t be enough. It’s a tragic feature of the current abortion debate that pro-abortion advocates so often want to use rape victims in order to advance their cause. That’s something that you and I cannot tolerate, and we should never be guilty of.

Not only should rape victims not be used to advance the cause, they must not be ignored either. And this is exactly where the Church must come in: tending to victims’ emotional, spiritual, medical, family, and financial needs as they bring their babies to term.

With all that said, the truth is the question remains: “What about abortion in cases of rape?” Here’s pro-life apologist Stephanie Gray with a “What Would You Say” response:

Here are three things to remember. First, rape and incest represent a tiny fraction of abortions. Even if abortion could be justified in these rare situations, the vast majority of abortions are in no way justified by these exceptions.

Second, abortion in the case of rape punishes an innocent party. In cases of rape that lead to conception, there are three parties involved: the rapist, the woman, and the child. Which of these three parties is guilty of a crime and deserves to be punished? The woman did nothing wrong. The child did nothing wrong. Only the rapist is guilty. But abortion means that the innocent child is given a punishment that even the guilty rapist won’t face.

In no other situation do we suggest that a child should be punished for their parent’s crimes. In fact, we would never justify the killing of a born child who was conceived by rape. If we wouldn’t punish a child after they are born, why should we punish a child before she is born?

Third, our value as humans is not based on how we are conceived. Some people are conceived in love. Others are conceived in lust. And some, tragically, are conceived in violence.

Regardless of the circumstances, in each case an innocent, unrepeatable, and irreplaceable human being comes into existence. By virtue of being human, they have dignity and rights regardless of how they came to be.

Finally, abortion will not change what happened. Abortion may seem like a way to minimize the pain, but it will not change the past and it cannot make a victim forget what happened.

That’s just part of Stephanie Gray’s thoughtful and helpful answer to one of the most difficult questions of the abortion debate. The entire answer is available at WhatWouldYouSay.org, along with answers to many of the other difficult questions Christians face in today’s culture.

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Publication Date: December 10, 2019

Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Fizkes

John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and radio host of BreakPoint, a daily national radio program providing thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of CrosswalkHeadlines.

BreakPoint is a program of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. BreakPoint commentaries offer incisive content people can't find anywhere else; content that cuts through the fog of relativism and the news cycle with truth and compassion. Founded by Chuck Colson (1931 – 2012) in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends. Today, you can get it in written and a variety of audio formats: on the web, the radio, or your favorite podcast app on the go.

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