With abortion, our goal must always be to give the most amount of compassion to the most vulnerable. At any given time and situation, this may sound simple. But it is not easy. For example, how should we address the complex issue of abortion in cases of rape?

This isn’t an easy topic to discuss by any stretch. Which is why we decided to address it. CareCast is Care Net’s podcast on family, faith, and life with Roland Warren, President and CEO of Care Net, and Vincent DiCaro Care Net’s Chief Outreach Officer. Let’s listen to what Roland and Vince have to say on the newest CareCast as they discuss the issue in detail.

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How Should We Address Abortion in Cases of Rape

This issue is not a simple one. It’s often a sticking point around the abortion issue. It’s tough to sort out exactly how to deal with it. Recently, a story came from a pro-life activist who confronted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him about his defense of abortion.

Prime Minister Trudeau answered how many pro-choice activists often do. He said, “Well, do you think that a woman who is raped should be able to have access to an abortion?” The pro-life student who had asked the question answered, “Well, I’m kind of split on that.” Trudeau walked away, leaving the question hanging.

Don’t you feel the tension with this issue? We often find that when a pro-choice activist brings up abortion in the case of rape or incest, it seems to shut down the argument and the pro-life side doesn’t seem to have an answer. We’re left not sure know how to sort out the issues in a way that’s helpful, compassionate, and shows grace and mercy to all parties involved. As Roland and Vince dig deep into this issue in the CareCast episode, I want to touch on the 3 questions to consider on the issue of abortion in cases of rape.

3 Questions to Ask for Addressing Abortion in Cases of Rape

Question #1: Why do pro-choice activists seem to think abortion is the only appropriate decision in cases of rape?

First, as someone who loves his mom, his wife, and his two daughters, I understand this isn’t easy to think about. As Roland and Vince point out in the episode, the thought of any woman being raped is difficult to consider and we must have the utmost compassion for anyone who faces this type of situation.

That said, the Trudeau exchange is a classic example of bringing up rape as the abortion-argument-trump card. What are pro-choice activists trying to do when they bring this example up? And how should a pro-life person respond?

Some pro-life activists would respond with stats. We know that less than one percent of abortions happen from cases of rape.

But, when you say that aloud, it rings hollow, right? It doesn’t feel compassionate to say, “Well, statistically, it’s not really that big of a deal!” Try telling that to the rape victim. It may be 1%, but for her, it is 100%. It’s simply not compassionate or sensitive to those facing this issue to talk about stats.

This is where Roland and Vince do well to go deeper into the issue. They discuss in detail why rape is so heinous; that is, rape is such a terrible act because it is a powerful person taking advantage of and abusing a vulnerable victim. So, it seems easier to not focus on the unborn child but to focus on the woman. The argument’s over, right?

Well, here’s what we find. Roland explains that often, a woman who chooses to bring her child into the world after she’s been raped is refusing to let the rapist turn her into him. Yes, he used his power against her when she was vulnerable. However, there’s a point where she often decides, and refuses, to let him turn her into him. So, instead of committing an act that has the same power dynamic -using her power over the vulnerable unborn child in her womb — she brings the child into the world.

The woman who decides to have the child has decided, “No, you will not use your power against me. You took advantage of me when I was vulnerable. But you can’t extend your power over me to have an abortion.” Essentially, many women, as difficult as the situation is, aren’t interested in creating another victim””turning the unborn child into the second victim.

Question #2: Will the baby remind the woman of being raped forever?

In short, yes, the baby will remind the woman of the rape for many years, possibly forever. But shouldn’t we be asking, who’s going to remind the woman of the rape more””the rapist or the baby?

The answer, of course, is the rapist. So, we must compassionately move to whether any good can come from rape? That’s not an easy question to type or ask. At first thought, you might say no. But we know that every person, including the unborn child in the womb, is created in the image of God.

For the mom who gives birth to a child as the result of rape, God helps her see that baby as the joy of her life. I can’t pretend to have the perfect answer here, but the point is to work toward being compassionate and consistent. And we must not let injustice take over. It’s why the rape victim isn’t allowed to kill her rapist even though he reminds her of the rape. The rape victim can’t sit on the jury. She can’t be the judge. Why is that? Because we try to work toward justice. Even though she’s been violated, our justice system takes the decision out of her hands. And while those found guilty of rape often face serious prison time, they are typically not given a death sentence. So why are we so quick to give the unborn child a death sentence through abortion?

Question #3: Do the circumstances of one’s birth determine one’s worth?

In the exchange with Prime Minister Trudeau, if the student had time, he could’ve asked Trudeau, “Do the circumstances of your conception and birth determine your worth?”

Think about it: the Prime Minister’s argument is, “Yes, the circumstances of your conception and birth determine your worth.” If you were conceived in love, you have worth. If you were conceived in lust, you don’t have worth.

Don’t miss this framework: if the circumstances of your birth determine your worth, then a child born to wealthy parents has more worth than a child who isn’t. God says differently. He says we are created in His image; that the circumstances of our conception and birth do not determine our worth.

We must be clear, as terrible as rape is, we must operate from a perspective of justice and mercy for every situation and every life involved. God has made clear that all of life is worthy of protection and that the circumstances of one’s conception should not determine his or her worth.

We must ask ourselves, even in the case of rape, how can we apportion compassion? We must always link compassion, vulnerability, and power together and, situation by situation, ask, “Who’s the more powerful? Who’s more vulnerable?” Then, seek to give the most amount of compassion to the most vulnerable.

Listen in on the full CareCast podcast for more details on all of these arguments.

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Additional Resources for Addressing Abortion in Cases of Rape