Donald Trump has declared that he’ll weaken the Republican Party’s pro-life platform. He said he’s willing to dilute his party’s opposition to destroying human life in the womb if that life is conceived in rape or incest, or if it threatens the life of the mother.
First of all, if one is pro-life, one can’t say certain lives are less worthy or don’t deserve protection because of how they are conceived.
Second, when it comes to the issue of the life of the mother, more than 1,000 OB/GYNs, nurses, and other medical professionals have signed a document called the Dublin Declaration, affirming that abortion is never necessary to save a mother’s life. While life-saving medical treatment may result in the death of her preborn child, there is a fundamental difference between that legitimate treatment versus an abortion to end the pregnancy.
To the issue of rape and incest, these are horrific injustices, and while abortion exceptions for survivors of these crimes seems compassionate, how is it not also an injustice to punish an innocent child for the crimes of her father. The law forbids the death penalty as punishment for rapists, yet it permits the death penalty for innocent preborn children conceived in rape.
Before making pronouncements that these children somehow deserve less protection in the womb, those who support a “rape exception” for abortion should listen to Rebecca Kiessling, who escaped the abortionist’s forceps and grew up to found a group that advocates for children who are innocent victims like she was.
Those open to abortion for these children should also listen to Valerie Gatto, another child conceived in rape. Valerie is a successful young woman who is also known as Miss Pennsylvania and who competed for Miss USA in 2014. They should talk to Ryan Bomberger, founder of The Radiance Foundation, which reaches millions with its pro-life message. Ryan’s biological mother was raped yet chose to continue the pregnancy and then adopt him to a loving, multi-racial Christian family of 15.
They should also talk to Jennifer Christie, whose son would have been thrown out with an abortion facility’s garbage (or perhaps even sold for parts) if not for the love and compassion of Jennifer, a rape survivor.
Here’s what Donald Trump doesn’t seem to understand: To adopt a rape exception in the Republican Party’s platform is to say to people like Rebecca, Valerie, Ryan, and others, “You are less worthy human beings and you didn’t deserve to live.”
I’m sure that’s not what he meant, but that’s what the rape exception means.
Unfortunately, the abortion industry thrives on rape and incest cases; they’re not sympathetic to them. Live Action has shown with our undercover investigations that Planned Parenthood is willing to cover up minors being raped. In fact, Planned Parenthood was willing to be complicit in these crimes by offering to use abortion to destroy the evidence and not report the crimes to authorities. We’ve even caught Planned Parenthood on camera encouraging minor girls who were sexually abused to lie on their paperwork and claim they were the age of consent.
Rape and incest are horrific crimes, and everyone will acknowledge that carrying a baby for nine months afterwards can be a tremendous challenge. But abortion is not a pathway to healing from these crimes, as it doesn’t undo them; it just compounds the violence a woman has already endured and takes an innocent child’s life in the process.
While some mothers choose to keep their children and end up experiencing the unconditional love that comes from such a truly selfless act, adoption is a compassionate option for those who choose it.
As a society, our response to cases of women who conceive during rape must be threefold. We must ensure the rapist is held accountable to the full extent of the law. We must ensure the mother — the survivor — is given the moral and financial support she needs to heal and to bring new life into the world. Finally, we must ensure that her child gets the love and protection we owe every innocent human being — because that child is a human being, and being conceived in rape doesn’t make her any less of one.
That’s the principle that the Republican Party platform now stands for. If Trump attempts to dilute such a life-affirming principle, it would be a grievous injustice for these children in the womb as well as for those like Rebecca, Valerie, and Ryan, whose lives, despite the violence in which they were conceived, are changing the world.
Trump and the Republican Party — in fact, any party and any candidate committed to human rights — must give a whole-hearted defense of this critical principle.
For without this first right — the right to life — all other rights are meaningless.
Lila Rose is President of Live Action, an educational nonprofit dedicated to inspiring a culture of life in America and beyond.