This is a letter to the editor I wrote back in September 2004. Unfortunately it's still pertinent.
(Author’s note: I no longer have the citation to the report that gave me the “25% of rapes result in pregnancy” stats. I believe it was from a study done on college campuses so it may more accurately be that 25% of rapes on college campuses result in pregnancy but it’s been so long I’m just publishing my letter as a local paper printed it.)
Abortion has been made into a divisive power issue, but it’s not “either-or.” Pro-choice people are pro-life. Pro-life people are pro-choice. The difference is which life and whose choice. In 3rd world countries the choice can be feeding two or starving three. In 1st world countries the choice can be work or welfare. In any country the issue can be rape, incest, or the mental and physical health of both woman and fetus, and even the life of the woman. A society with legal abortion says the mother’s life and well-being is important. The mother knows the circumstances and therefore she chooses to bear a child right now – or not. The woman’s life is valued and she makes the choice. In a society that forbids abortion says the mother’s life, health, and well-being are secondary to the fetus. Impersonal laws that neither know nor care about the circumstances make the choice. In the case of rape, the rapist makes the choice.
Years ago I talked with a young woman picketing a woman’s clinic. Some abortions were performed there but it was predominantly a pre- and post-natal care clinic. She told me abortion had to be illegal or no woman would have children and our species would die – a fascinating bit of brainwashing. She was standing in front of a clinic where women could get an abortion if wanted but the greatest part of its business was pre- and post-natal care. In plain terms, most of the clinic’s clients were women having babies because they wanted them. I had children because I wanted them. I have friends and relatives who have had abortions – some because they already had too many children to be able to take care of more, some because they didn’t feel they’d be good parents. Two because of rape. Bringing a child unwanted into the world is a much greater sin than abortion. Biblically life begins with breath. A fetus can’t breathe. It cannot live outside the womb. Its life and nutrition come from the body of its host – the woman carrying it. A doctor told me the two most dangerous things in this life are to be born and to give birth. Men cannot do the latter. Most assignments dangerous to men are voluntary. His choice. Pregnancy is an assignment dangerous to women. It should be her choice.
The underlying tenet of Judeo-Christian-Islam society is that pregnancy is a woman’s punishment for sex. Interesting that there is no similar “punishment” for men – and obscene if the sex was not the woman’s choice. Twenty-five percent of all rapes result in pregnancy. Without abortion society says the fetus – even a deformed fetus or fatally diseased or result of rape fetus – is more important that a mature contributing member of society and rapists make the choice. Pro which life – the woman or the fetus? Pro whose choice – the woman or the rapist? Law only determines which life and whose choice.