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October 25, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Have you ever noticed that supporting rape and incest exceptions for abortion never seems to win the people who hold this position any points with the abortion lobby?

Pro-aborts never give the holder of this position any credit for being “compassionate” or “reasonable.” At best, they’ll accuse such position holders of opposing exceptions anyway, as Mitt Romney found out; at worst, they’ll conjure reasons for why the compromise isn’t good enough or even constitutes a brand-new slight against women.

Case in point: on Wednesday, Amanda Gomez of the far-left ThinkProgress wrote about how even though the Hyde Amendment allows payment for abortions sought for rape, incest, or to save a mother’s life, things often don’t work that way in practice:

A ThinkProgress analysis of Medicaid claims across the country found few states with coverage restrictions have paid for many low-income people’s abortions — likely due to the bureaucracy, ignorance, or stigma. In fact, in 2017, nine states never paid for a [rape] survivor’s abortion and four only paid for one.

In addition to reinforcing a “good abortion, bad abortion” concept, dozens of advocates told ThinkProgress rape and incest exemptions are actually harmful because survivors ultimately aren’t guaranteed to get the health care they need — particularly when it’s conditioned on a police report, as is the case in a few states.

While more survivors are publicly sharing their experiences with rape and assault during this cultural calculus of #MeToo, law enforcement is seldom involved. The statistics say as much: two out of three rapes are not reported to police. There are a lot of reasons why — like feared retaliation or distrust in the criminal justice system — and all depend on the survivor’s life circumstance. Laws generally lack nuance or an understanding of this reality.

The lengthy report that follows is all very interesting, but ultimately the above captures the logic: rape exceptions are unreasonable because they have the gall to require a minimal standard of verification that a rape, in fact, actually happened.

From a purely logical standpoint, this is absurd. False rape claims aren't unheard of, and if you’re in the market for an abortion the prospect of having taxpayers pick up the tab is an obvious incentive to make one. So if abortions are paid for in the case of rape, then of course there has to be some way to prevent people who weren’t raped from abusing it.

The abortion lobby has been moving the goalposts on this point for a few years now. In 2015, they lost their minds over the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill that gave women five full months to abort for any reason they want, simply because it asked rape survivors who want an abortion even later to report their attack to police or a rape counselor.

Two years later, Democrats like Elizabeth Warren, Mazie Hirono, and Richard Blumenthal ranted that banning late-term abortions except for rape cases was “dangerous,” “cruel,” and “extreme.” Indeed, Gomez’s complaint about “reinforcing a ‘good abortion, bad abortion’ concept” echoes talking points her fellow travelers have been peddling since those debates.

If such modest, fundamentally moderate measures like the Pain-Capable bill and the Hyde Amendment still invite the same shrikes of extremism, the same accusations of misogyny, the same degree of media hostility…then why are so many pro-lifers content with settling for them?

There’s no moral argument for rape exceptions. In fact, the strongest moral arguments are against having such exceptions. Their sole justification boils down to a temporary compromise to save however many babies that can be saved until the electorate can be persuaded to protect all of them. But the above strongly suggests that for pro-lifers to contort themselves to fit some politically-calculated definition of “reasonable” is ultimately a fool’s errand.

Remember, “abortion through all nine months, for any reason, at taxpayer expense” isn’t any more popular than a 100% pro-life stance with no exceptions, yet pro-abortion advocates are perfectly willing to fight tooth and nail for it. So maybe the problem isn’t that a full-throated case for all lives is a political loser, but that our elected officials have let pro-aborts go on offense for so long that they can’t imagine how the public would react to one.

Someone who’s noticed that compromise isn’t working anymore should try pitching one to the public and find out.

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Calvin Freiburger is a Wisconsin-based conservative writer and 2011 graduate of Hillsdale College. His commentary and analysis have been featured on NewsReal Blog, Live Action, and various other conservative websites. Before joining LifeSiteNews, he spent two years in Washington, DC, working to build support for the Life at Conception Act with the National Pro-Life Alliance, then worked a year and a half as assistant editor of You can follow him on Twitter @CalFreiburger, and check out his personal website,