Over the last six years, I have met many different kinds of people. I have met the radicals, the impartials, and the unsure. I have met people who range all across the spectrum between 'choice' and life. A common trend I have seen, both in those who consider themselves pro-life and those who advocate for abortion, is the inclusion of the rape exception in their beliefs. I often hear people say things such as, “I think abortion is wrong, except in extreme cases like rape.”
Let me begin addressing this issue by summarizing what we know about the unborn: they are alive and they are human. These are not religious beliefs but scientifically proven facts. Society's laws also clearly consider human life to be of value. Therefore, the only reasonable conclusion we can reach is to say that, since the unborn are human, the unborn are intrinsically valuable.
Keeping this in mind, we now come to the rape exception. The rape exception, ignoring the foundational truths stated above, says that the lives of those conceived in rape are somehow less valuable because of the circumstances surrounding their conception. The issue is that, if this reasoning were extended and taken to its logical conclusions, not only would the unborn child conceived in rape be less valuable than other humans, but the infant, toddler, teenager, and adult conceived in rape would also be less valuable.
In adopting a pro-life position, an individual is agreeing with science when it says that human life begins at the moment of conception. A pro-life individual is also agreeing with society when it says that human life is valuable. By making these agreements, a pro-lifer automatically eliminates the viability of the rape exception within his or her beliefs. He or she agrees that every unborn child deserves life. There can be no exceptions.
I understand why people adopt the perspective: women's rights, personal experience, compassion. But the fact still remains that, no matter how compassionate it may be portrayed as being, the rape exception ignores the humanity of the unborn child conceived in rape, which therefore ignores the humanity of the born child. A child like Isabella.
Above is a picture of two beautiful young women. Lauran and Isabella have a very unique story, one that you can read about here. What I want to highlight here is not the fact that Lauran is courageous or that Isabella is adorable, although both of those statements are true. What I want to highlight is the fact that, if the rape exception were drawn out to its full conclusions, Isabella would be considered less valuable than every other little girl her age. If the rape exception were drawn out to its full conclusions, someone would be able to kill her at any stage in her life because of the circumstances of her conception.
I am not condemning those pro-lifers who believe in the rape exception. As individuals, they can believe in the rape exception if they so choose. What I am saying, however, is that they cannot believe in the rape exception and remain intellectually honest.
I have always held the belief that, in the pro-life movement, we must be all-in or all-out. As Rebecca Kiessling would say, “No exceptions. No compromise.” If you are still uncertain as to where you stand in regard to the rape exception, talk to Lauran and Isabella. I'm sure that they will have a thing or two to say about it.
Lia Mills, 18, is the founder and director of True Choice, a pro-life organization that aims to protect and empower those facing an unplanned pregnancy.