Why being pro-life with exceptions is wrong is the subject of this Big B File.
Back when I was in junior high school in Neoga, IL, I was in a class when the issue of abortion came up. In our class, the assignment was to take a stand on the issue of abortion…..pro-life or pro-choice……and defend the position. Naturally, I took the Pro-life position except in cases of rape and incest….which was common of most Pro-life politicians and others at that time. I remember one of my classmates, Wade Harker, basically asking me in the class how I could be pro-life and have such exceptions. Good point.
That was the view I had when it came to abortion for several years afterward. Fast forward to December 27, 2011. During the Presidential Pro-Life Forum in Osceola, Iowa, then Presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry announced that he had a change of heart in regards to his stance on abortion. Governor Perry said the following after he met with Rebecca Kiessling, who was herself conceived as a result of a rape…..
“This is something that is relatively new and it goes back to a meeting with Rebecca Kiessling, who was at the ‘The Gift of Life’,” Perry said about meeting her at a recent showing of the new movie. “We had a fairly lengthy and heartfelt conversation about how she was conceived in rape. Looking in her eyes, I couldn’t come up with an answer to defend exceptions for rape and incest.”
“Over the course of the last few weeks, the Christmas holiday, reflecting on that – I would suggest that my pro-life position has been rather strong as the Governor of Texas. But she made a statement to me that was really strong and pierced my heart. As I signed that document, I will suggest to you that all I can tell you is God was working on my heart,” he said.
- Rick Perry Now Opposes Abortions in Cases of Rape, Incest
By STEVEN ERTELT DEC 28, 2011 | lifenews.com
You can see the video above. I believe the Governor’s comments had a profound impact on me and caused me to reflect on my Pro-life stance. It made me think back to that day in Junior high and Wade Harker’s question to me and wonder “Am I truly pro-life when I have exceptions for rape and incest?”
Let me tell you a little about Rebecca Kiessling. According to her website, Rebecca Kiessling is an International Pro-Life Speaker and Attorney who was adopted nearly from birth and learned at age 18 that she was conceived out of a brutal rape at knife-point by a serial rapist. To Rebecca, abortion never factored in her life, but later she realized that it had to do with her very existence. She now speaks all over the country and abroad on the issue of being Pro-life WITHOUT Exceptions. She is also the President and Founder of “Save the 1“, whose mission is to educate everyone on why all pre-born children should be protected by law and accepted by society, without exception and without compromise.
It was also something that Rebecca said in her appearance on Huckabee on October 2, 2014 that resulted in my change in my Pro-life stance and opposition to abortion without exceptions. You can see the entire interview below:
It made me wonder how I could be pro-life and have exceptions for cases of rape and incest. I came to realize that the view I had on abortion with the exceptions was totally incompatible with Catholic Church teaching on abortion and in regards to the teaching on the Culture of Life as defined by St. John Paul II in his encyclical “The Gospel of Life”.
This very issue came up recently in the presidential campaigns. Republican candidate for President Donald J Trump was in an interview with MSNBC host Chris Matthews in which Matthews asked trump “Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no as a principle (for the woman)?” during a March 30, 2016 town hall meeting in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Trump said in response to Matthews’ question “The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment (for the woman).”
The best response came later from Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz when he said “On the important issue of the sanctity of life, what’s far too often neglected is that being pro-life is not simply about the unborn child; it’s also about the mother — and creating a culture that respects her and embraces life……Of course we shouldn’t be talking about punishing women; we should affirm their dignity and the incredible gift they have to bring life into the world.”
Ted Cruz is absolutely right. After all, the innocent victims in the case of a rape or incest are the mother and the unborn child and the only one that should be punished is the rapist……not the mother nor the unborn child that was conceived as a result of the rape. As of 2015, there are thousands of couples who are wanting to adopt these unborn children every year. As St. Pope John Paul II wrote in his encyclical The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae):
“As far as the right to life is concerned, every innocent human being is absolutely equal to all others. This equality is the basis of all authentic social relationships which, to be truly such, can only be founded on truth and justice, recognizing and protecting every man and woman as a person and not as an object to be used. Before the moral norm which prohibits the direct taking of the life of an innocent human being “there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the ‘poorest of the poor’ on the face of the earth. Before the demands of morality we are all absolutely equal”.”
- The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae) – Part #57
March 25, 1995
Women who are in crisis or unplanned pregnancies can turn to pregnancy resource centers for help that doesn’t end after a few weeks, but is for the long term. Two examples of pregnancy resource centers here in St. Louis include Thrive St Louis – which a Christ-centered 501 c (3) non-profit organization that empowers people to make life-affirming and healthy decisions about sex, pregnancy and relationships and Our Lady’s inn, who provides a loving home and an array of services supporting pregnant women and their children suffering with homelessness.
The bottom line is this……there is no reasoning whatsoever, moral or otherwise, as to how you can have exceptions for rape, incest, etc. and still be pro-life. We are dealing with human life and ALL life (including the unborn) is sacred. And as the Lord said to Jeremiah, ”Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.” (Jer 1:5). Just ask people like Rebecca Kiessling from Michigan, Allison Hillaker from Michigan, Russell Saltzman from Missouri, Irene van der Wende from the Netherlands and other men and women who were conceived in rape and/or incest.
……And that’s the Big B Files. Click on the comments link below and tell me what you think……I’m Bryan V. Hewing.