One of the differences between the Obama/Biden campaign and the Romney/Ryan campaign came out during the VP debates. Biden said he was a faithful Catholic and believed his church’s teaching on abortion (in the true spirit of faith as “believing what you know ain’t so”), but he wasn’t willing to impose his religious beliefs on others (and rightly so). Ryan, on the other hand, was adamant that abortion was murder and should be immediately outlawed, except in cases of rape, incest, and the health of the mother. And that’s a very interesting set of exceptions.
Ok, the last of those three exceptions may not be so interesting. It makes sense that where there’s a medical emergency that endangers both the mother and the unformed child, you don’t sacrifice the one with the best chance of survival in order to save the one with the greatest risk of dying anyway. But what about those other two exceptions?
Paul Ryan says he believes that abortion is murder. Life begins at conception, and anyone who ends that life is a murderer. But that means that if a child is conceived through rape or incest, his or her life also begins at conception, which means ending that life is also murder. By agreeing that abortion is ok in the cases of rape or incest, Ryan is effectively saying that sometimes it’s ok to legalize murder.
If a child is conceived through rape, and the woman decides not to abort, and a few years later someone deliberately kills the kid, you wouldn’t say, “Well, that’s not murder because the child was originally conceived by rape.” We all know that at some point it does become murder to kill a child, even if the child was conceived through rape and/or incest. Pro-lifers like Ryan put that point at conception, and therefore any pro-lifer who supports legal abortion in the case of rape or incest is necessarily declaring that they support legalized murder.
The pro-choice position, by contrast, is both more obvious and more self-consistent. The reason abortion is not murder in the case of rape or incest is because it’s not murder even in the case of consensual sex. The unformed child is not yet a person, because the essential attributes that make us persons are attributes that are not yet present. People are different from single-celled organisms, but the fertilized egg, not so much. People are different from primitive organisms, but blastocytes, not a lot. People are different from animals, because we have thoughts and self-awareness and social connections, but zygotes, not quite yet. Gestation prepares the unformed child to eventually become a person, but it isn’t there yet, and so there’s no person to be murdered.
I think most people know that the pro-choice position is the correct one, factually and morally. Abortion isn’t really murder, they just call it murder so they can feel good about punishing women for having sex. If the woman did not wish to have sex, if she was forced to submit to a rapist, then ok, she can have an abortion, but everybody else has to have the baby, and it serves them right for sleeping around. It’s disgustingly sexist and hypocritical prudery, which is why it needs to be justified by the “abortion is murder” meme, but that’s the way some people are. And that’s why you get politicians like Paul Ryan standing up and declaring that abortion is murder, but he’s ok with murdering some kids depending on how they were conceived.