Ken Connor

Abortion clearly involves the taking of a human life. There can be no getting around this fact. The baby is alive and it is human. Following the court's logic, if it is cruel and unusual punishment to visit the death penalty on the perpetrator of a child rape, how much more so is it it cruel and unusual punishment to visit that penalty on an innocent child who is the unwitting product of that act? The child is guilty of nothing except that it exists, and it is manifestly unjust to punish an innocent child for the crimes of his or her father. The Jewish and Christian religious traditions reject the notion that children are culpable for the sins of their parents or vice versa (Deut. 24:16; 1 Kings 14:6). So does Article Five of the U.S. Constitution, which eliminated the taint "corruption of blood" to future generations whose forebears may have been guilty of treason. Punishing the innocent victim compounds the violence of the original act and magnifies its impact, extending it beyond the mother to the innocent child, who suffers not only physical damage, but total destruction.

Pro-lifers must keep this in mind when considering the circumstances under which abortion may be deemed permissible. In circumstances where a woman's life is jeopardized by her pregnancy, the decision to abort involves consideration of moral equivalents: life for life. However, even under these circumstances the goal is not to end the life of the child, but to save the life of the mother.

In this life, we cannot always undo the effects of sin and violence. We can only seek to mitigate the adverse consequences of such acts. Killing an unborn baby does not erase the pain and trauma imposed by rape. It is rather a form of misdirected retribution, revenge meted out against an innocent child because of the act of his or her parent. In the case of rape, the mother deserves our love and help and support. The perpetrator deserves punishment. But the child, once conceived, deserves to live.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.

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