Recently, Ann Coulter wrote a controversial column suggesting that numerous Republican losses in the 2012 election cycle could be tied to the GOP stance on abortion. After lamenting the problem, she suggested a solution: the GOP should officially abandon its opposition to the so-called rape exception to a ban on abortion.
Ann's position on this matter is wrong for three reasons. First, it is unprincipled. Second, it will not be received with the popular support she envisions. Third, it is not the best political response to the problem. After elaborating on each problem associated with Ann's position, I propose an alternative. It is one that I consider to be more viable, so to speak.
1. It is the not the principled position. Conservatives don't believe that we should be punished for the actions of others. We believe that we should be held responsible for our own actions. I should not have to bail out my neighbor if he cannot pay his mortgage. I should not have to pay for welfare programs if my neighbor refuses to work. I can help my neighbor if I so choose. But I ought not to be forced to do so. The consequences of my conduct should fall upon me, not upon others.
Ann does not claim we should adopt the rape exception as a compromise. Ann actually claims that the rape exception is the principled position. She makes this claim entirely on the basis of the principle that it is wrong to force the rape victim to carry the rapist's baby to term. But no one wants to apply force to the rape victim. True conservatives want to ensure that no one applies force to the innocent child before he or she can be given up for adoption. Why? Because the baby is innocent. The baby has never committed a rape. Therefore, the baby should live. And if the baby defaults on her mortgage in adulthood, she should bear the consequences, not someone else.
2. It is not the majority position. Ann Coulter has asserted that the rape exception is popular. She has even gone so far as to suggest that 99% of the people agree with it. That is an assertion, which is unsupported by evidence. It is also patently false. No one who is pro-choice is in favor of the rape exception to a rule banning abortion. The reason is simple: they cannot favor any exceptions to a rule they don't actually favor.
When you add a) the forty-something percent of the population that rejects the exception because they reject the rule and b) the sizable portion of pro-lifers who reject the exception as a matter of principle, then what do you get? You get a majority rejecting the rape exception. That's the reason you don't have a bunch of unbathed rape exception supporters huddling on Wall Street shouting "we are the 99 percent!"