Author’s Note: This column is a continuation of the previous column, hence the phrase “Part II”. The first part was the beginning of my recent speech to the second annual Minnesota Youth for Life Conference in Robbinsdale, MN. The speech was meant to give six pieces of advice to nominally pro-life students who wished to become pro-life activists. The first three pieces of advice are geared towards all pro-lifers. The last three are geared towards those who find themselves advocating for the unborn on a predominantly pro-abortion-choice campus.
3. Master the tougher arguments by taking on hard cases.
Pro-abortion arguments are not all equally bad. Some are tougher to respond to than others. The so called rape exception to a total ban on abortion is one that is difficult for many to handle. But handle it we must. Last year at this conference, I talked about cases where a woman is raped and impregnated. We also discussed the Kennedy v. Louisiana case that bans capital punishment for rapists, even when the victim is a child who is severely raped and tortured but doesn’t die as a result of the attack. We noted that the rapist has a right to life and that the rape victim has a right an abortion. This leaves the child who is conceived in rape as the only one in the situation who is without rights. That is the status quo in our current constitutional jurisprudence. I believe this is a morally indefensible situation.
Nonetheless, some people try to defend the status quo by arguing that a child conceived in rape is a "problem" for which abortion is the only "solution." I believe this problem/solution dichotomy is deeply misguided. Our world is not governed by problems and solutions. It is governed by trade-offs. Please allow me to explain.
If you are a believer and read your Bible carefully, you will notice that early on, in the third chapter of Genesis, we are presented with a bleak view of human nature. Indeed, we still live in world of fallen beings, which means that utopian solutions are impracticable. I think most non-believers would also have to reject the idea of basic human “goodness” - simply by reflecting on their own experiences dealing with difficult people. People aren’t saints. Consequently, we live in a world of trade-offs. We are constantly trading one very bad outcome for one that isn't so bad. We must remember this whenever we analyze difficult cases.