Me: You know if a woman becomes pregnant through consensual sex and has a crisis pregnancy it is a toss-up as to whether she will have the abortion. But if she’s raped and becomes pregnant then the chances she’ll abort are much lower.
Teen: How much lower?
Me: The odds are about three to one that she won’t abort. It may seem counterintuitive but it really isn’t difficult to understand upon further consideration. She’s just been the victim of a violent crime. She identifies with the evil of violence and is reluctant to inflict it on another human being. So she usually decides to suffer evil rather than inflict it.
Teen: I’ll have to think about that one.
Me: Good. It will give me time to ask you another question.
Me: You believe that the woman impregnated by a rapist will suffer great stress bringing the baby to term. You obviously believe that the abortion will reduce that stress. But your argument turns on the assertion that the stress saved by the abortion will actually outweigh any guilt she might experience over the memory of the abortion for the duration of her life. Is that a fair characterization of your reasoning?
Teen: Yes, that’s fair enough.
Me: Well, how did you arrive at that conclusion? Can you point me to some evidence?
Teen: No, I was just speculating.
Me: Well, you haven’t convinced me that the pregnant woman really benefits. The abortion doesn’t solve the problem. She suffers terribly regardless. But when those conceived in rape are aborted there are multiple tragedies. One human is deprived of life, one adoptive couple loses a child, and others are deprived of ever knowing the innocent child who would have had a long life and formed many friendships. I think that the weight of the evidence is against the abortion. I just cannot see who really benefits from the abortion.
Teen: Well maybe I just have some maturing to do as I think about this issue.
Me: I’m not sure it’s really a thinking problem.
Teen: What do you mean?
Me: You have a steady girlfriend, don’t you?
Teen: Yes, I do.
Me: Are you sleeping with her?
Teen: What? I’m not answering that question.
Me: Well, you don’t have to answer it. You just did. You’re sleeping with her.
Teen: Ok … what does that have to do with the discussion?
Me: Well, everything.
Teen: Please explain.
Me: Every time I am in a discussion of abortion that turns to the so called rape exception, there are two common denominators. First, it is always a guy. Second, he’s always sexually active. If he is sleeping with a lot of women he really supports unrestricted abortion. So he just feigns concern for the rape victim in order to preserve unrestricted abortion so he can have unrestricted sex. Then there are guys like you who are just sleeping with a girlfriend and want to preserve a tiny crack in the wall — a safety valve just in case you get into trouble. The idea of an absolute ban on abortion makes you nervous because you are taking risks you know you ought not to be taking.
Teen: I guess everything you are saying makes sense. Maybe I just need to grow up.
Me: No, not really. You pulled me aside and started this conversation because your conscience was bothering you. You weren’t really worried about the rape issue. You were worried about your own circumstances. That’s why it took courage to initiate the conversation. You knew I wasn’t going say things you wanted to hear. You were mature at the beginning of this conversation and you are even more mature now.
Me: Now it is time to stop treating you girlfriend like she’s already your wife. It will clear your mind and help you make better decisions on a whole range of moral issues. Remember that it is always better to decide what you believe and let your beliefs guide your behavior. When it’s the other way around, you become lost and you eventually lose your moral compass altogether. You eventually become a law unto yourself.
Teen: Well, how do I explain this to my girlfriend?
Me: Well, that should be easy. Tell her you are not yet ready to be a parent. Tell her that if she became pregnant it would be your child, too. Make sure you look her in the eye and firmly tell her that you could never allow her to abort your child. In other words, start living your life according to rules instead of clinging to exceptions.