Once you start discussing your Pro-Life views, you will inevitability encounter someone who brings up the issues of rape, incest, and potential risk to the mother’s life. These are highly emotional issues to discuss, but I do think there is a kind and gentle way to navigate through them and still express a Pro-Life position. Although these are difficult issues to discuss, we need to remember that there is only one question worth discussing in the abortion debate, which is “What is the unborn?”. This question applies even if the situation that produced the pregnancy was violent, illegal, disgusting, or abusive. It is important to remember that only about 1% of abortions are performed because of Rape or Incest. So, when people bring up these extreme examples to justify the other 99% of abortions, ask them what their justification is for the 99%. With that said, if you encounter a person who has been raped or is a victim of incest the first thing you must do is empathize with them. Being Pro-Life means we value all life, including the life of those who have been victimized. As Christians, we have been called to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” –Romans 12:15. If you encounter someone who has been abused, love them, cry with them, express care and concern for them, and empathize.

Rape
Usually, when someone argues that abortions should be allowed in the case of rape, that person has not been raped, but is using an extreme example to justify abortion. The first question that you should ask if someone uses the rape argument is, “Have you or someone you know become pregnant because of rape?” If they answer, yes, you need to empathize, like stated above. However, most likely their answer will be no. Although rape is a horrific subject to discuss, do not let the emotional nature of the subject deter you from the main question. “What is the unborn?” If it is a human being, can you justify killing it because it is the product of rape? Is it the baby’s fault that its father has committed a crime? Can we punish children for the crimes of their parents?  Let’s Trot Out the Toddler. Is it justifiable to kill the three-year-old son of a serial killer in order to pay for the crimes of his father? Of course not. Why would you punish an innocent person for the crimes of someone else? That is unjust.
 
I have heard people say, “How can you ask a woman to daily relive her violent rape by looking into the face of the child of her rapist?” This statement has rhetorical power, but it is misguided. What this statement is suggesting is to kill a child because of the crime that its father committed. The real question should be, “Did the rapist get caught and was he brought to justice?” If the rapist escaped without punishment, this should bring us all to a place of anger because of the injustice of the situation. However, whether the rapist was brought to justice or not, does not justify the killing of an innocent human being. The argument for abortion based on rape is easy to answer logically, but it is very difficult emotionally. Please remember that when you are discussing this issue to be empathetic when talking with a victim of rape.

Incest
When someone uses the case of incest to argue for a Pro-Abortion position, it causes an immediate reaction. Disgust, sadness, and outrage are a few of the reactions that bubble up internally when we hear or think about incest. It is such a horrific situation, and it truly should not be. However, because incest does occur, we need to know how we can navigate through the disgust, outrage and sadness and provide a convincing Pro-Life argument.
The argument from Incest insinuates that because of a person’s heredity, it is justifiable to kill them. This may be the case, if the unborn is not a human person, but that is the only question that really matters. What is the unborn? If it is a person, we cannot justify killing it because of its parentage. History is littered with regimes that decided to eliminate people based on their lineage. Most recently, Hitler sought to exterminate Jewish people simply because of their heredity. Because it is not justifiable to kill innocent people based on their parentage, it is not justifiable to kill the unborn based upon who its father or mother is.
 
Some will argue that it is justifiable to abort a child brought about through incest because the risk of physical deformities and mental disabilities is greater. This takes us back to the S.L.E.D. test from my blog a couple weeks ago. The L in S.L.E.D. stands for Level of Development. Just because a person is not mentally or physically as developed as others, does not mean that they are any less of a human being. A boy born missing a limb is still 100% a human person. A girl born with down syndrome is still 100% a human person. A person’s level of physical or mental development does not determine their humanity. The D in the S.L.E.D. stands for Degree of Dependency. Although people with mental and physical disabilities will be more dependent on their family and friends, does not mean that they are less human than others without the same handicap. Therefore, it is an illegitimate argument to say that children produced by Incest are justifiably killed because of potential disability.
 
Risk of the Mother’s Life
 This argument is very different from the arguments based on Rape and Incest. In a case where the mother and the child will both be killed if the pregnancy continues, there is good justification for ending the pregnancy. The choice that is being made in these situations is between losing both lives or losing one and saving the other. It is a very easy decision to save the life of the person that you can, while allowing the other person to die, which would have happened even if the pregnancy continued. These types of situations are heart wrenching and require us to show compassion, care and empathy to the women and men who have had to decide to end these pregnancies. These situations are difficult emotionally, but ethically they are quite simple. We should always choose to save a life when possible, especially when the alternative choice is to lose both the mother and the child.
 
My purpose for writing this blog is to help equip you to be prepared to discuss these highly emotional issue that come up in the abortion debate. As Pro-Life proponents, we need to be prepared to make a compelling case for life, even when these difficult situations are used against us. Remember to be highly sensitive when discussing these issues because you never know what others have been through and their possible experience with rape, incest, and risk to their own life.