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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Hard cases make bad law

Posted by Rhoslyn Thomas on 21 September 2012

Abortion is an issue which comes up time and time again during the US presidential elections.

This year is no exception, not least because President Obama takes an extreme position on the issue of abortion, has done since his time as senator in Illinois and is expected to continue if he is elected for a second term as president.

According to Pam Sutherland, chief lobbyist for the Illinois branch of Planned Parenthood (PP), Obama worked closely with PP when it came to votes on abortion legislation. According to Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post, Obama towed the radically pro-abortion PP line on the following: the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act; the bill to protect liveborn children; the bill to protect children born as result of induced labour abortion where "born-alive infant" includes all infants "born alive at any stage of development."

He also co-sponsored the 2007 Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) in the US Senate. Since his presidency, Obama's administration has blocked attempts to defund PP, has reversed the global gag-rule which prevents US dollars funding abortion overseas, and opposed a bill to ban gender-selective abortion, to name a few. The ethical considerations of certain legislative proposals are one thing, but the clear and persistent pro-abortion motivation of Obama is clear.

Kathryn Sebellius, the secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration has also unveiled the HHS mandate in the past year which has been virulently opposed due to the fact that it forces even religious institutions (who employ people of different faiths) to pay for abortifacients and contraception as part of their employee insurance plan.

Finally, Todd Akin, a member of the Republican party, recently made a reference to 'legitimate rape' and the idea that a woman rarely falls pregnant after being raped owing to the trauma caused by rape.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is well known for his changing position on the issue of abortion, though he issued a pledge last year outlining his position on abortion and stating that he only supports abortion in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother. As we know, this is contrary to the authentic pro-life position, which values all human life from conception until natural death, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the conception. Romney recently appointed Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential candidate, who is pro-life and has consistently supported pro-life legislation. Nonetheless, despite Romney's choice for VP, the Romney-Ryan ticket will run on Romney's partially pro-life stance. This is contrary to the advertisements produced by the Obama campaign, which claim that Romney supports a blanket ban on abortion.

People whose lives were brought about by rape are often some of the strongest voices in the pro-life movement, precisely because their lives, along with those of the disabled, are most often included in the 'exceptions'. They are often excluded from the protection of the law, as are disabled babies, because many consider the idea that a woman should be 'forced' to continue this type of pregnancy too awful (in the UK, for example, abortion is legal up to birth for disabled babies).

Rebecca Kiessling's mother, who was violently raped and fell pregnant, tried to abort Kiessling twice and failed. Kiessling, who lives in the US, is now a strong voice for the unborn and particularly for those who are conceived through rape. As a recent article on LifeSiteNews.com points out, there is no difference between a baby conceived because of rape and a baby conceived through normal intercourse. Why then, should these children be treated differently? More importantly, why should any unborn child be treated differently, regardless of disability or circumstance? After all, it is not our circumstances which define our humanity and therefore our right to life, but the fact that we are human.

Kiessling appeared, alongside Gloria Allred, a woman who had been raped and aborted her unborn child via a 'backstreet abortion', on Piers Morgan Tonight to discuss Akin's comment and abortion in cases of rape. Kiessling makes a valid point during the debate which draws no response: "I'm a woman, you say you care about women ... what use is my right to anything if I don't have the right to life?"

Shauna R Prewitt wrote in 2009 that many laws are passed to facilitate abortion in cases of rape and incest, but what real support is given to the women who choose to keep their rape-conceived children?

"... few states have passed special laws to aid the large number of raped women who choose to raise their rape-conceived children. Without such laws, a man who fathers a child through rape has the same custody and visitation privileges regarding that child as does the father of a child not conceived through rape. Moreover, as a result of this legal absence, raped women and their children are left to face substantial and potentially terrible consequences" (p.829).

Whilst modern radical feminists continue to scream and shout for 'reproductive rights' especially in cases of rape, how many are supporting their fellow women who make the courageous decision to choose life?

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