Todd Akin recently accomplished something that I had always considered impossible. With his odd attempt to explain that abortion is not morally acceptable even if a woman has been raped, Rep. Akin convinced me that abortion rights advocates may have been right all along.
Not that they have been right that abortion should be legal. The Word of God teaches us that, from the very moment of conception, we are fully human, fully human sinners in need of Christ's forgiveness and fully clothed in the dignity that God commands must be given to all the descendants of Adam and Eve. And this Biblical teaching that life begins at conception is scientifically echoed in the fact that, at the moment of conception, you find unique human DNA that is alive, cells that are growing, dividing, developing into tissue and organs and systems. If this "glob of cells" were just a part of the mother's body, she would certainly be as free to dispose of it as if it were her appendix. But it is not her body. It is the body of another human being. It is a life which cannot justifiably be taken. And to take that life is a murderous act.
So they have not been right in defending abortion. Rather, abortion rights advocates have been right in their contention that pro-life advocates simply want to control women. Todd Akin, or rather the response from many pro-life politicians and personalities to his comments, convinced me of this.
Mitt Romney's campaign, for example, made sure to reassert that the GOP nominee does not oppose abortion in the cases of rape or incest. The media also was quick to point out how out of touch with mainstream America Akin's opposition to abortion in cases of rape is, citing that only 17% of Americans believe that abortion should be outlawed in all circumstances, a much lower figure than the fifty-ish percent of people who identify themselves as somewhere on the pro-life spectrum.
Obviously rape is a deplorable act, a dehumanizing crime that continues striking with psychological violence long after the physical violence has concluded. And, at the risk of disagreeing with Jacob the Patriarch, I believe that the Shechemites got what they deserved when Simeon and Levi put them to the sword in defense of their sister. But, in spite of all that, what are Gov. Romney and other pro-life voices trying to say when they reaffirm that they don't oppose abortion in cases of rape?
Surely they're not saying life begins at conception except when a woman is raped, in which case life only begins if a raped woman wants that life to have begun. Such a position would be as scientifically indefensible as Rep. Akin's belief that a woman's ovaries have a built in Star Wars Missile Defense Shield in the event of rape. Rather, what pro-life voices are saying when they affirm the rape exception is this woman should get a pass on having to carry this child to term because getting pregnant wasn't her fault.
And, in saying that, what are they also saying? But all those other women chose to sleep with their husbands, their boyfriends, their drunken hookup partners, and they should have to take responsibility for their actions. They agreed to participate in marital relations or fornication or adultery, so they should have to face the consequences of the decisions they made willingly.
So these voices don't oppose abortion out of a genuine respect for unborn life. They don't believe that this living, growing, developing thing within a mother's womb deserves the same dignity and protection that you and I deserve, regardless of how conception occurred. No, instead, these voices simply want women to act like grownups, to be responsible enough to pay the piper when their actions come back to bite them in the uterus.
And I'm afraid this mindset is exactly what abortion rights voices have been condemning. You don't have the right to tell a woman what to do with her body, before sex or after. This has been the pro-choice mantra for quite some time. And the more that pro-life voices make exceptions for rape and incest, the more they reveal that their pro-life convictions are not governed by a desire to protect unborn children, but by a desire to judge sexually active parents. The more that pro-life voices give their consent to the murder of unborn children conceived in rape, the more they reveal that the only thing distinguishing them from a president who doesn't want his daughters punished with a baby is that they're fine with that form of punishment, as long as the girl deserves it.
But we don't oppose abortion because women should have to lie in the beds they've fornicated in. We don't oppose abortion out of judgment. We oppose it out of mercy, out of the desire to defend the weakest among us, to protect those who have no strength or power or influence. We oppose abortion because a human's life begins at conception, and because, from that very moment, he deserves the same rights that you and I have, both the right to live in safety as a citizen of this nation, and the right to hear the saving Word of God that gives peace to those who were at war with God from the moment egg and sperm first combined.
So please pray. Pray that Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals may see that we have no greater treasure than the lives of those who haven't even made a bump in their mother's bellies yet and that we have no greater duty than to defend their existence. Pray that God may soon provide doctors a way of taking children out of the wombs of mothers who would otherwise have them aborted and into the wombs of mothers who will cherish and love them and weep tears of joy on the days they are born. And pray that those who have picketed outside of abortion clinics and those who have utilized the services inside may both turn from their sins and trust in the saving blood of Jesus Christ that never runs dry.