Dear Governor Romney,
When Representative Todd Akin gave his now “infamous” reply to a question about rape and abortion, there is no doubt that he fumbled the ball badly. His use of the term “legitimate rape” was confusing at best, and his belief that a women’s body shuts down during a rape shows a gross lack of information.
As has happened in the past, the Republicans panicked, and within a matter of hours, you and virtually all well-known Republican politicians and conservative radio hosts condemned his words and declared that he should withdraw from the Missouri Senate race. The RNC vowed to cut off all financial aid to his campaign. Your running mate Paul Ryan even called him personally to ask him to step aside. Akin had quickly become a persona non grata, and when he chose to stay in the race, he then became a pariah in his own party.
It did not take long for Republicans to point out that your official position was that abortion is generally wrong, but in the cases of rape and incest, then it is a valid option. And this is where you show not only a great lack of information but also a willingness to accept the premises of the pro-abortion industry. What are those premises? Bioethicist Andrew Varga summarizes the argument for abortions for rape or incest victims:
It is argued that in these tragic cases the great value of the mental health of a woman who becomes pregnant as a result of rape or incest can best be safe-guarded by abortion. It is also said that a pregnancy caused by rape or incest is the result of a grave injustice and that the victim should not be obliged to carry the fetus to viability. This would keep reminding her for nine months of the violence committed against her and would just increase her mental anguish. It is reasoned that the value of the woman’s mental health is greater than the value of the fetus. In addition, it is maintained that the fetus is an aggressor against the woman’s integrity and personal life; it is only just and morally defensible to repel an aggressor, even by killing him if that is the only way to defend personal and human values. It is concluded, then, that abortion is justified in these cases.
Governor Romney, the first premise you accept is that abortion will somehow “save” the victim’s mental health. Dr. David Reardon, in his article Rape, Incest and Abortion: Searching Beyond the Myths, writes:
Many women report that their abortions felt like a degrading and brutal form of medical rape . . . a painful examination of a woman’s sexual organs by a masked stranger who is invading her body . . . while she lies there, tense and helpless, the life hidden within her literally sucked out of her womb. The difference? In a sexual rape, a woman is robbed of her purity; in this medical rape she is robbed of her maternity . . . after any abortion, it is common for women to feel guilt, depression, feelings of being ‘dirty,’ resentment of men, and lowered self-esteem . . . these feelings are identical to what women typically feel after rape. Abortion, then, only adds to and accentuates the traumatic feelings associated with sexual assault.
One rape victim wrote about her abortion: “Nobody told me about the pain I would feel deep within causing nightmares and deep depressions. They had all told me that after the abortion I could continue my life as if nothing had happened.” Thousands of women report similar feelings. Governor, have you read their stories? Have you met with some of these women? Perhaps you should.
But you might protest that surely abortion helps the child who is impregnated through incest. Are you sure? Did you know that such victims rarely choose abortion? Why? Because they see this as an opportunity to expose the incestuous relationship. For the abuser, this is a threat to him and the family “secret.” So he and the family force the victim to have the abortion. A thirty-seven-year-old woman writes about her abortion at age twelve after she had been impregnated by her stepfather:
Throughout the years I have been depressed, suicidal, furious, outraged, lonely, and have felt a sense of loss . . . The abortion which was to “be in my best interest” just has not been. As far as I can tell, it only “saved their reputations,” “solved their problems,” and “allowed their lives to go merrily on.” My daughter, how I miss her so. I miss her regardless of the reason for her conception.
The second premise that you accept, Governor, is that the unborn child is an aggressor. Francis J. Beckwith, writing in the Christian Research Journal, clearly refutes this notion: “It is the rapist who is the aggressor. The unborn entity is just as much an innocent victim as its mother. Hence abortion cannot be justified on the basis that the unborn is an aggressor.”
Finally, Governor, by having a rape and incest exception, you assume that the unborn child is not quite human. For if the child is fully human, then it cannot be killed to supposedly ease the mental suffering of the mother. As ethicist and theologian Dr. Michael Bauman declares, “A child does not lose its right to life simply because its father or its mother was a sexual criminal or deviant.”
Governor Romney, a woman who conceives through rape deserves all the love and compassion a society can give her. What she doesn’t need is a knee-jerk reaction that unquestioningly accepts the premise that the only way to help her is to encourage her to kill an innocent unborn child. That is not a true pro-life position. How ironic that Todd Akin, the man savaged by his own party, is more pro-life than you are.