What could possibly be more evil than rape at knifepoint? Valerie Gatto’s mother suffered that evil and lived to tell about it only by the unexpected presence of a light invading the darkness of the night when she was raped.
Then, discovering she was pregnant, she could have turned to darkness, as well. She could have chosen to kill the life conceived in her womb, conceived by no choice of Valerie’s mother and by no choice of the one growing inside her. Instead, she chose life for her child, and a new life for herself. Rather than attending law school, she chose to raise her child as her own, along with the support of her own parents.
Now that child is an adult, recently graduated from university. Rather than wallowing in the status of perpetual victim over the horror of how she was conceived, she is dedicating her life to service to others and to teaching women how to protect themselves from sexual assault. Consider what would have been lost if her mother had chosen darkness instead of light, had chosen death instead of life?
Here is the problem with the claim that abortion is justified in instances of rape: the one who was conceived in rape is always one who was conceived in rape. When she is two weeks in utero, when she is two years old, when she is twenty, forty, sixty, eighty. There is nothing about progressing in growth and development that changes the fact that this one is one who was conceived in rape. So, if we can justify killing one who is two weeks in utero on the grounds that she was conceived in rape, than we can justify killing one who is twenty years old on the grounds that she was conceived in rape. The reality that she was conceived in rape doesn’t change when she is twenty. It’s just as true at twenty years as it is at two weeks in utero. So, if the justification for killing her on these grounds is there at two weeks in utero, it is still there at twenty. Likewise, if we cannot imagine justifying killing one who is twenty on the grounds that she was conceived in rape, neither can we justify killing one who is two weeks in utero on these grounds.
The dignity of a human being is not contingent on the circumstances of his or her conception.
So, the bottom line on abortion remains: is the one in the womb a human life or not? If so, than that life possesses the dignity inherent to all human persons, a dignity given to him or her by God, and not by the parents or by the state. If the one in the womb is not a human life, than abortion is no more a moral horror than is removing a skin tag. If we don’t know whether the one in the womb is a human life or not, than we are obliged to treat the one in the womb as if he or she were a human life, for we cannot take action against a life if even if we only think it might be a human life. We cannot justify killing on the basis of a maybe.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.