Friday, September 19, 2008

Protecting the Innocent - Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right

Andrew and I have been watching politics pretty closely lately. Last week, we listened to commentators debate Women's Rights in relation to Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. The debaters were all women discussing the rights women have gained. They pointed out that the major issues women have been fighting for are equal pay for equal work and the right to abort pregnancy. After all this time--fifty years to get equal employment and another fifty to fight for equal pay--women still have not exactly won the battle for equal pay. However, the right to abort pregnancy was won relatively quickly.

(On a side note: I am not one to downplay the accomplishments of women over the last couple of centuries and the struggle it was for them to achieve such.)

One commentator charged that should McCain-Palin win, they would fight to setback one of the great Women's Rights triumphs, and also charged (erroneously) that they would imprison women who had been raped and aborted a resulting pregnancy.

Firstly, I saw the fallacy in this claim right away. Just because a politician claims that abortion is wrong and should not be a protected right does not automatically lead to the claim that lawmakers would imprison those who have an abortion. As a former philosophy student, I was instantly appauled by the fallacy the debater was espousing. It was also appauling to think of a victim of such a heinous crime being imprisoned.

But now I have had some some time to think about it. I had never thought about this issue in terms of whether or not a rape victim should be imprisoned for aborting a resulting a child. That is a good question. After she has already suffered so much, should she face prison? Clearly that is not productive. She is not the one who commited the crime in the first place.

Rape is probably the worst crime to survive. A woman who survives it may never heal and the scars run deep. Now, I hate to say it, but to the rape victim, one of those torments maybe pregnancy. Though it may be difficult to deal with, I believe the only way for the victimized woman to maintain her own innocence is to carry the baby to term. Then it is her choice to give him or her for adoption, or keep the child. That should be our goal, as a society, in such cases, we should work to protect the innocence of the victim. However, whether a woman aborts the child or births it, the scars of her rape are never going to go away. Why destroy an innocent life when those scars will always be present?

The child did not do anything wrong. Why should it be murdered because a crime was commited during its conception? Easy for me to say, right? I never had to deal with being raped and pregnant. That's true. It is easy for me to SAY. But, two wrongs don't make a right.

I do know a woman who was raped, gave birth to twin girls and raised them. She does not care that their was not love in their conception. There is love between her and her daughters. There is love between her daughters and their children. Her daughters are out there being valuable members of society--fighting the good fight, saving lives. My friend, her scars are her own, but she does not consider her daughters a part scars; they were part of the healing.

So, would I imprison a woman who was raped and then aborted a resulting pregnancy? I am not sure how it should be handled. I do know that it is wrong. But, prison hardly seems appropriate; and is costly. I know that extreme duress leads people to do things they would not normally do--temporary insanity. If abortion were not so readily available and it was not a socially acceptable norm, I think there would be more women who would carry the babies to term and give them to adoption, or raise them. The goal of American society has been to rehabilitate criminals. The same should be for rape victims. We need to rehabilitate their lives after rape and all that entails.


Flannery said...

In general, the pro-life position is that the crime is committed by the person exploiting the despair of the other: so the doctor goes to jail and the ex-mother is prayed for. I've only heard pro-choicers approve of punishing the ex-mother, and then largely because they're trying to make the idea of punishing anyone as unpalatable as possible.

Renee Therese (Towler) Clayton said...

Yes, I reiterate that I was appauled to think of a rape victim being imprisoned, but we cannot forget our social responsibility to help rehabilitate her life pregnant or not, abortion or not. It also needs to be addressed socially that abortion is an also an appauling, desperate measure. You're right! to promote the "right to CHOOSE abortion" is the exploitation of every man, woman, and child.