Alabama Abortion Law: Exceptions Are Discriminatory And Should Not Be Done

| May 22, 2019

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you’ve heard about the new abortion law signed by Governor Kay Ivey of Alabama. The law, which was crafted as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, bans nearly all abortions. The only exception is if the mother’s life is at risk. Social media has been a complete dumpster fire since this happened, with people who I didn’t even know had an opinion on abortion posting defenses of the intentional destruction of a child in the womb. Most of these posts complain about the lack of exceptions for rape and incest, as most pro-life bills have. Discounting the fact that these people are using exceptions disingenuously as an excuse to argue for a broad program of legal abortion, the issue of the exceptions themselves has crossed my mind. The more I think about it, the more I oppose exceptions, for reasons that are both moral and intensely personal. I’ve told you all my story. That does not need to be rehashed. What you may not know is that in Poland, where abortion is mostly illegal, disability is an exception, and the vast majority of legal abortions are performed on that grounds. In this country, disability, while not a legal exception, is a moral exception. Many arguments for abortion, and many did in this Alabama case, center around “what if the baby has a disability?” For plainly obvious reasons, this exception would be wrong, and even though it is not one of the general exceptions in pro-life bills, it is wrong for the same reason that these other exceptions are wrong. In the case of rape, why does the fact of how the baby was conceived change their humanity? What is the intrinsic difference between a baby who was conceived in rape, vs. a baby who was conceived in consensual sex? Rape should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, but why should killing the baby be part of “treatment” of rape victims? The baby didn’t actually do anything wrong. An innocent person should not receive capital punishment for a crime that they did not commit. The irony of this, of course, is that rape is not a capital crime. The rapist is not given the death penalty for rape, so why would a non-criminal separate entity be given the death penalty? As for incest, the same argument stands, what’s the difference? If there were a lineup of people, and you had to pick out the one who was conceived in rape or incest, could you? No. It would be impossible. For incest, it may actually be possible due to disabilities associated with incest, but I already discussed that “exception”. A baby conceived in incest is still a person with an inviolable right to life. Talking about the rape and incest exceptions also obscures the point that these make up less than 1% of all abortions, yet people talk about these “hard cases” 100% of the time. It monopolizes the abortion conversation, I think, intentionally to throw it off track. The point goes back to the fundamental question of whether it’s a person or not. If it is not, there is no reason to restrict abortion at all. If it is, these “exceptions” can never be a good enough reason for it. Now, this is not to condemn pro-life bills with these exceptions, or the politicians who pass them. If a bill with these exceptions passes, it still saves way more lives than no bill at all, and these exceptions are often the only way a bill can pass. But rape and incest exceptions should never be our goal, and if they are, we are doing the pro-life movement wrong, because the idea of the pro-life movement is human equality, and setting aside babies who were conceived in rape, incest, or, in some countries, with disabilities, to be acceptable to kill, does not promote human equality.

Sources:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/alabama-abortion-law-governor-kay-ivey-signs-near-total-ban-today-live-updates-2019-05-15/

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/polish-catholics-mobilize-to-protect-disabled-unborn-babies-from-abortion

https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/tables/370305/3711005t3.pdf