All crimes have lasting effects on their victims, with some effects lasting longer than others.
Take, for example, the effect of violence. A violent act could leave a person temporarily damaged (such as in the cases of bruising or broken bones), permanently damaged (such as in the case of paralysis) or—in extreme cases—death.
The rape of a woman is an especially heinous act. It carries with it the likely possibilities of lifelong emotional damage, lifelong physical damage (if a deadly STD is transmitted) and—if the woman becomes pregnant—9 months of physical discomfort that she did not ask for.
But to say that in the cases of rape she has the “right” to abort the unborn child is to mistakenly assume that doing so—in an effort to subtract 9 months of physical discomfort from her already laden list of crosses to bear—will help her to more quickly heal by killing the unwanted child immediately.
While the effort to alleviate any suffering of the woman is indeed noble, this train of thought neglects many things. First, it assumes that 9 months of pregnancy is an ever-painful experience – when it is in fact quite a natural one.
Second, it falsely assumes that to remove 9 months of pregnancy would alleviate the worries in the woman’s mind and completely disregards the well-documented probability of great depression which enters a woman’s psyche after an abortion.
In this case, a 9-month pregnancy is a 9-month long cross to bear. But, after 9 months, the adoption of the child and the gradual shrinking of her body, the woman is—to an extent—more free to move on with her life (while indeed she will still bear the wounds of having experienced rape).
While the emotional and mental wounds of the rape will be with her for the rest of her life, at least the guilt of aborting a child will not also plague her.
If we believe that life begins at conception, we must believe that all life is good, no matter under what circumstances that life is brought about.
To be consistent, we must eventually cease our condemnation of pregnant teens and finally say, “While engaging in sex was sinful, now we have a duty to celebrate the new life that God has graced us with.” Truly, good things can spring forth at ANY time, even when a situation seems clouded in sadness. That is part of God's majesty.
Women should have rights to their bodies, yes, but by their very nature, women are also capable of BEING with another human being WITHIN them. This one-in-the-other nature of woman makes her particularly unique and thus very complex, especially when humanitarian rights are concerned. Co-existing are two unique human beings, both which deserve dignity, respect, and life.
I do not know why God gave the grace of growing new life within one’s body to the woman only and not the man, but with this amazing ability comes an amazing responsibility.
To the women out there who are carrying a child in the most unfortunate of circumstances, you have my utmost respect! I will never pity you and will never tell you to kill your own child for the apparent short-term convenience (with the trade-off of long-term depression), but instead I will honor you for your courage, determination, and sacrifice. Your sacrifice will be even more great and even more worthy of praise if you carry the child of man who did not respect you. You shall have my respect a thousandfold because of your great fortitude!!!
Please, as your fellow citizen, make me responsible for helping you if you need any sort of assistance. Give me the opportunity to put my words and beliefs into ACTION. Do not permit me to speak against these moral turpitudes without likewise having me put my money where my mouth is. If I tell you not to neglect your baby but then I neglect to help you, God will hold me responsible!
We must change our perspective as a culture. We must give dignity to all pregnant women, no matter what their place in society or phase of life. We must work together to make pregnancy the most dignified time of a woman's life! Make it sweeter than her 16th birthday; make it more exciting than prom or her wedding day! Do this especially because some of these courageous woman may have never experienced any of those good times.
If we are consistent in showing these women respect and giving them help, it will be easier for them to respect their own bodies and their babies. Sometimes God calls us to great things, and I believe the unwed, unexpectedly pregnant woman has a vocation of courage that must be resoundingly supported.
It DOES take a village, and WE are the ones that must do it!