Over the course of human history every great war has been won as a result of many small victories. Every small victory came at a cost, and none were possible without the final victory in mind. The moral and ethical dilemmas for those of us in the pro-life community are the carve-outs for rape and incest in most legislation designed to restrict abortion. While we want to save them all, the reality in today’s political environment is that exceptions for rape and incest, the 1%, will necessarily be included in most bills that place restrictions on abortion for them to have any chance of passage. So, does the pro-life community place its support behind these bills or stand on principle with an all or nothing approach. I see the all or nothing approach as a lost opportunity to save lives while holding out for an end to abortion that won’t come all at once. What have we gained if we stand on principle and millions of children continue to be killed? This is where I may be at odds with many in the movement. The reality is that every victory for our side, whatever the exceptions, will save innocent children.
I realize that by taking this position some may call me pro-life light or even pro-choice; I disagree. I’m committed to ending abortion in America and the world, but I’m also practical. I see the appropriate course of action as accepting the small victories for what they are while we continue to fight for all the world’s unborn children. We’re in a fight with an abortion industry and political organizations with virtually unlimited funds at their disposal as well as the support of most in the left-leaning media. The other side has too much at stake and too big a public platform to just go away without putting up a fight. Winning the fight for life will not be attained in one fell swoop but by continuous and unrelenting effort by all of us. Even if it requires our support for bills restricting abortion on the state and federal level that don’t go far enough, and even if these bills contain exceptions, I see each of these bills moving us closer to a world without abortion. With every small victory the focus is narrowed on the remaining unborn children that we continue to fight for. As the focus narrows, the pressure increases on those who try to justify the unjustifiable, and the glare of increasing public scrutiny will lead to their eventual undoing.
Even though children conceived of rape and incest represent less than 1% of all abortions performed in America, these children are no less deserving of life than any other child. The task for us in the pro-life community is to convince society that condoning the killing of an innocent child because of a crime its father committed serves no good purpose and does nothing but continue the cycle of violence. Victims of rape and incest need to know that they have choices. While they are often coerced into choosing to have their unborn child killed for the crimes committed by its father, they must also be aware that these choices will more than likely lead to a lifetime of second-guessing: Did I participate in a greater crime than that committed against me? Was I complicit in the killing of an innocent child? Is responding to an act of violence with another act of violence the right thing to do? These victims also need to know that they can accept the child conceived of rape or incest into their family or opt for adoption, secure in the knowledge that a child that was granted life for reasons unknown to man will get its chance to make its unique impression on the world.
Napoleon won many great battles against superior forces by focusing his efforts on one particular point in his opponent’s defenses. We can do the same. The more small victories we achieve, the more we can focus our efforts on the 1% that most legislation excludes. The only perfect solution to abortion is for it to end at this very moment. Since perfect solutions rarely present themselves, we must continue to chip away at the abortion mountain until all that remains is the rubble of the greatest evil ever perpetrated against humanity.