On Thursday, February 21, the University of North Carolina-Wilmington hosted a debate on abortion, which was organized by the College Democrats and College Republicans, among others.
"Christian abortion doctor" and author Willie Parker represented the pro-choice side, while criminology professor Mike Adams, PhD, represented the pro-life side.
The hour and a half-long debate also featured a Q&A in which the two professionals took questions from the crowd. At the 1:19:42 mark, a man asks Adams about the commonly discussed "rape exception" as it pertains to abortion.
The man first spoke about how acorns are not considered trees until they’ve sprouted from the soil, and that’s when "life happens." He added that "with people," he believes the same thing. After the moderator prompted him to actually pose a question, he asked:
If a 12-year-old girl is raped, then are we required to force that 12-year-old girl to give up an adolescence, to deliver a child, and for the rest of her life, to know that child is the result of a rapist? And are we required – to a woman who knows she is going to produce a seriously deformed child – that for the rest of her life, she’s going to have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to care for that child who is not going to have a full and successful life? And finally, I’m always amazed at how we’re so concerned about birthing children, but were not concerned about caring about health care, about food –
The moderator cut the man off, and asked Adams to answer the question.
Professor Adams first talked about why his mind changed on the rape exception, recounting a story involving a female friend who found out that she had been conceived in rape:
You went back to eugenics again, and you asked whether I thought handicap justified ... I do not support eugenics. I believe that the handicap life is worth living no matter how much it costs.
When I became pro-life on the issue of abortion, I believed in a rape exception, and then something quite interesting happened. An adult friend who knew that she was adopted began to investigate the circumstances of her adoption, [and] she found out that she was conceived in rape. And my girlfriend at the time told me about that, and she said to me, "That is the reason why I don't support a rape exception to a ban on abortion," and I said, "Well, I do." And she said, "Are you saying that my friend Laura should be executed for a crime that she did not commit? An innocent human being? When the law will not allow the rapist to be executed? Are you saying that my friend Laura should be executed?" I said, "Well, not now." And she said, "Well, what's the difference between the innocent human being she is now and the innocent human being she was in the womb that would have justified killing her for a crime she didn't commit at that earlier stage of development?" I said, "I can't think of one."
So, I changed my mind. That's not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of honesty.
Adams then rebutted the idea that the pro-life movement only cares about fetuses by drawing a brilliant analogy, and also pointing to what the movement is doing to help women in dire situations:
The third question was an accusation that we are not consistent somehow in the pro-life movement. We're just opposed to abortion, but we are not necessarily comprehensively pro-life. Let me just say what an arrogant thing that is to say.
If you had a friend who was collecting money for the American Cancer Society, and you walked up and attacked that person and said, "You are not comprehensively anti-disease, you are not comprehensively pro-life because you do not also collect money for AIDS research," that's just not a fair criticism. Think about that for just a moment.
Just because we are opposed to the intentional killing of innocent human beings does not mean that we are responsible for curing all of society's ills – but here's what's important, we actually are doing things for women who are facing difficult situations. For example, Lifeline Pregnancy Center here in Wilmington, North Carolina provides resources for poor women, and the pro-life movement has more crisis pregnancy centers than there are abortion clinics in this country.
So stop saying, "You're inconsistent," because the question in this debate is not about the kind of human being I am, but the kind of entity that the unborn is. If I become inconsistent in some way because I disagree with some of your politics, that does not mean the unborn is somehow non-human and lacking in basic rights. That's the fallacy in your argument.
You can watch the clip here:
According to a May 2018 Gallup survey, 29% of Americans believe that abortion should be "legal under any" circumstances, while 50% believe there should be some restrictions, and 18% believe it should be "illegal in all" circumstances.
A staggering 77% of respondents told Gallup that abortion (in the first trimester) should be legal for women whose child was conceived in rape or incest. This is up five percentage points from a 2003 survey. 52% of respondents told Gallup that abortion should also be legal in the third trimester if the child was conceived in rape or incest. This is down seven percentage points from a 2003 survey.