On Saturday, President Trump sent out three tweets regarding abortion. In these tweets, he implored conservatives and Republicans to stay united rather than divided over the issue of exceptions for "rape [and] incest."
As most people know, and for those who would like to know, I am strongly pro-life, with the three exceptions – rape, incest and protecting the life of the mother – the same position taken by Ronald Reagan. We have come very far in the last two years with 105 wonderful new Federal Judges (many more to come), two great new Supreme Court Justices, the Mexico City Policy, and a whole new and positive attitude about the right to life. The radical Left, with late-term abortion (and worse), is imploding on this issue. We must stick together and win for life in 2020. If we are foolish and do not stay UNITED as one, all of our hard fought gains for life can, and will, rapidly disappear!
As of publication, the president’s tweets have more than a quarter of a million "likes," and have been retweeted nearly 36,000 times.
Shortly after the tweets went up, Live Action, an anti-abortion organization founded by Lila Rose, replied:
Hi, Mr. President, please see this powerful testimony from Jennifer Christie, who was raped on a business trip & then discovered she was pregnant. Rape or incest are horrible situations, and abusers need to be held fully to the law — but abortion is not the path to healing.
Abra Singleton, the Southwest Regional Director for the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR), another anti-abortion organization, also replied to the president: "Either abortion ends the life of an innocent human, or it doesn't. What you're saying is that certain preborn humans are not worthy of life. Humans conceived in rape/incest are still humans."
The argument being made by Singleton and Live Action is a straightforward one — a fetus has the same intrinsic value regardless of its origin.
If it’s morally unacceptable to abort a fetus conceived by choice or by accident, then the termination of a fetus conceived in rape or incest is equally objectionable as there is no difference among the four. The circumstances surrounding the conception may be different, but those circumstances do not impact the innate humanity of the fetus itself.
They argue that to claim the mantle of "pro-life" while believing in exceptions for rape and incest is intellectually inconsistent and dishonest.
Americans are as divided as they ever have been on the issue of abortion. 48% of Americans identify as "pro-life," while 48% identify as "pro-choice," according to a May 2018 Gallup survey.
In the same survey, 29% of respondents said that abortion should be "legal under any" circumstances, 18% said it should "illegal in all" circumstances, and 50% said it should be "legal only under certain" circumstances.
While there is an approximately equal number of individuals identifying as pro-life and pro-choice, the only trimester in which a majority (60%) of respondents said abortion should be legal is the first. Just 28% believe that it should be legal in the second trimester, and only 13% believe that it should be legal in the third trimester, according to Gallup.
[Full disclosure: CBR’s Abra Singleton is my sister.]