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GOP Goes in Search of Just the Right Word When It Comes To Talking About Rape Pregnancies

Robin Marty

Maybe their best bet would be to just stop trying to justify themselves.

What do you call pregnancies caused by sexual assault when you want to convince people that asking woman to carry to term isn’t really that awful? Apparently, anything but “rape.”

Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan is bending over backwards to justify his view that all pregnant women and girls should be forced to give birth, regardless of the circumstances, by avoiding that negative “rape” word and find a more neutral spin.

“I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea that, the position that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life,” Ryan explained. “But let’s remember, I’m joining the Romney-Ryan ticket. And the president makes policy.”

“And the president, in this case the future President Mitt Romney, has exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, which is a vast improvement of where we are right now.”

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Was there a memo that went out?  The roundtable in the National Review Online also prefers to use that whole “circumstances of conception” talking point.

We don’t discriminate based on parentage — that’s not equality. You are valuable no matter who your parents are, no matter the circumstances of your conception.

Being “pro-life” means that you believe a unique, whole, living human person is created at the moment of fertilization. That’s why abortion, regardless of the tragic circumstances of conception, is always wrong; it is the deliberate killing of an innocent pre-born human being.

If all innocent human life is precious and deserves legal protection, then that should include all unborn children. Furthermore, since no one has any control over the circumstances surrounding his conception, it is unfair for the child to suffer for the sins of his father. Furthermore, an abortion does not undo the rape. It ends the life of an innocent unborn child.

Sound a little rote?  Maybe because that is the “how to answer questions about rape exceptions” talking point for activists.  Take Students for Life:

While a majority of pregnancies are the result of consensual sex, rape-based pregnancies present a unique dilemma. If a woman did not choose to engage in sex in the first place, why should she have to carry to term a child that was the result of her forced union?

First consider why you are against most abortions. Is it because an abortion takes the life of an innocent baby? If so, do the circumstances of a child’s conception change the fact that he or she is a living preborn person?

Then there is our favorite media training manual from the National Right to Life Committee, which reads:

So what is the pro‐life speaker’s job? It is to address those
fears sympathetically, rationally, and factually. Taken
separately there are solid reasons why abortion should not be
resorted to in these cases. Taken collectively this small minority
of cases proves the adage that hard cases make bad law.
Certain realities need to be restated in any response. Once
again it is vital to remind the audience that the circumstances of
the baby’s conception change nothing about the baby herself or
abortion’s inherent brutality. The baby’s development is no
different. The methods used to end that life remain just as

If the woman does become pregnant, a rare but possible
occurrence, she may be made to feel twice as tainted when
society is not prepared to cope with the circumstances of this
child’s conception. Counselors and abortion providers
encourage abortion as the perfect “solution.”

Everyone is right on track with their media points.  Then again, it was probably adhering to the National Right to Life media point that “pregnancy is extremely rare from rape” that got the GOP in hot water in the first place. Especially in Kansas, where they really do believe rape victims don’t ovulate.

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Reproductive rights are a public health issue. That's a fact.

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