My Thoughts on Rapegate: Your diarist was not shocked to hear Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin’s thoughts on rape and conception…. I was not shocked because, though Akin put it more baldly and offensively than most, I heard variations on that theme growing up in pro-life Baptist circles. Folks would ask the rape question. Since there is no good answer, people, like Akin (“From what I understand from doctors…”), would reach for “science” to muddy the waters. That answer is not absurd on its face….
The uproar over Akin’s dumb comments is infuriating to pro-lifers because this is the debate that Planned Parenthood and Nancy Pelosi want to have. Oppose abortion generally — as most Americans now do? Then you’re not against sex-selective abortions, abortions as contraception, abortion as an absolute legal right right up to the moment of full delivery (and, according to some trailblazing theorists, for some time after). No, you’re really an apologist for rapists. You probably want to take away condoms and the pill, too.
Unfortunately, it looks like Todd Akin and Paul Ryan--and many other Republicans who follow bishops--really do want to take away condoms and the pill.
The place where I think Jeremy's logic fails is where he says "there is no good answer". There is a good--or at least a not-terrible--answer from the ensoulment-occurs-at-the-moment-of-fertilization perspective. The rapist is guilty. The child-to-be is innocent. The mother-to-be is imposed upon. The least-bad answer from the ensoulment-occurs-at-the-moment-of-fertilization perspective is to say that this is what the government is for: have the public fisc pay the mother-to-be handsomely to bear and if she wishes raise the child. There won't be that many rape claims--especially in this age of DNA testing--and the cost of the program is a small minus relative to what is, from the ensoulment-occurs-at-the-moment-of-fertilization perspective, a huge plus.
But nobody, literally nobody, who claims to hold to the ensoulment-occurs-at-the-moment-of-fertilization perspective will ever go there…