40 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION FOR UNBORN CITIZENS
QUESTIONS ON "HARD CASES"
RAPE, INCEST, MENTAL ILLNESS, POVERTY, DISABILITY, DANGER TO MOTHER'S LIFE
22There are those who say that the possibility of abortion should be allowed for certain "hard cases" such as in pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. Don't you agree that abortion should be allowed in these exceptional cases for reasons of compassion for the woman?
No. The main reasons are: (1) a wrong cannot be righted by another wrong; (2) no one should be deprived of human life without due process; (3) a fetus, just like any human, must be presumed innocent unless proven guilty. It is quite obvious that the fetus has done no wrong.
Besides, laws that would legalize exceptions would be prejudicial to the common good. As the proverb says: "Hard cases make bad laws."
23What is the danger in allowing "exceptions" in hard cases?
The danger is that any exception made in legislation and in courts of law creates a precedent ó a leak in the dike ó that can turn the exception for a few into the rule for all. This has happened in England, the United States, and other "advanced" countries.
24How frequently can pregnancy result from rape? Are there any statistics available on this?
Cases of pregnancy resulting from rape are extremely rare.
In the United States, rough calculations showed that the chances of conception by rape is 63 over 3.5 million fertile women ó or 0.000018% probability.
In Czechoslovakia, out of 86,000 successive abortions, 22 were claimed to be caused by rape, or 0.0002% probability. (Source: "Handbook on Abortion," by Dr. J.C. Willke, M.D.)
25Why is it difficult to enforce a law that exempts women ó pregnant from rape or incest ó from anti-abortion laws? What is meant by the "difficulty of proving rape"?
Rape is a difficult crime to establish, mainly because of the reluctance of rape victims to report immediately. It is even more difficult to prove that a pregnancy is the result of rape, especially if the woman is married or known to have an active sex life. Allowing abortion for rape or incest, or any other "hard case" for that matter, invites a flood of bogus hard-case abortions.
26What about mental health? What if the mother is mentally ill ó can her baby not be aborted?
The mental illness of a pregnant woman is no valid reason for legal abortion. A mother's mental illness does not necessarily cause the same in the fetus. The problem, therefore, is not the pregnancy, but how the child will be nourished and reared after birth. The solution lies in social services ó the concern of private individuals and of government ó not in abortion.
In countries where abortion has been generally legalized, the plea of insanity has been the convenient excuse most often used by pregnant women in order to procure a legal abortion. In 1970, 98% of abortions in California were performed allegedly for reasons of mental health, while in the same year in New York, only 2% were done for the same reasons. Because of this pronounced disparity, it is not surprising why even pro-abortion doctors decry the arbitrariness of "psychiatric reasons" and the requirement of a psychiatrist's permission for legalized abortion as a "gross sham."
True psychiatric reasons for abortion have become practically non-existent. Modern psychiatric therapy has made it possible to carry a mentally ill woman to term.
It is also worth noting that abortion itself has been found to be a cause of mental disturbance. Instead of being a solution to an unwanted pregnancy, it has even resulted in stress, anxiety, and guilt that normally follows after committing a crime.
27What if it is discovered that the baby is deformed or disabled ó mentally or physically ó would it not be better to spare it from living as a cripple by aborting it?
No. The assumption that handicapped people enjoy life less than "normal" ones has recently been shown to be false. A well-documented investigation has shown that there is no difference between handicapped anti normal persons in their degree of life satisfaction, outlook of what lies immediately ahead, and vulnerability to frustration."Though it may be both common and fashionable to believe that the malformed enjoys life less than normal, this appears to lack both empirical and theoretical support." ó Proceedings, American Psychological Assn. Meeting, 1971Behind this "pre-natal euthanasia" is really a racist philosophy and the pleasure principle. It is logical for the philosophy of pleasure to conclude that persons who cannot enjoy life must not be allowed to live.
This attitude will eventually lead to an obsession with racial purity, no different from the Hitlerian mania for the purity of the Aryan race. Death is never a solution to the problems of life. The human solutions to the disabilities of some lie in the social concern and abilities of the more fortunate. The United Nations declarations concerning the disabled are a testimony to the preferential value that ought to be accorded to them. It is only fair that the rights of the disabled are extended to the very beginnings of human life.
28What if the woman cannot afford to raise another child decently because of poverty ó would it not be better to allow her to kill the baby instead of letting a live a miserable life and adding to the burden of the rest of the family?
To use poverty as a reason for the legalization of abortion would be tantamount to saying that only the rich have a right to life. This is a gross violation of justice.
The problem of the poor woman is that she is poor, not that she is pregnant. We would be escaping from the root causes if we resort to abortion as a solution. We must rather solve the real problem and leave the innocent baby alone! Again the solution lies in social services and equit able distribution of wealth ó concerns of private individuals and of government.
29What if a doctor has to choose between the life of the child and the life of the mother? Would the doctor be guilty of murder if the life of the child is lost?
The doctor is morally obliged to always try to save both lives. However, he can act in favor of one when it is medically impossible to save both ó provided that no direct harm is done to the other.
If these principles are observed, the loss of the child's life is not intentional, and unavoidable. Hence, the doctor would not be guilty of abortion or murder.
30What are the solutions ó the options ó to these "hard cases"?
The most radical solution to these hard cases would be a caring and loving society that would provide services to support both the woman and the child ó physically and psychologically. This is the "pro-life" solution.
The abortion solution, on the other hand, not only kills the fetus, but also kills any care and love that society could have offered the aggrieved mother.