This post by Charmaine Yoest originally appeared at National Review Online.
Lost in the controversy and political fallout over Representative Todd Akin’s comments about a rape exception to abortion is the fact that the most eloquent defenders of the value of every human life are people like my friends Ryan Bomberger and Rebecca Kiessling, both of whom were conceived in rape. Today Ryan and Rebecca are vibrant reminders of the truth that Life has value, no matter its beginnings.
There is no doubt that violence against women is a tragedy and there is real suffering surrounding this issue. There should never be any confusion about that point, particularly in this politically charged environment where the abortion lobby has succeeded in framing their messaging around the so-called War on Women meme.
The stakes are high. The politicization of “women’s health” has almost completely obscured the victimization of women in abortion clinics across the country and the way in which a profit-hungry abortion lobby fights any protections for women. The vast majority of women have abortions without being informed of the real risks they are taking upon themselves. The reality is that abortion-on-demand has hurt women — real women like Tonya Reeves who died recently following an abortion in Planned Parenthood’s Chicago abortion clinic on the elegant Michigan Avenue.
And there’s another problem with the discussion about the rape exception: We aren’t currently having a realistic conversation in this country about limiting abortion for any reason — under the absolutist rule of Roe v. Wade, we cannot. Many people still do not know that the Supreme Court created a right to abortion that makes abortion available for any reason throughout pregnancy, indeed, up to the moment of birth. We are among only four countries in the world with abortion laws that permissive: We stand with China, North Korea, and Canada in having the most radical abortion policies in the world.
One of the many problems with Roe v. Wade is that a few Supreme Court justices decided for us all how abortion would be handled — and then they locked out of public discussion an important conversation about how we should defend life. Americans are increasingly chafing under this decades-old limitation. The last two years of state-legislative sessions saw landmark levels of pro-life legislation passed because Americans are clearly ready to have a national discussion about how we will legally protect and defend life. Central to that conversation will be advancing the truth that to be pro-life is to be pro-woman.