North Carolina, Nebraska, and South Carolina have recently made headlines with the passage of abortion restrictions.
The most dramatic was North Carolina’s 12 week abortion ban where a supermajority of the legislature was required to override pro-abortion Governor Roy Cooper’s veto.
While these legislative efforts have garnered support from most pro-lifers, it is essential to critically examine their limitations. Notably, all of these measures fail to address the protection of children conceived in cases of rape and do not extend protection to unborn children from the moment of conception. This nuanced perspective highlights the need for the pro-life movement to continue to push for equal protection of the preborn child’s right to life, and to focus with renewed energy on the hard cases of vulnerable children conceived in rape or incest and those with prenatal disabilities.
Absence of Protection for Children Conceived in Rape
One crucial aspect to all of these bills is the absence of protection for children conceived in cases of rape. President Trump has been very public in his insistence that children conceived in rape and incest be stripped of the right to life in any “pro-life” legislation that he will consider, and most Republicans have followed suit.
Fundamentally, however, the defense of the sanctity of life is based on the paramount principle that all innocent life is sacred, that is why it is essential to ensure that the unique circumstances surrounding pregnancies resulting from sexual assault are thoughtfully considered. Advocates for principled pro-life legislation acknowledge the need for compassionate provisions that offer support and alternatives for these vulnerable individuals, but those can never include the intentional killing of an innocent unborn child.
Limited Protection from the Moment of Conception
Another factor that should concern principled pro-lifers is the absence of legislative proposals that protect unborn children from the moment of conception.
While these new legislative measures place some restrictions on abortion based on gestational age, they do not explicitly recognize the inherent dignity and right to life of every human being from the point of conception. The absence of such provisions will inevitably weaken the principle that the right to life begins at conception, and may give room for a relativistic logic that inevitably ends up dehumanizing the most vulnerable.