Todd Akin's idiotic comments on abortion in cases of rape, are publishing stories in order to justify its stance on abortion. However, note that the stance taken is not just to support abortion in the case of rape, but abortion on demand for any reason. For all the hoopla, this has actually opened a useful debate. The thing is to not fall into the trap of making the issue about the plight of raped women but to look at the larger picture.
I read a story a couple of years ago about the clinic where I pray, and a worker was quoted as saying that all the women they "help" in their clinic are rape cases. Now from seeing the number of women who go in and out, I can tell you that they see about 100+ women a week. Are they seriously claiming that there are 100 cases of rape a week in that town?
But it's even worse! Using the highest estimates I could find, only 6.4% of women raped get pregnant. Using that estimate, there must be 1563 cases of rape every week in that town alone. If we multiply by the number of clinics (doing a quick search for places that perform abortions) I estimate over 84,000 cases of rape per week, or almost 4.5 million rapes per year. That means the entire state of NJ is raped every year.
Of course, that's not true, just as the number of deaths claimed form "back alley" abortions were not true. In fact most women who have abortions are there because they simply don't want to be pregnant.
This whole public debate on abortion is one facet of a larger issue, and I think one that exposes a difference in world view between the two sides of the debate. There are certainly those who are uninformed about what abortion is. With all the misinformation out there it's no wonder. And the women who talk to us at the clinic have no idea going in what's actually going on. But there are those who do know what abortion is. And I find it troubling that those people would use rape as a justification of abortion.
The whole issue is when someone breaks a law, should they be punished or should someone else (e.g. "society") be punished? Should we try to prevent the criminal from breaking the law, or should we try to prevent non-criminals from breaking the law? I think this is a world view issue, because it seems that people who hold this position on abortion and rape, who are not just parroting the media but who legitimately and honestly have come to that intellectual conclusion, have positions on other issues that derive from the same principle.
For instance, I see many of the same people who would support abortion for rape (e.g. take a child's right to life because of a criminal act) would support gun bans to stop murders (e.g. take a citizen's right to bear arms because of a criminal act). They support unconstitutional, unreasonable searches to stop terrorist acts. They support taking away property rights to stop poverty. Of course, not everybody who supports one of these supports them all, but there is a surprising tendency to see things through the same lens, enough to have earned labels like "left' and "right".
I think we should take this debate to its base level, and the issue is fundamentally one of culpability. Are people responsible for their own actions, or are they merely shaped by the forces of society? Do we uphold the law and punish criminals, or do we alter the law to treat everyone as criminals, hoping to punish the criminals along with everybody else?