We’re going to wade into the murky waters of religion and politics today in search of reason and logic.
We’ve had some time to mentally chew on Representative Tila Hubrecht’s thought in the waning days of the legislative session that a pregnancy resulting from a rape is a “silver lining” from God. All kinds of liberal thinkers and organizations have jumped all over her assertion made during House debate on the bill saying a woman’s egg is a person just a soon as a man’s sperm hits it even if the circumstances leading to the presence of the sperm are violent. The bill passed the House but didn’t have enough time to cause trouble in the Senate before adjournment.
The personhood bill did not contain the usual exemptions that allow abortions in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the woman. “It’s not up to us to say, ‘No, just because there was a rape, they cannot exist,’” Rep. Hubrecht said, the “they” referring to a person created by the sperm and egg. “Sometimes bad things happen—and they’re horrible things, but sometimes God can give us a silver lining through the birth of a child.” And she added, “When God gives life, he does so because there’s a reason, no matter what. I’ve met and talked with the different people who have been conceived by rape. There is a reason for their life.” We were not there when she said those things so we don’t know if she gave examples of the reasons for those lives.
She apparently is not alone in her feelings in the Missouri legislature and elsewhere. The Charleston Gazette in West Virginia reported about the same time that Delegate (that’s what they call Representatives in West Virginia) Brian Kurcaba said during a committee hearing, “Obviously rape is awful. What is beautiful is the child that could come from this.”
In Indiana, U. S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said in 2012, “I think that even when life begins in the horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.” Mourdock lost his race.
All three of these folks might be surprised to consider what they are really saying. If God intended pregnancy to occur, GOD IS INVOLVED IN FAMILY PLANNING! And we pretty well know what these folks think of organizations and individuals offering family planning advice.
Of course, all of this discussion is pointless because Congressman Todd Akin assured us during his Senate bid four years ago that a woman’s body can “shut the whole thing down” in cases of “legitimate rape.” He argued, as Rep. Hubrecht has argued, that the punishment should be of the rapist, not of the fetus. The Akin theory, however, seems to indicate pregnancy can only occur during illegitimate rape, whatever that is.
Not long after Hubrecht’s comments, Octavio Chorino and Peter Greenspan offered an op-ed piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch agreeing with Hubrecht and the others that “violence against women is unacceptable.” But they found the “notion that good may come of such a violation to be dangerous at best…and any suggestion that there is a bright side to sexual violence is an offense to all survivors.”
They noted other consequences of rape including transmission of sexually transmitted diseases as well as extensive physical and psychological injuries that can affect a woman for the rest of her life. “These consequences are very real and they should not be diminished by the claim that any rape has a silver lining,” they wrote. Unlike Hubrecht, Kurcaba, Mourdock, and Akin, these professionals have had real-world experience with rape and incest victims. “Exposing sexual assault victims to the risks inherent in pregnancy and childbirth is effectively punishing her for her own assault. This is unacceptable,” they said.
Chorino is the president of the Missouri Section Advisory Committee of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Greenspan, also a doctor, is the group’s legislative chair. But what do they know? They didn’t even address the issue of God’s will and Rep. Hubrecht’s inclusion of that issue takes the debate beyond the practical issues on which Chorino and Greenspan based their article.
Their experiences and their observations are not likely to concern the “silver lining” believers anyway. We have seen no indication that those who want Missouri to have the strongest anti-abortion standards in the nation care much about the second life involved—that of the rape or incest victim. They certainly didn’t show it during debate on the personhood bill in this election session of the legislature.
The comments, “When God gives life, he does so because there’s a reason, no matter what” and “sometimes God can give us a silver lining through the birth of a child” began to percolate in our head on a recent trip. You know how the mind sometimes looks for something to wonder about other than the many miles yet to go. In this case the mind decided to test the validity of an idea by taking it on a logical line and then asked a simple question:
“If God has a reason for causing a pregnancy through a man’s sexual act with an unwilling woman because ‘when God gives life there’s a reason no matter what,’ why should the man face a criminal charge for what logically is an act of God?”
Then the mind went on. “When does God decide a pregnancy should result from the rape or incest? While the act is in progress? Or does God decide immediately after the event that this is an opportunity to create a life? Or—-
“If God has a reason for a rape or incest-caused pregnancy, does it not follow that God had a reason for the rape or incest?
“If God gives life, and does so because there’s a reason, no matter what, what is that reason? Is it punishment for something the woman or the young girl did that was wrong in God’s eyes? Or, conversely, is it some kind of reward for doing something good such as allowing oneself to be a rape or incest victim, or is it a reward for the rapist or the person committing the incest?
“How can a God-blessed result occur except through a God-inspired act?”
The driver, not being a Biblical scholar, could not cite any examples from the Bible of a God-inspired result that did not begin with a God-inspired or directed act so he did not reply.
“But,” said the mind, “Don’t supporters of the position need to provide a definitive logical answer that does not limit an omnipotent God? If God has the power to create physical life, does not God have to ordain the circumstances under which that life is physically created?
“And doesn’t God have to ordain the circumstances under which the life is physically created because the life would not be created without that violent act?
“And if that is the case, isn’t the argument severely weakened that the perpetrator of the act should be punished rather than the life created being ‘punished’ because, as she said, ‘There is a reason for their life?’ Are not the perpetrator and the new life equal partners in this process and therefore equally blameless?
“In a climate that argues that religious freedom needs more protection, how can it be logically argued that an act, even a violent one, that is motivated by God’s decision to begin a new life no matter what should not be recognized as a religious act, not a criminal act?
“Is rape or incest that creates a life, for which God has a reason no matter what, therefore an act of God?
“And further, should not the woman logically forgive her rapist or her incestuous relative because her STD and her physical and psychological injuries were necessary to create the pregnancy God had a reason to create under these circumstances no matter what?”
And the driver finally responded to his mind out loud, “Your arguments are interesting. But they are flawed because you use the word, ‘logically.’ And logic seems to be the farthest thing from the thinking of those who support the ‘silver lining’ concept.”
And the driver tuned the radio to the old-time radio channel that was re-broadcasting a 1951 Jack Benny show and both of them drove on.