By William Turner
Any time the topic of abortion rights comes up, a key argument is whether anti-abortion campaigners are willing to allow an exemption for rape victims.
Of course, if you’re going to be strict about this whole idea that “life begins at conception,” and that we cannot meaningfully distinguish between the rights of a fetus and the rights of the person the fetus depends on totally for its existence, then the answer must be “No.” No exception to the prohibition of abortion for rape victims.
But even “conservatives” can figure out how horribly insensitive that sounds, and they at least want to pretend like they care about women, so they have to find a way out of this moral dilemma.
Enter everyone’s favorite Christian cop out: rape is God’s will! Note that they always play this two ways. On the one hand, they’re quite certain that they know what God’s will is with respect to rape. On the other hand, a necessary component of this claim is that God’s will is somehow totally mysterious in the sense that we poor, addled humans could never understand the divine moral calculus according to which it could ever be the will of a just and loving God that any woman should ever suffer rape.
So, this logic already has a certain… tension (or: galloping contradiction) built into it.
Of course, if you’re really a serious Christian, and believe in an omnipotent deity, then everything that happens in his creation has to be his will. Logically, it cannot be otherwise. To claim that your God is omnipotent is to say that nothing is beyond his control. Nothing can happen but that God wills it to be so.
What we pretty much never hear in response to the “rape is God’s will” claim in the abortion rights argument is the corollary that is equally necessary from a logical standpoint:
If rape is God’s will because everything is God’s will, then abortion must also be God’s will.
This is logically necessary, but of course, good “conservatives” never want to have to admit that. We’re supposed to believe that everything is God’s will when the topic is rape, but somehow make a special,
unexplained exception to the rule that everything is the will of that omnipotent deity when the topic is abortion. All of which ignores the fact that if an all-powerful being wants a fetus to survive, a woman should be able to get all the abortions she wants – they wouldn’t make a difference to divine will.
This is one of those points that most people apparently never think of – one rarely hears it made in public debates – but is blindingly obvious and irrefutable once you think about it.
So, just to review, Christians apparently believe in the existence of an omnipotent deity. If the deity is omnipotent, then nothing can happen that he does not intend. Therefore, if rape happens, the deity
must have intended it, for reasons that we mere mortals simply cannot comprehend. Also therefore, if abortion happens, the deity must have intended it, for reasons that we mere mortals simply cannot comprehend.
Sauce for the goose, as the old saying goes, sauce for the gander.