Rape, Abortion, and The Power of the Gospel

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t really keep up with politics all that much, but a few things I’ve seen lately have just bothered me. Primarily, the latest fiasco concerning the rape and abortion comments made by Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock.

Before I get started, I would like to point out that Joe Carter does an excellent job explaining and clarifying the intent behind Mourdock’s words on The Gospel Coalition’s blog, and it’s worth reading. As such, I won’t address his words directly, but rather some overarching principles I feel have been gravely misunderstood.

To be honest, the catalyst behind this post was a blog written by John Scalzi in the form of a Fan Letter to Certain Conservative Politicians, which I came across via Facebook. As a warning, this letter is very sarcastic in tone, so much so that I couldn’t even finish reading it. In an attempt to mock conservative politicians, this post comes across as disrespectful to both conservatives as well as rape victims. I say this because of his “trigger” statement, which does not come across with compassion, but rather sarcasm, regardless of his intent, when he says “WARNING: this post is going to be oh-so-very-triggery for victims of rape and sexual assault. I am not kidding. (emphasis mine)” He also makes light of the very real desire rapists have to control women, and thanks the conservative politicians for allowing the rapists to further control women by their desire to not allow rape victims to have abortions.

Ok, I know this is incredibly sensitive for almost anyone who reads it. I am going to do my absolute best to handle this with care, but I can’t stay silent about this, because it isn’t just politics. This isn’t a political issue at its core, it is a gospel issue.

First, at no point have I ever heard any conservative condone rape. Even Todd Akin and his “legitimate rape” comment clarifies and apologizes for his poor choice of words. Everyone of sound mind agrees that rape is wrong, conservative or liberal. Those same people also agree that trying to control anyone by means of sexual assult is equally wrong. There’s no debate here.

Second, because both sides of the fence agree that rape and other forms of sexual assult is undeniably wrong, there comes a disagreement of how to handle pregnancy resulting from rape. The key thing here should NOT be an issue of rights. It SHOULD be an issue of compassion. Many people, and not only liberals, view the most compassionate option is to let rape victims have an abortion, so they can escape the further control and haunting of their rapist. This sounds nice at the surface, but this cannot be the view of a Christian.

The issue for the Christian, as with anything else, is the gospel. We adamantly confess that life begins at conception, so to allow abortion in even the worst of cases is to condone murder1. Now, it’s easy to point fingers at Christians and call us graceless for not budging on this, but think it through further. Imagine that your daughter, sister, mother, best friend had an abortion, on top of being raped. Now, not only do they feel the guilt and shame that comes with being so blatantly and tragically violated, but they also have the weight of murdering their own child. Many women who have had abortions experience serious psychiatric complications. Suicide rates among women are approximately 6-7 times higher after an abortion, and “65% [of women who have had abortions] report symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder they attribute to their abortions.” When we realize that’s what’s going on, even if our minds would deny what our hearts attest, it is, in fact, very gracious to stand against abortion.

Another issue, and perhaps a deeper issue, is what condoning abortion suggests in light of the gospel. Not only is it murder, but it also says that the only way to escape further torment, the only way to avoid further control by the rapist is to kill your own child. Now, I know many would not phrase it this way, to avoid provoking such strong emotions, but sometimes those emotions need to be tugged so we feel the weight of such a decision BEFORE it’s enacted. More than that, what does this say of the power of the gospel? Surely, the same gospel that breathes life into us when we were dead (Eph. 2), the same gospel that forgives us of our sins, the same power that rose Jesus from the dead…surely this same gospel has the power to heal even the deepest of wounds.

We know it has that power. We proclaim it from the pulpit every week, and we proclaim it in our community groups and recovery groups throughout the week, to those who have survived even the worst of circumstances. Physical abuse, abandonment, sexual abuse, divorce, adultery. We preach every day that the gospel is the ONLY thing that has the power to heal wounds of this depth, and to remove pain of this magnitude. That is why taking a stance against abortion is so fundamental, because to do otherwise says that the gospel just isn’t powerful enough to save and heal us from the very worst of predicaments.

This is important. If you are a victim of sexual assault or have had an abortion: God loves you. I can’t explain why God would allow something so tragic to happen to anyone, but God loves you. Right now, we live in a world that is fractured and broken by sin. We live in a world in which terrible things happen, but the power and promise of the gospel is that there is both hope and healing for those who look to Jesus right now, in this life, as well as the promise of the future life with Christ for eternity in the next life. A life where sin and death have been defeated, and the light and glory of God will shine throughout creation.

There is hope. There is healing. There is grace. And there is forgiveness in the name of Jesus.

1I realize that there are medical cases where some would consider abortion an option if the mother and/or the child were going to die if the pregnancy was brought to full term. The purpose of this blog is not to address those cases, as I do not have the medical knowledge necessary to address them adequately. I believe the primary goal of any physician in such a case is to save lives, and that the ethical and moral dilemmas of such cases are beyond overwhelming.
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