On the Rape/Incest Exception: An Open Letter to Carly Fiorina, Part 2

Dear Carly Fiorina,

Yesterday, I wrote you the first in a series of three open letters. I talked about an issue over which we disagree—anthropogenic climate change. I mentioned how I believe you to be a woman of incredible intelligence, insight, and precision. You are, in my view, one of only a handful of viable presidential candidates. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you directly why we disagree, and describe to you the substance of those disagreements.

Today, I want to talk about the most important issue to me, which is life. You’ve said multiple times on the campaign trail that every human being is valuable, and that we are all gifted by God. The question I have for you is this: What makes a human being valuable?

You’ve mentioned on many occasions that you are ardently pro-life—that’s not in dispute. On “The View,” you talked about how the DNA in a zygote is the same DNA we have inside us on the day we die. However, when pressed, you’ve also said that you support exceptions for rape and incest.

Speaking with Jake Tapper, you said:

“My position is very clear. It’s been very clear and consistent ever since I ran for the Senate in 2010. Anyone can look it up. Yes, I support exceptions.”

I’m aggressively pro-life (as I’m sure you’ve noticed by now), and for many years, I was also in favor of exceptions for rape and incest. It wasn’t until my sister brought it up a year and a half ago that I began to question my position. I began to ask myself “Why am I in favor of exceptions when I believe life begins at conception? Aren’t they all the same?” That’s the day I changed my mind.

The argument for rape exceptions is that because of the traumatic experience of rape, a woman shouldn’t have to carry a reminder inside of her for nine months. However, I would counter that with two questions. First, will an abortion cause the trauma of such an experience to evaporate? Second, is the child conceived any less valuable because of its father’s crime?

The argument for incest exceptions is usually related to disability. Will the child have a mental or physical disability? I’ve heard many people argue that it’s not right to bring a child into the world knowing they may be disabled. The same logic is already applied to infants prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome. Between 60% and 90% of infants prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.

I now have two further questions: Who are we to decide what constitutes a valuable life? When is a life impaired enough that it loses its intrinsic value as a human being?

Many people with disabilities live fulfilling lives. We’ve all seen inspiring stories of people who persevere through physical disability, disease, and mental impairment. Their endurance and joy is a daily example of who we are at our best.

Rape is a heinous crime, and we should have compassion for those who suffer through it. Incest can bring about great suffering as well. We should be there for those who have been victimized, but we should also be there for the life inside of them. We should be guardians of life, not destroyers of it.

What is the difference between a child conceived through normal circumstances and a child conceived through rape or incest? Nothing. They have intrinsic value regardless of their origin.

I would encourage you to consider what I’ve written. I would also encourage you to watch the following video. It features a woman named Pam, who was conceived through rape. Lastly, I would ask that you visit Savethe1.com, a website dedicated to showcasing women who became pregnant through rape, and their children, whom they decided to keep. Watching the videos and reading the testimonials has shown me that grace, strength, and beauty can come from even the darkest of places.

I hope your mind will be changed by what I’ve written, and by these incredible women.