Idaho Dispatch

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Op-Ed: Some Unborn Need Love More Than Politics

By • August 27, 2022

The new term “murder by abortion,” featured in the platform of the Idaho Republican Party, is a radical departure from the consensus that has developed over the last forty years in our state. Idaho abortion laws have historically made exemptions for cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother.

These exemptions have been based on religious consensus, medical ethics, and the practical realities needed for the pre-born to remain healthy both prior to birth and afterwards. Some have said the new GOP platform is extremely pro-life, but in reality, it is anti-science and potentially harmful to unborn children.

First, the GOP Platform emerging from the Twin Falls convention is medically inaccurate as it seems to confuse fertilization with conception. In a medical sense, fertilization occurs when sperm meets egg, whereas conception is understood to occur when the fertilized egg implants itself in the lining of the uterus and thus becomes directly connected to the mother. Conception is thus regarded as the onset of pregnancy. Unfortunately, the new platform appears to use these terms interchangeably when they are actually separate and distinct.

In some cases (one or two percent), a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterine lining. This misplaced implantation is termed an ectopic pregnancy. It is life-threatening to the mother, and incompatible with fetal life as well. From a medical perspective, ectopic pregnancies should be terminated quickly to save the life of the mother.

It would be unimaginable for a physician to ignore an ectopic pregnancy. The new GOP platform suggests medical treatment of an ectopic pregnancy might be considered “justifiable murder”, but this inflammatory language is both inaccurate and unnecessary. Furthermore, it seems to ignore proper treatment of the mother, something vital if she plans to conceive and carry a healthy child in the future. Discarding best medical practices puts future children at risk, as well as creating immediate life-threatening harms for mothers whose pregnancies have failed to develop normally.

Second, immediate activation of law enforcement against the victims in cases of rape and incest is also potentially problematic. Where conception has occurred without the willful consent of the mother, there may be severe emotional and physical trauma that will have profound negative effects on pregnancy itself, the health and development of the unborn baby, to say nothing of the challenges to bonding between parent and child, and the mother’s own well-being.

For these complicated reasons, the consensus that developed among Idaho Republicans in the past was to allow family, close friends, counselors, and spiritual advisors to help a pregnant woman decide how to manage a pregnancy that resulted from a violent crime against her. Simply passing a law, in and of itself, will not create an attitude that values life. The purpose of laws is to prevent wrongdoing by prescribing known consequences and punishments. An “anti-abortion” law that targets the pregnant victim completely misses the “wrongdoer.”

What rape and incest victims need in cases of pregnancy is an overwhelming outpouring of love, compassion, and support. This is the best way to increase the probability their babies will do well over the long term. After all, if “passing a law” provided perfect answers, there would be no victims of crimes such as rape and incest in the first place.

Idaho’s historic consensus for rape and incest victims asks politicians and lawmakers to step back and allow the possibility of counsel and compassion from higher powers and trusted voices. This will be even more essential if the Biden Administration follows through with their commitment to keep nationwide access to “day-after” pills available by mail.

Valuing “life”, in this case, means accepting that where politics fail, love still works, and that the complexities of life are better served through deeply held principles rather than simplistic “solutions” imposed by a manipulative minority.

Trent Clark of Soda Springs chairs Idaho Families, Inc., and prepared this column in consultation with religious leaders and medical professionals in his community.

This Op-Ed was submitted by Trent Clark. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.


Tags: Abortion, Idaho GOP, Platform, Pro-Life, Trent Clark

7 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Some Unborn Need Love More Than Politics

  1. While I agree that there is a difference between an ectopic pregnancy and a normal pregnancy and that this should be differentiated, it should also be recognized that these occur in only 12.3 per 1000 births (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6983328/) or about .1%. These are the exception, not the rule.

    I do have to disagree with the author, however, regarding rape/incest. How does killing a child benefit anyone in such a circumstance? Yes, the victim absolutely should be loved and the offender prosecuted, but that gives no moral license to compound the evil. I would suggest that the author explain just exactly how aborting a baby “fixes” the situation, as he alludes.

    1. It all goes back to the life of the mother. Everyone agrees on that. PTSD is real and can result, fairly frequently, in suicide. The exception is more than fair and not mandatory.

    2. You miss the point. Pregnant without her consent, mothers are free to (1) make poor nutritional choices, (2) ingest pennyroyal, parsley or oregano, or (3) attempt a day-after pill beyond the five days of guaranteed efficacy. Each option may terminate the pregnancy. Unfortunately, if all choices but one are outlawed, most codes of conduct for counselors prohibit engaging with the young mother . . . one legal choice leaves no room for “counseling.” A law reflecting that, in cases of rape and incest, Planned Parenthood isn’t the biggest threat, the mother/victim’s attitude must also be addressed, doesn’t make the “law” weak. In fact, its more realistic approach is a strength that will ultimately save more babies.

  2. The Idaho law on rape exceptions is sane. Take this one step further and make violent, reported, rape a mandatory capitol offense. Then maybe it will at least be severely curtailed if not eliminates.

  3. Trent’s article inserts incontrovertible logic and compassion into the abortion debate. Why punish the fetus, the mother, and her family for the violent and evil acts of rape and incest by bringing the unfortunate conception into the world, to suffer even more, and the mother being reminded each day of the brutality she was subjected to? All children deserve to be wanted and loved, ideally the products of a loving union between a man and a woman. For the record, I do not identify as being a Democrat or a RINO. I voted for Trump twice and I believe DeSantis is the best governor in America. I firmly support Constitutionally-protected freedoms.

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