I think both sides of the abortion debate are lying and have been lying since the argument first arose. Anyone who wants to forbid abortion “except in cases of rape or incest” is, frankly, full of crap. And here’s why:
If you truly are “pro-life” in that you believe abortion is murder because the unborn child is a full-fledged human being, then you wouldn’t so casually allow the child to be murdered simply based on its parent’s misbehavior.
Most people who are anti-abortion adopt the label “pro-life” based on the shared notion that the zygote/embryo/fetus, no matter what its stage of development, is an undiminished human being with full human rights. And that’s a principled position which I can respect — if you stick to it consistently. But if you start making expedient exceptions, then your dishonesty has been revealed. Because if you really and truly believed that an embryo was a full human being, then you wouldn’t allow it to be murdered simply because its father was a bad man.
Zombie starts his post out by saying that he's not going to make any friends by writing this, and I'm sure that more than a few people won't be able to stomach everything he has to say. However his review of both sides, while harsh, is 100% accurate and something that long needed to be said. At this point I'm going to recommend fully reading the article, which I'll go ahead and link again.
The Pro-Life movement has attatched an asterisk next to their platform.
"A fetus is a life!*"
*: Except in cases of rape or incest.
In terms of political pragmatism, that asterisk makes sense. Abortion isn't particularly popular in this country, but then again neither is the thought of forcing a woman, who was just raped, to carry the child of the man who raped her. However this isn't an argument about what is politically pragmatic. This is an argument about the intellectual, and principled consistency of the Pro-Life movement, and as zombie points out, the people who buy into and promote this pragmatism aren't really Pro-Life so much as they are anti-abortion, or anti-sex. The main concerns of any Pro-Life person are in protecting an innocent Human life, not on what is going to be easiest to sell to the American public. Looking at it from this perspective you inevitably reach the conclusion that there is no valid reason to punish an innocent person for a crime someone else committed, or as zombie puts it "Allowing a rape-and-incest exception to any abortion ban essentially means we are willing to punish the children for the sins of the father."
The argument may not be a winner, but if you truly believe that a fetus is a life, what other conclusion can you reach? When innocent lives are at stake, principle needs to trump pragmatism every time. The Pro-Life movement needs to drop the asterisk.