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I’ve never had much interest in arguing over the metaphysics of abortion. Either you believe that a fetus is a human life that deserves legal protection, or you don’t. It’s not the kind of thing amenable to reason or evidence.

But I confess that I’m curious about the whole rape/incest issue. Donald Trump, like many Republicans, has responded to Alabama’s absolute ban on abortion by saying he thinks it goes too far. He supports exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.

But my understanding is that anti-abortion activism among Protestants is, today, based on the Catholic conception of the fetus as a full and complete human life from the moment of conception. If that’s true, how can you make exceptions for rape and incest? This has never made any sense.

I get that it’s politically useful, since even a lot of people who oppose abortion are queasy about forcing a victim of rape or incest to bear a child. But is there a more substantive defense of this position? What is it?

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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