Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

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?

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate