Last week, President Trump actually used Twitter for a legitimately informative reason. In a series of tweets, the president stated his official position on the topic of abortion, an issue that has seemingly taken control of political discourse within the month of May. Out of the series of tweets, the first was the most significant:

What encapsulated my attention — and seemingly many others’ — was Trump’s notion that rape and incest compose a justification for receiving an abortion. Most opponents of abortion agree with the third exception, that abortion is only justified if the mother’s life is in peril and an abortion is necessitated in order to preserve the mother’s life. The former two, however, are contested regularly.

What is perhaps most interesting about the general debate over what composes a justification for receiving an abortion is the underlying presupposition entailed in the discussion. When discoursing with a feverish proponent of abortion, say an Alyssa Milano, there are no upheld preconditions. The pro-choicer believes that abortion is an entirely acceptable moral practice; the pro-lifer believes that abortion is a maleficent, immoral, and utterly terrible act. The blatant juxtaposition between the two belief systems prevents common ground from ever being attained.

When participating in a discussion over what circumstances compose a justification for receiving an abortion, however, the understood conditions are different. Both parties involved presumably agree that abortion in and of itself is a terrible act that involves the termination of innocent human life. Contemplating justification would not be necessary if the subject matter wasn’t inherently wrong.

So to President Trump — and nearly 80% of Americans —, rape and incest justify the faithless act. Again, the presupposition that abortion is a terrible act, in overgeneralized terms, is understood. Thus, the topic in hand can be phrased in the following question: does a past incident of rape or incest — unfathomably terrible acts — justify the murder of innocent human life? The answer to that is clearly in the negative.

No one dares to question that rape is an unbelievably evil act, one that necessitates the cruelest of punishments for its perpetrators. Similarly, no one with the slightest iota of rationality doubts that incest is a disgusting and horrendous activity, one that brings onto its victims everlasting effects.

With that considered, a terribly unfortunate event, despite how impacting it is on a human’s psychological well-being, does not permit that person to terminate the life of another unique and innocent human being. When a rape or incest victim receives an abortion, they translate one victim, themselves, into two victims. The abortion recipient will maintain the effects of their past horrific event; abortion — the termination of innocent life — will not dissipate the ramifications. In fact, the act may even enlarge them.

Trump’s third exception — in which the mother’s life is in total peril and an abortion is absolutely necessary in order to preserve the mother’s life — is widely accepted by pro-lifers. The nuances in this exception, however, is where dispute emerges.

If you can recall back to January, the state of New York enacted the Reproductive Health Act, which enabled abortions to take place up until birth in order “to protect the patient’s life or health.” The problem with this act — and why most pro-lifers oppose it — regards the use of the term “health.” The term, used in the law, is never defined or described. Does the term refer to conditions that could impact a mother’s mental well-being, such as anxiety or stress? Or does it refer to a mother’s physical well-being, which may not be life-threatening? The fact that the text posits an “or” in between the terms “life” and “health” indicates that there is a distinguishable difference between the two.

It’s very troubling when a law does not define its own terms; the term “health” could be semantically stretched to mean a plethora of things under various interpretations. Most opponents of abortion agree with the notion that the practice is justified if the mother’s life is in unconditional peril; however, even this is problematic, as uncertainty then arises as to what level of certainty of the perilously of the mother’s life is needed to justify the termination of another life. The question is philosophical in nature and may never be resolved entirely.

Abortion advocates find immense pleasure in using emotional appeal to support their illogical arguments. They will frequently point to the abortion cases involving rape and incest victims, despite only 1% of abortion recipients obtaining an abortion because of rape and 0.5% of recipients due to incest, according to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute. (These are generous numbers, some estimates calculate the total share to be even less.)

Their strategy is quite cunning, actually: point out the 1% of abortions that occur in an effort to justify the remaining 99% of abortions. If you don’t pay close attention to their strategy, it usually works — emotion is the bitter enemy of logical reasoning. They’ll never tell a story that features someone who receives an abortion simply because of the financial burden a new child entails, despite that being the rationale for 73% of women who obtain an abortion. It doesn’t have the same appeal to it, due to it lacking entirely in emotion and relying instead on quantitative statistics.

Common ground can be reached with someone if a universal presupposition is held and understood. This precondition — that abortion entails the murder of innocent human life — must be shared, or the discussion will sink into oblivion. A discussion must have a common purpose and goal; one with a lack of a guiding purpose accomplishes nothing.

So President Trump, I ask you to reconsider your position on abortion. Can you accurately call yourself pro-life if you believe a certain, horrendous event — such as rape and incest — can trump the value of innocent human life and justify the termination of it? Is the value of innocent life relative to the extent that one event, despite how terrible it is, can induce it invaluable enough that it can be destroyed, wiping it from the plane of the material world?

Daniel Schmidt is a 15-year-old political commentator and opinion writer. In his freshman year of high school, he founded The Young Pundit, with the goal of establishing a hard-hitting conservative commentary outlet featuring youthful, incisive, and unbought voices. To read more about Daniel, click here.

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