Last week, President Trump — diverging from his usual spiel regarding the Deep State — posted a series of unconventional tweets, detailing his official position on the contested topic of abortion, an issue that has seemingly taken control of political discussion within the month of May. These tweets, unlike the majority of his, were legitimately informative, shining a light on views he rarely discusses. 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 somehow compose a justification and an exception 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 debate over what composes an exception 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 discoursing presumably agree that abortion in 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, otherwise, there would be no need for justification. What’s debated, therefore, is what balances out the evil act, not whether the act of abortion is in fact inherently wrong. Both parties agree on the latter argument.

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 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, because the debate entails the presupposition that abortion involves the murder of innocent human life, the topic must be phrased in the form of the above-mentioned question. 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 a 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.

Quite frankly, I find it rather misleading for one to call themselves pro-life while believing that a horrific event justifies the murder of innocent human life. That’s certainly not pro-choice, sure, but that’s not entirely pro-life either. Pro-life is the umbrella term to define the notion that sinless human life, in any and in all forms, must be preserved.

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 opposed it — regards the use of the term “health.” The term, used in the law, is never defined or described. Does the term refer to issues that could impact a mother’s mental well-being, such as anxiety or stress? 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 dichotomy between the two.

It’s a very frightening thing when a law does not define its own terms; the term “health” could be semantically stretched to virtually mean anything 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 human life. The question is philosophical in nature and may never be resolved entirely.

Proponents of abortion 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 attention to their strategy closely, 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, sinful 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?

What Are Your Thoughts?
Written by Daniel Schmidt
Daniel Schmidt is a 15-year-old political commentator from Nashville, Tennessee. In his freshman year of high school, he founded The Young Pundit, with the goal of establishing a hard-hitting, fact-based conservative commentary outlet.