By Anthony McCarthy

JACOB Rees-Mogg MP triggered an outraged response from many – though respect from many others – by his comments on abortion made on Good Morning Britain.

What if he had answered Piers Morgan’s question differently, and said that abortion was justified following rape or incest? He would have had a different problem: how to respond to those like rape victim Kathleen DeZeeuw who has said she feels “personally assaulted and insulted” that women like her are “being used to further the abortion issue, even though we’ve not been asked to tell our side of the story”.

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Conspicuously absent from these discussions are the voices of many women like Ms DeZeeuw who were raped and had their babies and in many cases also chose to raise the child (a majority in Ireland chose this, according to Rape Crisis Network, Ireland).

We are also missing the voices of those conceived via rape or incest who were born and raised by loving parents – whether adoptive parents or, so often, their birth mothers. One such person has set up her own organisation, Save the One, for those so conceived and their mothers, including those who had abortions that they profoundly regret.

Those who push for abortion are not going to refrain from asking the incendiary question about rape and incest, not least because they have helped created an atmosphere where people are frightened to stand up for any unborn child, let alone a child whose mother has had the dreadful experience of rape.

But the question of abortion in cases of rape has only one answer, however shocking it may be. Mr Rees-Mogg didn’t give the “right” answer to the question, the one that would have pleased so many people. Clearly he sensed the deep rift in logic that any other answer than the one he gave would have created. It’s still safe to say that killing the innocent is something our society generally regards as absolutely wrong.

If “murder” means the deliberate killing, on our say-so, of those human beings who are innocent of any crime, that must surely include those who remind us of something very disturbing in our own or others’ past.

And that will include children conceived via rape or incest: killing such children is surely no more reasonable than killing those who were conceived consensually – but in a way their parents deeply regret.

Abortion involves the deliberate killing, lethal invasion and/or expulsion of an innocent unborn child. That child has rights and a stake in his or her own future, just as we all did at that age.

To destroy him or her is “murder” on the definition just given – or at very least homicide, where those involved in such destruction are unaware that the baby is indeed a human being.

May some human beings be destroyed simply because of how they came to be? Even those who think that abortion is acceptable, perhaps because they have problems seeing the unborn child as a human being, must understand the logic of not making exceptions between human beings depending on how they were conceived.

Many still believe in other moral absolutes and would never defend, for example, rape, torture, or murder of born human beings.

We can either deliberately consign to death rape-conceived babies, effectively betraying their mothers in the process, however much we mean to help them.

Or we can actually mean it when we say, no, our society will not kill the innocent in any case whatsoever – and will not negate its fine words when it comes to human rights for all and not just for some.

Dr Anthony McCarthy, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children