TEI Forum: The “Woman-Rights” Spokesperson Did Not Dispute the Issue of Rape and Incest 

John C. Rankin

In 1996, I addressed a group of public high school students in the town where we then lived, and where my second eldest son attended. The school was sponsoring an “in service” day where outside speakers would come to address various issues for tenth graders. A dialogue was set up with me and a woman representing a “women’s rights” educational and political organization in Hartford, Connecticut. We addressed two separate sessions on the general topic of abortion, one of which my son attended.

Questions were elicited from the students, and in the first session, the issue of rape and incest was raised. Given the brevity of time, I gave a short synopsis of my rationale, but also shared the stories of the women at UMASS and on WGAN (click here).

The resonance among the students was deep, but even more so, the feminist representing the women’s rights group did not try to dispute me. Instead she gave compliment, stating how hard it was for her to follow up after such an “eloquent and moving” answer. During the second session, her presentation of abortion-rights was muted, and much less confident than her presentation in the first session. And during the Q & A period in the second session, she deferred to me repeatedly.

I treated her graciously from the outset, and in the first session before the rape and incest question was brought up, I rigorously challenged some of her assertions, especially the rhetoric of calling pro-life people “anti-choice” and “anti-women,” as well as erroneous data. I noted how none of my language involved such an accusatory nature toward abortion-rights partisans, and she responded well. Love, a sound mind and spiritual power is the biblical balance we need in all matters. We either tackle the tough issues head-on, or we get tackled by them in our evasive maneuvers.

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Amendment:

On a related track, in my second Mars Hill Forum with Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, president of the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights (RCAR), I did something I had never done before, as later I also did with Ann Stone of Republicans for Choice in our forum at Dartmouth.

I addressed the issue of rape and incest in my opening comments, not waiting to respond to someone’s question. In both cases, neither Ragsdale, Stone nor any of the audience raised the issue in their responses to me. In other words, by taking the intellectual, moral and spiritual offensive on this question, we can see the opposition arguments silenced, and our position is greatly strengthened from which to lobby for the legal protection of the unborn. The risk-taking nature of the power to love hard questions is our gift from God in the order of creation and in reversing the reversal.

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