Alan Keyes (Republican Presidential candidate) addressed 120 middle school students (6th to 8th graders) at the Cornerstone School in Detroit. A 13-year-old girl asked if he would make an exception for rape in his position on abortion. The following is the dialogue that took place:
“If your dad goes out, and God forbid, I’m not saying he would do this, this is just a hypothetical.” Keyes said. “But let’s say your dad goes out and he rapes somebody-an awful thing. If your dad goes out and rapes somebody and we convict him of that rape, do you think it would be right for us to then say, ‘OK, because your dad is guilty of that rape, we’re going to kill you?’”
“No.” (middle school students answer in unison).
“Why not?” (inaudible response)
“Now let me ask you something. How old are you?”
A young woman responded, “Thirteen.”
“You’re 13. It’s not right to kill you for your father’s crime at 13. If you were five would it be right?”
“If you were one year old would it be right?”
“Well let me see now, if you were six months old would it be right?”
“So how could I say that I’m going to let abortion take place because of rape? If I let abortion take place because of rape, I am killing a child in the womb for a crime committed by his parents. Is that right?”
“No. It’s hard, isn’t it? Can’t do it. Can’t let you.”
“But why should the girl have to go through labor and everything and go through the pain of having a baby if it’s not her choice?”
“That’s a good question. Let me ask you a question. Let’s take this young man here. How old are you?”
The young man responded, “Thirteen.”
“Thirteen. Let’s say that when you are 19, right, America gets involved in a war. And, when we’ve gotten involved in wars in the past, we had a draft and the people your age would be drafted, and they’d be sent off to war, right? You are going to have to go off. You are going to have to live on a battlefield. You are going to have to risk your life. And many people did in fact risk their lives, lived in hardship every single day and finally died. Why? Because they were defending what? Our country and defending its freedom. They had to go through hardship, didn’t they, for the sake of freedom.
“The principle of freedom is that our rights come from God. Do you think it’s wrong to ask people to make sacrifices to keep our respect for that principle? We have done it. We’ve asked our soldiers to do it on battlefields, we’ve asked people to do it in all kinds of ways. And yet, I think it would be right as is right to ask the women of this country to do it in order to respect when it comes to life in the womb.
“We should help them. We should be there. I’ve raised money for crisis pregnancy centers, where people get together and they reach out a hand to help people who are pregnant in situations that are difficult. Could be as a result of rape or incest. We need to love, we need to counsel and we need to work with folks so that when they’re going through a period of this difficulty they will know that that’s not their fault and that God loves them and that we love them. And we create for them a wealth of support to help them deal with the difficulty and the pain.
“But I don’t believe it is right to take that pain and actually make it worse. And to the burden of that rape down through the years, if that abortion takes place, do you know what I’m adding if I let you have an abortion? I’m adding the burden of that abortion. And at some point, the truth of God that is written on your heart comes back to you. And you’re wounded by that truth.
“So I don’t think it’s fair, not to the child and not to the woman, to let this tragedy claim both their lives; the physical life of the child and the moral and spiritual life of the mother. And I think in this society we do both terrible harm because we don’t have the courage to stand by what is true.”
(excerpted from ProLife Info Digest, 2/27/00)