Washington D.C., May 23, 2019 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey recently signed the Human Life Protection Act into law. The legislation would make performing or attempting to perform an abortion a felony in the state.
The bill permits exceptions if the life of the mother is at risk, but controversially makes no exception for victims of rape or incest.
In an interview to air May 23 on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly, attorney and pro-life speaker Rebecca Kiessling said that she applauds Alabama for refusing to make such exceptions because they dehumanize people like her.
Kiessling is the founder and president of Save the 1, a pro-life advocacy group dedicated to supporting the rights of unborn children conceived in rape or incest, or with disabilities. She told Pro-Life Weekly host Catherine Hadro that she was conceived when her biological mother was abducted at knifepoint and raped, and that she owes her birth to abortion having been illegal at the time.
Adopted at birth, Kiessling met her biological mother for the first time when she was 19 years old. While her birth mother “was happy to meet me,” Kiessling said her mother told her that she would have had an abortion if the procedure had been legal at the time.
“She said, ‘it should have been my right,’” Kiessling said.
But, Kiessling said, her mother has since undergone a change of heart, and the pair are now both “thankful that we were protected by Michigan law at the time.”
Asked about the Alabama law and its lack of a rape exception, Kiessling said state Rep. Terri Collins, who introduced the bill, was defending the lives of people like her.
“He really went to bat for us,” Kiessling said, while noting that the rhetoric around the debate had been distressing for her and others like her.
“It really hurts when our people group are under attack,” Kiessling said, adding that Save the 1 has eight hundred members who were either conceived in rape or became mothers after rape.
Shortly after Gov. Ivey approved the bill, President Donald Trump opined on Twitter that although he considers himself “strongly Pro-Life,” he believes in “three exceptions – Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother.” Trump did not name Alabama, although the tweet was widely interpreted as commentary on the bill.
As most people know, and for those who would like to know, I am strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions – Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother – the same position taken by Ronald Reagan. We have come very far in the last two years with 105 wonderful new…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
Asked about the president’s tweet, Kiessling called Trump “the most pro-life president we’ve had by far,” but that this only made his comments about rape exceptions “hurt so much more.”
“You want somebody like that to be willing to defend you,” Kiessling said.
Asked how pro-life advocates can discuss such a sensitive topic, Kiessling said that it is important to “appreciate people’s concern for rape victims who become pregnant,” without dismissing the humanity of the unborn children involved.
Kiessling said pro-life advocates should “appeal to the sense of justice, that we do not punish innocent people for someone else’s crime.”
“People respect that answer,” she said. “And I did not deserve the death penalty for the crime of my biological father.”
Kiessling said Save the 1 has “made a lot of progress” in working to terminate the parental rights of rapists.
“I tell people, look if you really care about rape victims who become pregnant, please, protect them from the rapist and the abortion,” she said. “The baby is not the scary enemy.”
Kiessling’s full interview will air Thursday at 10:00 PM Eastern.
Kate Scanlon is a producer for EWTN Pro-Life Weekly
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