Rape is a shocking crime, and rape victims deserve the full and unfailing support of society. Where a rape victim becomes pregnant we are required to act with the greatest care and compassion.
This is an extremely difficult situation and we need to ask: is abortion the answer, or is it yet another traumatic violation? We also need to consider that while the rapist is a criminal, the baby is also an innocent party.
‘I woke up … and I asked for the baby and they told me there was no baby. To this day I’m still suffering. I went to get a death certificate done for the baby. I named her Shannon.”
“My name – the C-case girl – is brought up on radio and TV all the time these days as if I’m an ad for abortion … but, for me, it [the abortion] has been harder to deal with than the rape.”
Figures from the Rape Crisis Centre showed that more than eight out of ten rape victims who became pregnant did not avail of abortion. (1)
Similarly, in the first study of rape survivors who became pregnant, Dr. Sandra Mahkorn found that most sexual assault victims refused abortion. (2)
Most women in Dr. Mahkorn’s study felt that abortion would be another violation, and that issues relating to the rape experience, not the pregnancy, were of primary concern in counselling and rehabilitation.
Miss C, who became pregnant through rape at 13 and was brought for an abortion while in care, recently told the Irish Independent that the abortion was “harder to deal with than the rape” (3).
Women in Dr Mahkorn’s study who were made pregnant by rape who did not abort said that hostile and negative feelings towards the baby changed during pregnancy. They also felt that the baby was an innocent party to the rapist’s crime just as they were.
Those findings bring us to a very important consideration: the rapist is a criminal, the baby is not. The baby is also an innocent party and we need to provide compassionate support and care to help both survive the trauma that has been created by the rape.
Abortion can’t reverse a rape – and rape survivors need counselling and support to address that violation. Sometimes abortion can be seen as a quick-fix solution by society.
Studies show that abortion increases the risk of mental health disorders, a risk that would be compounded by the trauma of rape. (4)
A survey of hundreds of rape survivors by U.S.-based Fortress International discovered that women who aborted their babies conceived in rape reported more pain, guilt, and anger than women who did not abort. (5)
Abortion also ends the life of a baby who is innocent of any crime and who is not responsible for the circumstances in which she was conceived.
Some women opt to give the baby up for adoption
Liz Carl was a teenage girl from a good family who became the victim of an unspeakably horrible crime when she was drugged and raped following a party when she was 17. That event was a real nightmare for Liz- as it would be for any woman in her situation- but when she realized several weeks later that she had become pregnant by her attacker, Liz went into full panic mode and scheduled an abortion- determined for a “quick fix” and to put the whole ordeal behind her.
Though Liz had friends ready to help her go through with an abortion, she also had family and friends who helped her to realize that she could make it through the trauma with their support and love. Liz also came to the conclusion that her unborn baby was an innocent human being- not at fault for his father’s crime – and she could not abort him.Looking at her son now- regardless of how he came to be – Liz is grateful that she chose Life. Liz says, “I no longer care who the biological father is, he is nothing. But look at my son. Just because he was not conceived in an act of love – or a wanted act at all – he is still a precious human being who is deserving of life and everything in it. In fact, I can say that one thing that ultimately one thing has saved me from severe, severe depression, and that is my baby. Someone who has been conceived in rape is not less of a person.”
Is abortion is used to cover up sexual assault?
Sadly, abortion has always been used to cover up rape and sexual assault.
Jimmy Saville sent at least 2 of his young rape victims for abortions to cover up his crimes. (6)
In the UK, a scout leader was convicted of repeatedly raping a young girl between the ages of 13 and 14. He had arranged for her to have an abortion when she became pregnant at 13. (7)
In 2009, an Australian Marie Stopes Clinic provider was found guilty of unprofessional conduct for failing to obtain consent before performing a late-term abortion on an intellectually disabled woman who was raped by her father. This same clinic was the site of a botched abortion death in 2011. (8)
There are many other such stories reported in every country where abortion is legal.
Listen to the story of Miss ‘C’
Miss C’, a young Irish girl, became pregnant following a brutal rape in 1997. She had been taken into care to protect her from the rapist, but social workers then insisted that she should have an abortion. When her parents opposed the abortion they became the subject of a vicious media campaign. Leading abortion campaigners used the case to demand the legalisation of abortion in Ireland. ‘Miss C‘s’ baby was aborted in a clinic in Britain. But then, twelve years later, ‘Miss C‘ spoke out. She told the Pat Kenny Show on RTÉ radio in July 2009 that she had never requested an abortion, and that she had wanted her baby to be given up for adoption. ‘I woke up … and I asked for the baby and they told me there was no baby,’ she said. ‘To this day I’m still suffering. I went to get a death certificate done for the baby. I named her Shannon”
Once ‘Miss C‘ had spoken out, she was immediately treated in a hostile way or ignored by abortion campaigners. She didn’t suit their agenda anymore. She told the Irish Independent in 2013 that: “My name – the C-case girl – is brought up on radio and TV all the time these days as if I’m an ad for abortion … but, for me, it has been harder to deal with than the rape.
“It only really hits you after you have children. You never forget your missing baby. It plays on your mind every day” she said. (3)
The voices of children conceived in rape are almost never heard. Rebecca Kiessling has founded a support group to make their voices heard and to pay tribute to the brave women who gave them life.
“Have you ever considered how really insulting it is to say to someone, ‘I think your mother should have been able to abort you’?” she says. “It’s like saying, ‘If I had my way, you’d be dead right now.’ And that is the reality with which I live every time someone says they are pro-choice or pro-life ‘except in cases of rape’ because I absolutely would have been aborted if it had been legal when I was an unborn child, and I can tell you that it hurts.” (http://www.rebeccakiessling.com/)
Some women raise a baby conceived in rape
Women who have given birth to babies conceived in rape are also speaking out. Elizabeth Cameron is a primary teacher. She is raising her daughter Pheobe, conceived through rape.
“Everyone, save for mum, thought I should have an abortion,” she says. “My dad even made an appointment at the clinic, and they showed me the little blob on the scan, I presume, to convince me that it was just a mass of cells and the whole thing would be over quickly. But I couldn’t go through with it. At school, my friends – most of whom didn’t even know about the rape – couldn’t understand why anyone my age would want to have a baby rather than an abortion. And the few I did tell were even more horrified that I would want to go through with the birth. But I did. And I don’t regret it for a moment. Every time I look at Phoebe, I know I made the right decision. I never wanted to end my baby’s life just because of how she came to be.” (Daily Mail, August 9, ’08).
(1) Rape Crisis Network Ireland, 2010 National Rape Crisis Statistics and Annual Report, pp. 53-54. http://www.rcni.ie/uploads/RCNINationalRapeCrisisStatisticsAndAnnualReport2010.pdf
(2) Sandra Mahkorn, ‘Pregnancy and Sexual Assault,’ The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, eds. Mall & Watts, (Washington, D.C.: University Publications of America, 1979), 55-69 5.
(3) http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/health/ccase-mum-i-grieve-for-my-lost-baby-every-day-29241584.html ALSO see Pat Kenny show
(4) (Fergusson DM et. al., “Abortion and mental health disorders: evidence from a 30-year longitudinal study,” The British Journal of Psychiatry, 193: 444-451, 2008.)
(5) Anne Morse, ‘Telling the Rape Victim’s Story,’ National Review Online, 17 May 2007 http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/220980/telling-rape-victims-story/anne-morse#
(8) The Age, 21 December 2011, http://www.theage.com.au/victo...
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