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March 29, 2010

Is Abortion Right When Pregnancy is Due to Rape or Incest?

Why ProLife?Please Note: This answer is excerpted directly from Randy's book Why Prolife?. In order to conserve space, footnotes are not included here, but are marked with *'s and may be found in Why ProLife? by Randy Alcorn, Chapter 13, pages 96-99.


Studies conducted by the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute in­dicate that two consenting and fertile adults have only a 3–5 percent chance of pregnancy from an act of intercourse. They also indicate there are factors involved in a rape that further reduce these chances for rape victims.* The Institute says fourteen thou­sand* abortions per year are due to rape or incest, which amounts to 1 percent of all abortions.* Other studies have shown that preg­nancies due to rape are much rarer, as few as one in a thousand cases.*

teenagerWhat’s the Real Issue?

Pro-choice advocates divert attention from the vast majority of abortions by focusing on rape because of its well-deserved sympa­thy factor. Their frequent references to it leave the false impression that pregnancy due to rape is common, rather than rare.

Where does the misconception come from that many preg­nancies are due to rape? Fearful young women sometimes attribute their pregnancies to rape to avoid possible condemnation. Norma McCorvey was the young woman called “Roe” in the Roe v. Wade case. She elicited sympathy in the court and media because she claimed to be a rape victim, but years later admitted she’d lied and hadn’t been raped.* (McCorvey has since become an outspoken pro-life advocate and has asked the Supreme Court to review and reverse Roe v. Wade.*)

We have a dear friend who was raped and became pregnant. Because of her circumstances it wasn’t best for her to raise the child. She released the baby for adoption into a Christian family. Our friend periodically has contact with the family and her child. It hasn’t been easy and her pain has been great—yet her comfort is in knowing her child lives and is loved.

On a television program about abortion, I heard a man say of a child conceived by rape, “Anything of this nature has no rights because it’s the product of rape.” But how is the nature of this child different from that of any other child?

And why is it that pro-choice advocates are always saying the unborn child is really the mother’s, not the father’s, until she is raped—then suddenly the child is viewed as the father’s, not the mother’s?

The point is not how a child was conceived but that he was conceived. He is not a despicable “product of rape.” He is a unique and wonderful creation of God.

Having and holding an innocent child, whether the mother chooses to keep her or place her for adoption, can do much more good for a victimized woman than the knowledge that an innocent child died in a fruitless attempt to reduce the mother’s trauma.

hands

Conceived by Rape or Incest

Incest is a horrible crime. Offenders should be punished, and decisive intervention should be taken to remove a girl from the pres­ence of a relative who has sexually abused her. The abuser—not the girl or her child—is the offender. Intervention, protection, and on­going personal help for the girl—not killing an innocent child—is the solution. (Despite popular beliefs, fetal deformity is rare in such cases. If the child has handicaps, however, he still deserves to live.)

Why should Person A be killed because Person B raped or sex­ually abused Person A’s mother? If your father committed a crime, should you go to jail for it? If you found out today that your biologi­cal father had raped your mother, and you had been conceived as a result, would you feel you no longer had a right to live?

A woman who heard me speak about this subject told me afterward, sobbing, “My mother was raped as a thirteen-year-old. She gave birth to me, then gave me up for adoption. Every time I’ve heard people say abortion is okay in cases of rape, I’ve thought, ‘Then I guess I have no right to live.’ And if I had been aborted, my children wouldn’t be here either.”

Let’s punish abusers, not the victims. The woman isn’t spoiled goods—she’s not “goods” at all but a precious human being with value and dignity that even the vilest act cannot take from her. Like­wise, the child isn’t a cancer to be removed but a living human being to be loved. If the child needs to be placed for an adoption, isn’t this a far better solution than taking her life?

And shouldn’t we stop telling people who were conceived by rape that they have no right to live?

Abortion Compounds Rape Trauma

mother/child

Feminists for Life says, “Some women have reported suffering from the trauma of abortion long after the rape trauma has faded.”* It’s hard to imagine a worse therapy for a woman who’s been raped than the guilt and turmoil of having her child killed.

In their book Victims and Victors, David Reardon and his as­sociates draw on the testimonies of 192 women who experienced pregnancy as the result of rape or incest and 55 children who were conceived through sexual assault. It turns out that when victims of violence speak for themselves, their opinion of abortion is nearly unanimous—and the exact opposite of what most would predict:

Nearly all the women interviewed in this anecdotal survey said they regret­ted aborting the babies conceived via rape or incest. Of those giving an opinion, more than 90 percent said they would discourage other victims of sexual violence from having an abortion. On the other hand, among the women profiled in the book who conceived due to rape or incest and carried to term, not one expressed regret about her choice.*

Ironically, the violence of rape and the violence of abortion have something in common. Both are done by a more powerful person at the expense of the less powerful.

Abortion doesn’t bring healing to a rape victim. Imposing capi­tal punishment on the innocent child of a sex offender does nothing bad to the rapist and nothing good to the woman.

Creating a second victim never undoes the damage to the first.


For more information on this subject, see Randy Alcorns books Why ProLife? and ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments.

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