Shouldn’t We Allow Abortions to Help Victims of Incest?
Abortion for incest wreaks more violence upon the victim, rarely leads to genuine healing, and may lead others to believe that the “problem” caused by the violent crime has largely been solved. In cases of incest, abortion often eliminates the only evidence of the crime.
The solution to incest is not abortion, but prosecution of the criminal so he does not commit more crimes, and loving care for his victims so that they experience true physical and emotional healing.
Does Abortion Solve the Problem?
Abortion for incest is the despicable twin of abortion for rape. Many people believe that a woman or girl can simply “erase” the horrible problems caused by incest by getting rid of the baby. But this is a short-sighted answer to a terrible problem. The famous words of H.L. Mencken come to mind: “There is always an easy solution to every human problem ― neat, plausible, and wrong.”
As with rape, the victim’s problem is not that she’s pregnant. The main problem after the trauma of incest is how others think of her and treat her.1
Many “pro-choice” people completely neglect one aspect of incest that is different from the crime of rape: after the abortion, the predator remains. In fact, it is often the assailant who insists upon the abortion to cover up his own crimes.
And the perpetrator of incest often has a willing accomplice in his neighborhood abortion clinic. Pro-life groups have documented dozens of incidents of incest and sexual molestation of girls as young as nine years old. In almost every case when the victim was taken to an abortion mill, staff did not ask questions or follow state law regarding reporting of such incidents. They simply aborted the victim’s child and sent her home, often in the company of her assailant.
As one example, John Blanks Jr. of Mason, Ohio, began molesting his daughter when she was 13. He took her to the Auburn Avenue Planned Parenthood abortion mill in Cincinnati for an abortion. Under Ohio law, doctors, nurses, teachers and other professionals are required to report alleged instances of sexual abuse to authorities. But Planned Parenthood had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding sexual molestation, and did not report the abuse. The girl had the abortion and, in fact, clinic workers sent her home with a supply of birth control pills. Blanks continued sexually assaulting the girl for another year and a half.2
It seems that many abortion clinic personnel are more interested in making money than they are in protecting the lives and health of young girls who are victimized by much older men. Perhaps they have bought into the mentality of leading sex educators who have claimed that incest is actually good for children.
Wardell B. Pomeroy, co-author of the notorious 1948 Sexual Behavior in the Human Male with Alfred Kinsey, is one of the most important figures in sex research, and his ideas continue to percolate throughout the community of “sexperts” half a century after he first formulated them. He wrote:
“We find many beautiful and mutually satisfying [sexual] relationships between fathers and daughters. These may be transient or ongoing, but they have no harmful effects…. Incest between adults and younger children can also prove to be a satisfying and enriching experience…. Incest can be a satisfying, non-threatening, and even an enriching emotional experience, as I said earlier.”3
This idea infected the thinking of many of the succeeding generations of sex educators and feminists. Kate Millett wrote, “One of children’s essential rights is to express themselves sexually, probably primarily with each other but with adults as well. So the sexual freedom of children is an important part of a sexual revolution.”4
The Lie about Rape and Incest
Pro-abortionists have used the rape and incest exceptions for abortion all over the world as the initial “wedge” in their long march towards abortion on demand. However, rape and incest cases combined result in a very low probability of pregnancy ― less than 1%.5 Additionally, the actual number of abortions for rape and incest is miniscule. During the time period 1996-2011, six states compiled the reasons that 1.3 million women obtained abortions. Abortions for both rape and incest totaled 0.13% of all abortions ― that’s 1 out of every 770.6
It is common for Planned Parenthood and similar groups to use “hard case” stories in their literature, debates and presentations. They often speak of 12- and 13-year old pregnant girls (and sometimes, 9- and 10-year old girls) who are sexually active or pregnant. Planned Parenthood, of course, supplies abortion, contraceptives and, above all, secrecy (“confidentiality”) to these young girls.
We might ask Planned Parenthood who it thinks the male parties to such sex acts are. Certainly they are not nine- or ten-year old boys! More than 70% of all babies born to teenaged girls are fathered by men over age 20, and who are often much older. The percentage is even greater for babies born to girls 14 years old and younger. Three-fourths of pregnant girls 14 years old and younger report having been coerced into sex.7 By promoting abortion, Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations are directly helping many predatory incestuous situations to continue.
Abortion is just as inept a solution for incest as it is for rape or any other reason ― especially from the psychological point of view.
Incest expert R. Bruce Sloan, M.D., states, “The psychiatric basis for terminating the life of an unborn baby incestuously conceived has absolutely no scientific merit and derives from a blind adherence to a legal formulation espoused by abortion promoters now including organized psychiatry.”8
Georgia Early went right to the heart of the matter when she said:
“When incest is involved, allowing abortion in pregnancy cases of minors tends to compound the exploitation of the innocent victim and protect the perpetrator from exposure so that he may continue his illegal and immoral acts without fear of discovery…. Abortion also perpetuates the generational violence where the abused child becomes the child abuser.9
One of the primary concerns regarding incest-caused pregnancies is fetal deformity. However, the vast majority of incest cases occur between stepfathers and stepdaughters, so there is no increased probability of fetal deformity in such cases. It is extremely difficult to measure the frequency of deformity in babies born of incestuous relationships between genetic fathers and daughters, because such babies are rare. They are rare because pregnancies are rare, and the vast majority of these pregnancies end in abortion, usually at the insistence of the father. However, several small studies performed on such babies showed anywhere from a 0% to 25% incidence of serious birth defects in cases of bloodline incest.10
In conclusion, abortion for either rape or incest can never be justified for several reasons.
A child conceived in violence is himself innocent and created in the image of God. He has done nothing to deserve the death sentence, any more than a child conceived within the bounds of a loving marriage. Even some pro-abortionists recognize this principle. As one writer for ‘Catholics’ for a Free Choice said, “Support for abortion in cases of rape and incest exemplifies the secular manipulation of religious sentiment. If the morality of the antichoice platform is based on protecting the fetus, then it is illogical ── and irreverent ― to suggest that any fetus qualifies for the death sentence.”11
Finally, abortion for the “hard cases” such as rape and incest is always used by pro-abortionists as a wedge to obtain abortion on demand. This has occurred in almost all of the developed nations and is now happening in many developing countries. If pro-lifers allow a law with a rape and incest exception to be passed, they will soon be facing abortion on a massive scale.
 David Reardon, one of the world’s foremost experts on the psychological impacts of abortion, says, “In fact, just as with rape, there is no psychiatric evidence, nor even any theory, which argues that abortion of an incestuous pregnancy is therapeutic for the victim ── it is only more convenient for everyone else…. The problem the pregnant incest victim faces is not the pregnancy, it is the psychological pain of incest. Again, as with rape, it is the discrimination and superstitions of those around her which make the pregnancy difficult, not the pregnancy itself” [David C. Reardon. Aborted Women, Silent No More. Westchester, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1987, pages 199 and 202].
 Rick Wesley. “Planned Parenthood Facilities in Cincinnati, Nationwide Facing Charges of Covering Up Child Rapes.” CCN-USA, May 30, 2007; Charlotte Allen. “Planned Parenthood’s Unseemly Empire.” The Weekly Standard, October 22, 2007.
 Wardell Pomeroy. “A New Look at Incest.” Variations Magazine, 1977, pages 86 to 88, and Forum Magazine, November 1976, pages 84 to 89.
 Feminist writer Kate Millett, quoted in The Age of Taboo. Daniel Tsang (editor) [Boston: Alyson Publishers], 2001, and in Paul Likoudis. “Geoghan Case Reflects the Muck of a Deranged Society.” The Wanderer, January 24, 2002, pages 1 and 7. For many other quotes by liberals advocating incest, write to Brian Clowes at email@example.com.
 According to Robert Carroll of the Santa Clara County Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Program in San Jose, California, and Dr. George E. Maloof, a psychiatrist at the Community Mental Health Center in Daly City, California, the pregnancy rate per victim (not per incident of felonious intercourse) is “less than one percent” [Telephone conversation with Robert Carroll on April 5, 1978, quoted by Rep. Thomas J. Bliley (R-Va.) in July 25, 1983 testimony printed in the Congressional Record.
Also see the report on the presentation made at the Symposium on the Psychological Aspects of Abortion at the Loyola University School of Medicine, November 1, 1978]. The Christopher Street program in Minneapolis reported four cases of pregnancy in 400 cases of incest, or about 1%. Santa Clara County’s incest treatment program, run by Henry Giaretto, reported slightly less than 1% pregnancies (12 instances) in 1,500 cases of incest. And Washington State’s incest treatment program reported no pregnancies in more than 600 cases. If these studies are combined, we see that the probability of pregnancy due to incest (per girl, not per case of intercourse), is 16 out of 2,500 cases (one out of 156, or 0.64%) [R. Bruce Sloan, M.D. New England Journal of Medicine. Quoted in G. Maloof, M.D., “The Consequences of Incest.” The Psychological Aspects of Abortion [University Publications of America], 1979, page 74].
 For a summary of calculations and references supporting this figure, e-mail Brian Clowes at firstname.lastname@example.org and request Excel spreadsheet F-03-01.XLS.
 “Are Young People Different Today?” Population Reports [Series J], October 1995, page 13. Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.
 Bruce Sloan, M.D. New England Journal of Medicine. Quoted in G. Maloof, M.D., “The Consequences of Incest.” The Psychological Aspects of Abortion [University Publications of America, 1979], page 74.
 Georgia “Incest, Sexual Child Abuse and Abortion.” Life Advocate, May/June 1980. Another insightful comment by Basile Uddo, Professor of Law, Loyola School of Law, completes the pro-life response: “Abortion is to rape and incest what morphine is to pain ― a superficially appealing, temporarily relieving, woefully inadequate response to something serious. The immediate benefits only mask the deeper wounds, which can fester to the point of great injury. A physician would never ‘treat’ his patient only with morphine unless his was a hopeless case. To ‘treat’ rape and incest pregnancies with abortion is a way of saying these women are hopeless cases ― violated, tainted, damaged goods, for whom abortion is a way to scrub away the ‘scarlet letter’” [Basile Uddo, Professor of Law, Loyola School of Law, “Pregnancy Due to Rape and Incest.” Restoring the Right to Life: The Human Life Amendment [Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press], 1984, page 188].
 On one end of this spectrum, we have Swedish psychiatrist Dr. Carl Olstrom, who has heavy experience in the study of fetal deformities resulting from incest. He says, “There is no evidence to support the assumption that children resulting from incestuous relationships [with a father or mother] run a greater risk of being malformed than other children” [Carl Henry Olstrom, M.D. Medical World News, February 4, 1967]. However, three smaller studies showed serious birth defects in up to one-fourth of all children that were a product of bloodline incest, an incidence that is about fifteen times the expected normal frequency [Mary Meehan. “Facing the Hard Cases.” Human Life Review, Summer 1983, pages 19 to 36].
 Helen Tworkov. “Antiabortion/Prochoice: Taking Both Sides: The Heated Abortion Debates of the 1992 Elections Prompted a Buddhist to Explore Her Faith’s Views of ‘The Great Matter of Life and Death.'” Conscience, Spring 1997 [Volume XVIII, Number 1], pages 8 to 13.
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Dr. Brian Clowes has been HLI’s director of research since 1995 and is one of the most accomplished and respected intellectuals in the international pro-life movement. Best known as author of the most exhaustive pro-life informational resource volume The Facts of Life, and for his Pro-Life Basic Training Course, Brian is the author of nine books and over 500 scholarly and popular articles, and has traveled to 70 countries on six continents as a pro-life speaker, educator and trainer.