Shouldn’t We Allow Abortions to Help Victims of Rape?

Shouldn’t We Allow Abortions to Help Victims of Rape?

By |2019-10-23T18:32:14-05:00May 19th, 2017|Categories: Abortion|Tags: , , , , |

abortions due to rape

“Some people disclaim their natural heritage.  I always name my origin.  It didn’t hold me back and neither has my color.  I was born in poverty.  My father raped my mother when she was 12.  Now they’ve named a park for me in Chester, Pennsylvania.”

— Renowned Gospel singer Ethel Waters.1

From an ethical and logical standpoint, a baby conceived through violence is as blameless and innocent as one conceived in marriage, and is therefore deserving of the same protection.  Either all preborn babies are worth saving, or none of them are.

As the pro-abortion group ‘Religious’ Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) says, “Opponents of abortion rights walk a fine line within their own movement when they condone any abortion.  Based on their own definition, they are guilty of being accessories to “murder” in certain circumstances by accepting rape and incest exceptions.”2

RCRC correctly points out that pro‑lifers must never condone a single abortion, and must never apologize for fighting abortions due to rape and incest.  If we allow that preborn lives are disposable for any reason, we set the life of the preborn below that of other human beings ― and this is what started our nation and our world on the road to abortion on demand in the first place.

Does Abortion Help the Woman?

As reformed abortionist Bernard Nathanson has so eloquently stated:

“Rape is a heinous, ineradicably humiliating act of violence imposed upon a defenseless woman.  The key word is ‘ineradicable,’ for the destruction of the innocent human being created as a result of that act can never eradicate the unspeakable emotional and psychological residue of that rape.  To the contrary, it can only compound the residue with another deadly act of violence.”3

As with any other pregnancy that was unplanned, the woman’s problem is not that she’s pregnant.  The main problem heaped upon the mother after the trauma of rape is how others think of her and treat her.  Rape and incest victims have always unjustly been victims of the “Scarlet Letter Syndrome,” but ‘treating’ this problem of societal perspective with abortion is like saying that the woman is a hopeless case or “damaged goods.”


Former rape counselor Sandra Mahkorn, M.D., says:

“The central issue then should not be whether we can abort all pregnant sexual assault victims, but rather an exploration of the things we can change in ourselves, and through community education, to support such women through their pregnancies.  The ‘abortion is the best solution’ approach can only serve to encourage the belief that sexual assault is something for which the victim must bear shame ― a sin to be carefully concealed.”4

What is more caring ― to sneer at a rape victim’s problem and tell her to “just get rid of it,” or to respect the life within her and give her the real help she needs? Here are the thoughts of one rape survivor:

In summary, the tragedy is the rape ― not the child that is conceived.  Contrary to what pro‑abortionists apparently believe, two injustices do not equal a right or a healed life.  The greatest pain of the first injustice lasts nine months, but the pain of the abortion ‘remedy’ lasts a lifetime.

Some may answer that the woman has a right to be free from assault.  This is true, of course, but in the case of abortion for rape, the assault has already happened.  Just as the woman has a right to be free from assault, so does her preborn baby.  Allowing her abortion for rape under this argument is like saying that anyone else who is physically assaulted can find healing and peace by going out into the street and punching the first person he or she sees.

Finally, how many people believe that there should be capital punishment for rapists?  Obviously, a very small minority.  If the majority of people do not favor capital punishment for the obviously guilty rapist, why then should they favor it for the innocent child, who has committed no crime whatsoever?

How Many Abortions Due to Rape Are There?

Since pro‑abortionists and the corrupt media exclusively emphasize the “hard cases,” they have persuaded the public that the number of women obtaining abortions for rape is huge.  A national Wirthlin poll found that the average respondent’s guess at the number of abortions committed for rape and incest was 21% of the total number of abortions in the United States.5

However, the actual number of abortions due to rape 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 one out of every 770.6

Like all of the other abortion exceptions, the exception for abortions due to rape is routinely abused by pro-abortionists. For example:

  • Rebecca Chalker and Carol Downer admit in their A Woman’s Book of Choices, “Before abortion was legal, women sometimes got abortions by claiming that they had been raped.”7
  • The Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act of 1988 required women who claimed to be victims of rape or incest to report their crimes before getting a free abortion from the state.  The reporting of rapes jumped significantly the very first month the law was in effect, and police reported that many women admitted that they were reporting rapes just to get a free abortion.8
  • Such lying seems to be second nature for people like Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey, who fought to get federal funding for abortions.  She said, “I’d tell my constituents, ‘Send a letter.  Say you were raped.  Say it was incest.  Say you have heart disease.'”9

Of course, pro-abortionists could not care less that such lying makes it much more difficult for law enforcement agencies to find and prosecute real rapists, and opens up the very real possibility of innocent men being prosecuted for rape.10

In summary, the number of abortions due to rape is much smaller than people believe, a tiny part of 1%.

Rape Protocol in Catholic Hospitals

Catholic health care professionals have developed a rape protocol that has been approved by the bishops.  The doctor uses a simple test to determine if the victim has ovulated.  If she has not ovulated, she is given a drug that prevents ovulation.  If she has already ovulated, she is not given the drug because it may prevent implantation.11

ovulation test

Ovulation test

It is not enough to simply administer a pregnancy test, because even if it were negative, a conception could have taken place in the weeks before the sexual assault.

This “ovulation approach” protocol is based on the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services [¶36], which states:

“A woman who has been raped may defend herself against conception resulting from sexual assault.  If, after appropriate testing, there were no evidence that conception has occurred already, she may be treated with medications that would prevent ovulation, sperm capacitation, or fertilization.  It is not permissible, however, to initiate or to recommend treatments that have as their purpose or direct effect the removal, destruction, or interference with the implantation of a fertilized ovum.”

In addition, the victim should receive continuing spiritual and psychological counseling and support to assist her in dealing with the trauma of the attack.

Final Thoughts

Abortions due to rape 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 in a loving marriage.
  • Abortions due to rape wreak more violence, caus no genuine healing, and lead others to believe that the “problems” caused by a rape has largely been solved.  The solution to rape is not abortion, but prosecution of the rapist so he does not commit more crimes, and loving care for his victims so that they experience true physical and emotional healing.
  • Finally, abortion for the “hard cases” such as rape 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 laws with a rape exception to be passed, they will soon be facing abortion on a massive scale.

 

Endnotes

  1. Ethel Waters, quoted in testimony on July 25, 1983 by Congressman Thomas J. Bliley, Jr., (R‑Va.), and reprinted in the Congressional Record. Also in her book His Eye Is on the Sparrow, pages 277 and 278.
  2. ‘Religious’ Coalition for Abortion Rights (now RCRC). Booklet entitled “Words of Choice.”  1991, Washington, C.  Page 24.
  3. Bernard Nathanson, M.D., statement to the Virginia State legislature, February 11, 1982.
  4. Rape counselor Sandra Mahkorn, M.D. “Pregnancy and Sexual Assault.”  The Psychological Aspects of Abortion [Washington, C.:  University Publications of America], 1979, pages 65 and 66.
  5. Results of a 1990 Wirthlin poll described in “The Week.” National Review, December 3, 1990, page 12.
  6. For a summary of calculations and references supporting this figure, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org and request Excel spreadsheet F-03-01.XLS.
  7. Rebecca Chalker and Carol Downer. A Woman’s Book of Choices:  Abortion, Menstrual Extraction, RU‑486 [New York City:  Four Walls Eight Windows Press], 1992, page 39.
  8. Andrew Sheehan. “New Abortion Law Brings More Reports of Rape.”  Pittsburgh Post‑Gazette, June 25, 1988, page 5.
  9. Congresswoman Nita Lowey [D. NY], Chair of the House Reproductive Choice Caucus, on what to do when eligibility for abortion funding under the Hyde Amendment was expanded to include rape and incest in the Summer of 1992. Quoted in Michael Kramer.  “Will Abortion be Covered?”  Time Magazine, September 27, 1993, page 40.
  10. Ferris B. Lucas, Executive Director of the National Sheriff’s Association, has said, “We do, however, wish to comment on the provisions that would allow federal funds to be paid for abortions performed for treatment of rape or incest victims only. The wording would lead a person desirous of an abortion to make false reports to law enforcement agencies which would have to be checked and investigated to some length.  These crimes are not easy ones to prove or disprove and resultantly require many man‑hours of investigation.  American law enforcement agencies are presently overburdened and do not have this vast amount of time available” [July 18, 1977, quoted by Congressman Thomas J. Bliley (R‑Va.) in July 25, 1983 testimony printed in the Congressional Record].
  11. “NCBC Statement on Connecticut Legislation Regarding Treatment for Victims of Sexual Assault.” National Catholic Bioethics Center Web site, October 3, 2007.
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19 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Reginisha April 26, 2019 at 10:28 AM - Reply

    when was this issued ? date?

    • Avatar
      HLI Staff May 1, 2019 at 9:16 AM - Reply

      Thank you for your interest. The article was published on our website May 19, 2017.

  2. Avatar
    Margaret krasowski May 24, 2019 at 9:05 PM - Reply

    `abortion is the best solution’ approach can only serve to encourage the belief that sexual assault is something for which the victim must bear shame ― a sin to be carefully concealed.”4`IThe greatest pain of the first injustice lasts nine months, but the pain of the abortion `remedy’ lasts a lifetime.
    Great article! However I don’t completely agree with the above two sentences . Rape victims don’t necessarily think of “sin to be carefully concealed ” in that moment and their pain of been raped lasts for a lifetime…

    • Avatar
      Elisa October 24, 2019 at 5:22 PM - Reply

      I agree, it does last a life time and also for the child. I’m thankful my mother never aborted me, even though she was a victim of date rape. But I can honestly say, my mother loved me like a loving mother should and she never held anything against me.

  3. Avatar
    Neha May 29, 2019 at 12:24 AM - Reply

    One injustice plus a forced birth guarantee an unhealed and trauma-ridden life. Whether the child gets a park named after them has nothing to do with the lifelong trauma that the carrying, birth, and raising of the fetus cause to victims of rape.

    The rapist’s “loving care” for the rape victim that you think can only supposedly happen after the rape victim is forced to give birth to the violently implanted fetus is not what gives rape victims “true physical and emotional healing”.

    The rhetoric in this article is so bigoted, it’s unbelievable.

    • Avatar
      HLI Staff June 26, 2019 at 9:11 AM - Reply

      Neha, why would one punish the child instead of the rapist? And would you advocate that once caught, the rapist should be dismembered limb by limb and killed? Of course not, but that is what you would subject an innocent child to, conceived innocently in rape. Once conceived, this life is just as valuable as anyone else’s.

      Also, are you not aware of the trauma that an abortion inflicts on the mother? We believe very much in helping both the mother and child. There is a very long list, from increased risk of suicide and drug use to guilt to increased risk of breast cancer for the mother. We know this from many years of experience of working all over the world with post-abortive women and from scientific data that the pro-abortion side simply ignores. Telling the woman that her rape with “go away” with an abortion is only making her problems go much deeper and exposes her to greater physical and psychiatric risks. She should absolutely get help; if she does not know whom to contact, every Catholic diocese in the world works with mothers in these situations and can help even with medical costs, adoption, etc. #lovethemboth

  4. Avatar
    richard steehler June 7, 2019 at 6:59 PM - Reply

    If we allow abortions for rape and incest then maybe we need to “abort” old folks who can no longer “contribute” to society.
    Hmmm. I just thought… we are all terminal so lets just find a reason to slaughter everyone “we” deem to not be worthy.
    Abortionists say an unborn fetus could not survive on its own, so it is Ok to terminate. I understand, so lets take a full term newborn and take it out into a field just a hundred feet from your back door, and leave it til the following week???? Think it will still be there… I doubt it will still be there.

    • Avatar
      Janice Giampaoli July 11, 2019 at 3:52 PM - Reply

      I’m sorry but there is absolutely no correlation to this argument. This is a weak and flawed argument.

  5. Avatar
    john June 27, 2019 at 2:36 PM - Reply

    my argument is that it should be a choice for the victim. I’m not a psychiatrist nor am I a woman but I can understand if a woman has resentment toward the unborn child. Sure not everyone will have those feelings, but I couldn’t imagine growing up in a household filled with hate and resentment. Then you hear about stories like,” I grew in a house that emotionally abused me and I got out, they could too.” you don’t hear about the people that don’t make it out. The ones that live a life of suffering and possibly terminate their own lives. It’s a sad, cruel world we live in and I wish it doesn’t have to be the way it is. I guess my point is that not everyone is the same and the situation that they are going through is different than your own or anyone else’s for that matter. So the choice should be an option if it is the best-case scenario for a long happy life for both parties. I’m not here to hate your view or to say that you are wrong but just to give you a different view.

    • Avatar
      HLI Staff July 25, 2019 at 9:21 AM - Reply

      John, thank you for your thoughtful comments. While we understand your point, it is perhaps worth mentioning that while a woman suffers trauma obviously during a rape, there is also trauma during an abortion. Moreover, during the latter, there is both physical and emotional trauma. In ending the life of the child, depending on the gestational age, the baby is either suctioned out of the uterus, dismembered (and feels terrible pain) or the heart is stopped, brain suctioned out and baby delivered dead. Because of the unavoidable emotional tie between woman and child, there is no way she cannot be impacted. The understanding is it often takes on average several years before the woman feels the full impact of abortion, from increased guilt, risk of suicide, drug use, perforated uterus, all kinds of things that can happen. The mother is much better off physically and emotionally long-term in delivering the child and offering him/her for adoption. There are also many who do counseling to help women during these times. Our answer is that, when caught, would you kill the rapist, dismember him, stop his heart? No. Why do so to the baby, when it harms the mother more than many of them know?

  6. Avatar
    Linda Cassidy July 18, 2019 at 3:13 PM - Reply

    I think in the case of rape , the morning after pill should be administered IMMEDIATELY rather than allowing a pregnancy to occur.

    • Avatar
      HLI Staff July 23, 2019 at 9:09 AM - Reply

      Thanks for allowing us to explain the Catholic position. Would you sentence the rapist to death for rape? Or to death by dismemberment? For this is what happens to a child conceived in innocence, through no fault of his/her own. Carrying the baby actually has fewer health risks for the mother, and the baby may be given up for adoption. Whereas women who have abortions suffer many consequences, many of them psychiatric, from guilt to increased risk of suicide. Here is a good response by Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who was not a Christian and co-founded NARAL. After ultrasound was developed, he stopped, having aborted many thousands. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61V_XfK1tu0

  7. Avatar
    Carol July 29, 2019 at 8:25 PM - Reply

    Thank you for publishing answers to the “hard cases.” I am a midwife and have dealt with many pregnant women who had previously been traumatized by incest, rape and by abortion. In my admittedly small sample of personal experience, no woman expressed abortion as free of trauma. The ones who had formerly had abortions expressed a great deal of flashback grief over their abortions, particularly when their current baby was at the same gestation as their aborted baby. These women also often became highly emotional at birth. Their labors often stalled while they grieved and shared, in what they considered a supportive, safe space, about their former abortion experiences. The ones who had given birth to a baby from rape expressed that either pouring out love to their new baby or imagining the baby with loving adoptive parents was a source of healing. In all cases, giving birth to a live baby, whether from rape or a post-abortion pregnancy, ultimately brought comfort to these mothers. As a midwife, my goal was to acknowledge the prior abortions for what they were, but to reflect God’s love, forgiveness and healing.

    • Avatar
      HLI Staff July 30, 2019 at 1:13 PM - Reply

      Carol, thank you so much for sharing your powerful insights. We hope other women reading them will find courage and strength in your hopeful words!

  8. Avatar
    K. Vandam August 13, 2019 at 4:06 PM - Reply

    Pro-Do-What-You-Have-To/Pro-It’s-My-Body-Not-Yours.

    I’ve doing some research on abortion for an argumenative essay I’m writing for school, about whether or not abortions should be legal. Ove time I’d considered myself Pro-Choice, but after having read through severl articles, comments, and blogs, I’ve changed my mind. A womans body is her body, not mine or yours. She should be allowed the right to chose how she uses it and what she does with it. If she decides to get an abortion, that is her desision.
    When I was in middle school, my best friend was raped, and got pregnant. She was 12 years old. Her parents, being Pro-Life, forced her to carry out the pregancy. After one month of pregnancy, my friend commited suicide. Her parents, now Pro-Choice, blame it on themselves, for not letting her decide.
    It’s ok to be Pro-Life, as pregnacy is a beautiful thing, this being said, being Pro-Choice is also ok. People fighting over a womans body is wrong. So as of August 2019, I am officialy Pro-Womans-Desion. If you want get an abortion, thats fine, just be smart about it. If you think abortions are wrong, thats fine, too, just don’t push your ideas onto other people. Mama always said if you don’t have anything nice to say, say something else. This world has enough negativity as it is.

    Thank you for your perspectives on the subject!

    • Avatar
      HLI Staff August 27, 2019 at 9:30 AM - Reply

      Karyanne, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Let us say how sad we are for your friend’s loss. Regarding her rape and subsequent suicide, she should have been under psychiatric counseling for the rape; do you know if she was? This trauma needs to be dealt with all the tools we have, to help her through this difficult time. Even if your friend were not pregnant, following the rape she would naturally have been suffering and could also taken her life. We would still not recommend that any child in utero be aborted, because the killing will not help her trauma. In fact, that would actually add to her risk factors – post-abortive women have significantly higher risks for both depression and suicide. Both woman and child really need all the help and love we as a Church and Christian can give them. God bless.

    • Avatar
      chloe September 8, 2019 at 1:24 PM - Reply

      I am also doing some research on abortion for an argumentative essay at school. I was recently having a discussion over abortion with some of my friends, and they all thought that abortion should be allowed do to rape and or insest. They also said well it’s her body her choice. Well how do I explain to them that by choosing abortion, they are not making a decision for only their body, but for the little baby’s body inside of them?

      • Avatar
        HLI Staff September 10, 2019 at 10:50 AM - Reply

        Chloe, thank you for your question. We would refer you to our answer to K. Vandam. We would also add that rape/incest victims while they do exist, are a very, very small percentage of abortions. The pro-abortion side uses this argument to tug at one’s heartstrings. What they do not say is that almost all abortions are for convenience, and that if rape/incest is involved, there are many cases of women who bring these children to term and it brings healing. Good can come out of evil, and killing a child is never a solution, because of the trauma this alone would inflict on the women (see below) in addition to the rape and incest. And she should absolutely be under counseling. We hope this helps. You can also look for “post-abortion syndrome” online and you will see a multiplicity of resources that talk about its bad effects. Again, the pro-abortion side claims it doesn’t exist. We know this is a lie; they are not asking all the post-abortive women or the authors of studies that document these terrible effects.

  9. Avatar
    Will Emerson September 8, 2019 at 1:34 PM - Reply

    Abortion and birth control are an abomination and should be illegal in any and all circumstances. It’s a shame our society has come to accept these things.

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