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Why Would a Rape Victim Choose Life?

The social context

When I asked a local political candidate for her position on abortion, she spoke for a lot of people when she said: “I don’t support abortion as a form of birth control, but when a woman has been raped I think there should be a choice.”

Abortions after rape are only a tiny percentage of the total number of abortions, even smaller than the percentage that are related to a potential disability in the baby. Yet they feature disproportionately in public debate.

“The frequent references to it leave the false impression that pregnancy due to rape is common, rather than rare.” Randy Alcorn, Why Prolife, p. 79.

Even though pro-choice advocates support access to abortion for everyone, they often focus upon rape victims. A good question to ask someone who argues for abortion in cases of rape is “If you support abortions for rape victims but not abortion in all cases, will you then work with me to reduce the number of other abortions?”

Would an abortion help a rape victim?

The public debate also assumes that abortion is the best thing for a woman who has been raped. This makes sense if you assume that abortion is a benign event that usually does not leave long term emotional scars. The truth is, however, that many women do experience trauma as a result of their abortion decisions. This is especially the case for those who held pro-life values prior to the difficulties that led them to abort.

“It is hard to imagine a worse therapy for a woman who’s been raped than the guilt and turmoil of having her child killed.” Randy Alcorn, Why Prolife, p. 81.


The assumption that abortion is the best thing for a raped woman to do means that there is often pressure to take this course. As with many other abortions, it is easier for the people who are close to the woman if the problem is “taken away”. One fictional account of what can happen in real life is Francine Rivers’ book The Atonement Child. This riveting book is well worth a read.

The child is not guilty

Like rape, abortion is an act of violence. The woman who has been the victim of a violent act is now encouraged to become an aggressor herself. A child should not be punished for the sins of his or her father. A rape victim should not be encouraged to continue the spiral of violence.

“Having and holding an innocent child can do much more good for a victimized woman than the knowledge that an innocent child died in a fruitless attempt to reduce her trauma.” Randy Alcorn, Why Prolife, p. 80.


This blog post was created in answer to one of the questions I have received.

Anonymous –   – (May 15, 2009 at 2:34 PM)  

Hi Sherrin,
interesting facts about the improbability of rape to result in pregnancy. I wonder about a perhaps even more horrible scenario of incest, which may occur over a prolonged period of time, and often with younger victims. Do you think that abortion is necessary/justified in any situations?

Jenny

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