How to Defend Life, in cases of Rape and Incest

When proposing pro-life laws how should you respond to the “rape” question?

Personalize the issue: rape-conceived people are real human beings. More than 32,000 people, conceived by rape, are born every year in the USA1. We cannot discriminate against this people group by diminishing their value. Talk about individuals who were rape-conceived, show their pictures, create compassion for them.

In a recent five-state study commissioned by Georgia Right to Life, Right to Life of Michigan and Personhood USA2, we can demonstrate that people’s opinion of this issue could be dramatically swayed within the one-hour on-line interactive survey. Only one percent still believe in exceptions when we invoke the story of a woman conceived in rape or a woman who became pregnant by rape.  The most compelling argument is to appeal to our sense of justice–we don’t punish innocent people for someone else’s crime.  The worst response is to diminish this issue by saying it is rare.

Doesn’t an abortion help the pregnant rape victim?

An abortion does not make the memories of the rape go away, it only ends a life and adds physical and emotional pain and distress.

A 2006 Study by Dr. David Fergusson found that women who had abortions are three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than women who are pregnant but do not abort.3

Over forty peer reviewed studies have confirmed that abortion significantly increases risk for several mental health problems including: depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.4                                                                       

Hasn’t the rape victim endured enough violence?

Supporting abortion for a woman who has conceived by rape is “confused compassion.” When a woman is raped and becomes pregnant, there are two victims: the woman and the child. Whenever a crime hurts two people, we care for them both. We don’t end the life of one hoping it will help the other. Pregnancy is temporary but the death of a child through abortion is permanent. We must offer the woman counseling, care, support and not add to her emotional and physical distress by encouraging abortion. Rape can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); so can abortion. 5

The Alan Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s research organization, estimates that as many as 91 percent of all women who have had abortions may suffer from physical and psychological “post-procedural trauma.” 6  We must offer these traumatized women support for their pregnancy, birth and parenting, promoting a culture of life and healing! 

“I would definitely discourage a woman from having an abortion. While it may seem to be the quickest and easiest solution to a painful, humiliating ‘problem,’ it is a band-aid approach with horrible ramifications of its own. For me, the effects of abortion are much more far-reaching than the effects of the rape in my life.” — Testimony from a rape victim who had an abortion after learning she had conceived.7

What about Incest, shouldn’t these children be aborted?

It is a fallacy that every child conceived by incest will be born with birth defects. Many people are born with birth defects everyday who were not conceived through incest—each one of their lives is valuable and deserves to be protected. Unfortunately, most incest victims are forced into abortions to cover up the crime of the perpetrator.

Joan Kemp, a rape crisis center counselor and a woman who has had an abortion, says, “In every case of abortion after incest with which I am familiar, the abortion was arranged by the perpetrator or his wife, with the purpose of concealing the incest. In one case, a young woman had seven abortions before she was fourteen, and the incest continued.” 8

1Holmes, Melisa M.; Resnick, Heidi S.; Kilpatrick, Dean G.; Best, Connie L. (1996). “Rape-related pregnancy: Estimates and descriptive characteristics from a national sample of women”. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 175 (2): 320–4; discussion 324–5.

2http://www.savethe1.com/?page_id=426#sthash.Hd0gmx46.dpuf

3Fergusson, Dr. David. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines 2006

4Shupping, Dr. Martha and Dr. Christopher Gaeck.Big Girls Do Cry: the Hidden Truth of Abortion. 2008

5 Anne C. Speckhard and Vincent M. Rue, “Postabortion Syndrome: An Emerging Public Health Concern,” Journal of Social Issues 48,  Issue 3 (1992): 96

6 Planned Parenthood’s internal report  (“Department of Education’s 3-year Plan and Long Range Goals, 1990-93”)  pp 29

7 Give Us Love, Not Abortions: The Voices of Sexual Assault Victims and Their Children, David C. Reardon and Julie Makimaa, ed. (1992), pp. 23-27

8 Joan Kemp, “Abortion: The Second Rape,” Sisterlife, Winter 1990, p. 5

Are you pro-life EXCEPT in the case of Mary Rathke?

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“I am not the rapist’s baby. I am a beautiful, happy-to-be-alive mother, minister and person who deserves equal protection.” ~ Mary Rathke, conceived by rape

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) does not have exceptions, it does not exclude those who are albino or have vitiligo because they may appear “white” to some. Please do not leave me out of your pro-life bills. Be consistent. Be pro-life for ALL people including those conceived by rape or incest .

Mary Rathke is available for testimony. As part of “Save the 1,”she is connected with many others who are personally effected by and well-versed in this issue. We can connect you with people in your area to bring together a group of rape-conceived and mothers-from-rape, to speak at press conferences and hearings. Share our story!

Mary Rathke is a licensed minster and works with the homeless. She is a “Save the 1” board director and president of HELPeople, INC. She has spoken for various pro-life events, radio programs, press conferences—ie., International Pro-Life Leadership Conference–and is featured in a state-wide conceived-in-rape pro-life commercial campaign. She is endorsed by Dr. James Dobson as a pro-life speaker.

If you were conceived in rape, incest or conceived a child in rape or incest and would like to have your information shared with Save the 1, please fill out the form below;