Redeeming Horror: Raped and Giving Birth

It was a flashpoint in the argument to legalize abortion–rape. How could anyone be so cruel as to suggest that woman who’s been raped has to carry the child of the rapist to term?

The surprising answer is that abortion is frequently pushed onto these rape victims, and abortion victimizes them further.

We are 45 years from the complete eradication of abortion laws that Roe v Wade and Doe v. Bolton enacted. Surprising is the scant discussion of the compelling subject of abortion because of rape or incest.

And there seems to be little interest in finding facts to support what was and still is assumed: That women who suffer rape and girls who suffer incest are better off having abortions than they are delivering babies.

But we have barely looked beneath the surface of this assumption.

If you seek official information from the National Institute of Health, you’ll be directed to an abstract of an article from 1996. Of the small number of pregnant women in the study (34), fifty percent chose abortion; 11.6 percent miscarried–(a miscarriage rate that is within normal range).

Another study of 37 women pregnant from rape showed that a large majority opted against abortion. “Dr. Sandra Mahkorn found that 75 to 85 percent chose against abortion.[1] This evidence alone should cause people to pause and reflect on the presumption that abortion is wanted or even best for sexual assault victims.”

Multiple factors play into the discussion: the woman’s view of abortion before she was assaulted and the idea that something redeemable can result from something horrible.

It’s interesting that few have replicated these studies. As if our impressions trump reality. And as if researchers fear results that would overturn our impressions.

And those impressions carry the same conclusion into the discussion of incest. But in cases of incest, abortion erases the evidence of a crime and allows abuse to continue.

“Studies show that incest victims rarely ever voluntarily agree to an abortion.[4]Instead of viewing the pregnancy as unwanted, the incest victim is more likely to see the pregnancy as a way out of the incestuous relationship because the birth of her child will expose the sexual activity. She is also likely to see in her pregnancy the hope of bearing a child with whom she can establish a true, loving relationship, one far different than the exploitive relationship in which she has been trapped.”

So it isn’t the way we thought it was. No matter which study we consider, assault victims are not lining up in great majorities to abort their pregnancies. They are not claiming that abortion saved them from something more horrible.
more recent survey of sexual assault victims–one that includes a much larger sample (192 women) than the studies cited above–states that 80 percent of women who aborted children conceived from assault regretted their abortions. No women who gave birth expressed regret.

Missing in much of this discussion is the voice of the children. Rebecca Kiessling is one such voice. Conceived as a result of rape and later adopted, she speaks for the tiniest persons involved.

“Most importantly, I’ve learned, I’ll be able to teach my children, and I teach others that your value is not based on the circumstances of your conception, your parents, your siblings, your mate, your house, your clothes, your looks, your IQ, your grades, your scores, your money, your occupation, your successes or failures, or your abilities or disabilities — these are the lies that are perpetuated in our society.”

Our worth comes from our Creator. He values the littlest ones no matter how they came to be. We can value them too by helping their mothers. Those who have suffered such abuse need not suffer more.

It’s time to tell the truth about rape and abortion. Abortion harms women and kills children–however they came to be.


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27 Replies to “Redeeming Horror: Raped and Giving Birth”

    1. Thanks for commenting, Melissa. Our worth–in the child and in the mother. And perhaps if we taught that principle more, there would be less of such oppression. God bless!

  1. Very difficult subject matter but you presented the facts well. The effect of decisions made last a lifetime either way. We need more Christian organizations to offer solutions to these women instead of standing outside the abortion clinic screaming and yelling. We must be the loving arms of Christ to help them.

  2. Amen. So few women who’ve had abortion gain the courage to talk about it. Those few who do typically regret it from what I’ve seen and heard and your facts back that.

  3. You wrote about a tough topic. Thank you for taking a stand for mother’s and their babies. This message needs to be heard! Your insight on our worth not being dependent upon our circumstances but instead on our creator is the best part of your post! So many women who have been abused and their children who’ve been born from non-ideal situations need to know how valued they are. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Wow – I didn’t know the stats on rape and incest victims’ perspectives on abortion. Sadly, you don’t hear of these reports. I think it might help to change some minds! I know more and more people are seeing abortion differently these days, and opting not to have one.

    Nevertheless, I just read that the birth rate is actually lower than our abortion rate in America. We abort more babies than we birth! That is just terrible. Thank you for your post, and may God bless your efforts to educate people about this.

  5. Lots of really good information here. The research and facts can help us present an informed argument with authority. The blanket statements such as women want abortions after rape or incest are not a representation of all. And overall not protecting the women’s overall emotional and spiritual health.

  6. These statistics are eye opening. I never considered this perspective ever. Thanks for being a voice for those who so many are refusing to let speak.

  7. I agree with the other comments. This is a difficult topic. It’s difficult to dive into without getting in trouble emotionally.

    It’s essential to see the intrinsic value of each human being.

    Edna Davidsen

  8. This is a terrific perspective. I was a pregnant teen. Everyone assumes they know what is best, but murdering your own baby is the most harmful choice. I was pressured to abort. By God’s grace, I resisted and never even considered the option. Thank God! Later I worked in a pro life crisis pregnancy center. When encountering pregnant young women, all of them were relieved to find that we did not pressure them, we offered support. With that support, they opted to carry their babies to term. Seldom did one opt for the other option. Young women who have been raped or are victims of incest need even more support. Great data and affirmation of life here, Nancy!

    1. Great comment, Melinda! I too was a teen mom. My child grew and had children. Her oldest child has had a child. All those people could have been missing. That would be the saddest thing. Thanks and God bless!

  9. Wow- tough topic to tackle, but you laid out the information and evidence very well. Each one of those little children is a creation of God Himself, and we have no right to dictate which one does or does not live. Thank you for getting a good discussion on this topic started!

    1. Thanks, Paul. I heard a woman who is the product of a rape speak about her life as an adoptee. Quite enlightening. And so glad she spoke out to give me a face for this situation. God bless!

  10. Nancy,
    I have never heard a discussion about this very important issue. You are right, most of us just make assumptions. And you know what they say about people who make assumptions. I love the way you ended this post by reminding us that we are all valuable to our creator and that all those judgements come from humans, not from God.

    1. Thank you, Erica. We all need to do the work of pondering and not assuming. In this busy life, it’s too easy to miss something important. It’s for all of us! God bless!

  11. This is such an emotional and challenging issue. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your research. I pray for every woman who has experienced the trauma of being raped and then discovering she is carrying a child. I hold them, and their challenges, deep in my heart.

  12. Great post on a controversial subject.

    Minor suggestions–I would add a blank space between each paragraph for easier reading.

    I would also mention that the study was on women who were raped. I tripped over that and got confused.

    Of the small number of pregnant women in the study [who were raped]

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