Brazilian Congresswoman Whose Mother was Raped, Voices Opposition to Abortion
Brazilian Congresswoman Fatima Pelaes shared her personal testimony on the floor of the Brazilian House of Representatives during a vote on a measure that would protect the unborn from abortion. She told lawmakers that her mother was a victim of rape and decided to let her live rather than kill her through abortion. "I was born after a rape, I cannot support abortion!" she exclaimed.
On Wednesday, Brazil's House of Representatives passed the measure that grants legal protection to the unborn. It now will go before the Senate.
The Defense of Life Movement (DLM) in Porto Alegre said that during the vote on the measure, Pelaes took the podium and told her story. Her mother was the victim of rape while she was in a co-ed prison. At first she wanted to get an abortion, but she ended up deciding to keep her baby.
When she finished her remarks, DLM reported that "Everyone was moved and in tears. Representative Arnaldo Faria took the podium and asked for a response that would match the testimony by Fatima Pelaes. 'My colleagues, after this testimony, how can we not support the life of the unborn?'"
The DLM urged Brazilians to continue to pressure their lawmakers as the measure prepares to go before the entire Senate.
[21May2010, Brasilia, Brazil; CNA May 24, 2010]
Woman Conceived Through Rape Pleads for Life of Unborn Child in Argentina
A 21 year-old Argentinean woman, whose mother is mentally ill and was raped in 1987, has written a moving letter pleading for the life of an unborn child of a 22 year-old woman from Santiago del Estero who is also mentally handicapped and was raped. The child’s maternal grandparents are asking permission to have the baby aborted.
“My twin sister and I are today almost 22 years-old and despite all of the misfortunes (as my grandmother says) that we have experienced, we are two warriors of life who are anxious to do something good with our lives, and I think this three month-old unborn baby hopes for the same,” the woman wrote in her letter published by Tucuman Noticias.
The woman, who preferred to remain anonymous, said she identified with the situation in Santiago del Estero, but not from the point of view of the law or the woman who was raped, but rather “from the point of view of the baby.”
In her letter, she explained that both she and her sister were raised by their grandmother and that her mother is “like a big sister.” She recalled that her mother suffered “a lot in her life” and that although she had experienced a lot of problems, she had a happy childhood.
She acknowledged that at different times she wondered why she didn’t have a father, until after much insistence as a teenager her mother finally told her the truth: “You don’t have a father. I was raped. I didn’t tell you before because I couldn’t tell a 12 year-old girl that she was the result of a rape and that I was willing to give you both away or give you up for adoption.”
“She thought about giving us up for adoption but she never considered abortion. She never considered taking away our chance to live, even though she was mentally ill, she never considered killing us, even though she didn’t want us,” the woman recalled, saying she loves her mother “because she is my mother” and because “she had the courage to tell me what happened and I can share her pain with her.”
She thanked Luciano Pavan, a lawyer from Santiago del Estero, for offering to adopt the baby of the mentally handicapped woman whose parents want to force her to undergo an abortion.
“If the family of the young woman can’t or don’t want to (take care of the baby) for whatever reason, I am happy to know that there are people who will and who are against abortion,” she wrote. [Buenos Aires, Argentina, Feb 5, 2009, http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/woman_conceived_through_rape_pleads_for_life_of_unborn_child_in_argentina/ ]
Julie Makimaa, 36, of Holland, MI, is the product of a rape.
Born in 1964, she was given up for adoption. She met her birth mother 21 years later and learned of the circumstances of her conception for the first time.
Since then, Mrs. Makimaa has done research on how many children are conceived by rape, and she published a book, "Victims and Victors," about violated women.
According to a 1996 study by the Medical University of South Carolina, 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year in the United States.
Of those, about 20,000 are aborted.
Here are excerpts from her Capitol Hill briefing last week:
"An overwhelming number of Americans feel abortion should be allowed for rape and incest. But the information that shapes their views is very one-sided. It presents abortion as the only solution, and that solution is presented without question.
"Many [people] have been convinced we need an exception to the right to life for rape and incest. We somehow believe the sacrifice of a few in rape and incest is the price we have to pay to obtain protections for the majority.
"In the late '60s and early '70s, abortion proponents in America recognized the abortion was viewed as a negative act.
"In order to gain abortion rights, they recognized they had to change the way most Americans viewed abortion, [to see] that abortion was beneficial, it was a compassionate solution. A woman pregnant by assault presents the perfect situation that convinced people that abortion is compassionate.
"The ACLU in the late '60s and early '70s searched for a rape victim who'd be willing to challenge the laws prohibiting abortion. They were unable to find a rape victim, but they did find Norma McCorvey, who became Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade, who claimed she was a victim of a gang rape by three men and a woman.
"It wasn't until many years afterwards that Norma revealed that was a lie.
"Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, her attorneys, needed an extreme case to make her look pitiable. Rape seemed to be the ticket. We've heard women should not be forced to carry a rapist's child, that a pregnancy would create unbearable psychological trauma, that the victim could never love a child conceived in an assault, that the child would be a constant reminder of her rape.
"The child is described as less valuable than the rest of us.
"The children will suffer physical and psychological deformities. Male children will be rapists. They will be criminals. Children carry the evil genes of their fathers. They will never love, never contribute to society. They will never have normal lives.
"This is the way the majority of Americans view rape and incest pregnancies. We don't want to inflict pain on this young mother. We want to help her. But we have been misguided in this help.
"We contacted 192 women who were pregnant through assault. Out of these 192 women, 133 of them carried to term. Of the 164 women pregnant through rape, 75 percent of these women carried to term.
"Of that 75 percent who carried to term, 64 percent of them are raising their own children. These women grew to love their child. They didn't view the child as the evil rapist's child. They grew to love the child as their child.
"Of the 28 girls pregnant through incest, 50 percent of them carried to term. Of those 50 percent, 60 percent are raising their children.
"The woman who is pregnant through incest typically is forced into abortion to hide what's going on. The family members are taking her to an abortion [center] because they don't want to be discovered and she's put back into the abuse.
"People forget that for a lot of young girls, the pregnancy is finally the way out, the proof where someone else is brought in and pulls her out of that situation.
"Women who carried their children to term grew to love their children, a bond was established with their child. They were victims in the assault, but they chose a higher path. They said, 'I was a victim, but I want to do something good' to redeem what happened to them, the pain they suffered.
"They told us over and over the most difficult part was the pregnancy but in the years that followed, they felt good about the decision they made.
"They kept the child or they released a child for adoption. They gave life to someone who many say shouldn't be here, shouldn't be born. But they felt there was some purpose to this life.
"[Of the] women who chose abortion, the incest victims were taken by their families to abortion clinics. There was no real choice in that.
"Because of the reaction of their families, they felt they could not even suggest or voice their feelings for this child. If they said, "What if I want to carry this child to term?" people reacted by saying, "What? You love this rapist's child?" They said the effects of the abortion caused greater trauma than the assault.
"The woman who has been a victim will suffer pain. There are days when she won't want to carry this child to term. But these women over and over have said, 'Knowing what I know now, giving life was a good decision.'"