Abortion is to rape and incest what morphine is to pain — a superficially appealing, temporarily relieving, woefully inadequate response to something serious. The immediate benefits only mask the deeper wounds, which can fester to the point of great injury. A physician would never 'treat' his patient only with morphine unless his was a hopeless case.
To 'treat' rape and incest pregnancies with abortion is a way of saying these women are hopeless cases — violated, tainted, damaged goods, for whom abortion is a way to scrub away the 'scarlet letter.'
Women Who Became Pregnant Through Rape Renew Calls for Congressional Hearings: Group Asks Both Sides to Listen to and Respond to Real Needs of Pregnant Sexual Assault Victims
We are members of the Ad Hoc Committee of Women Pregnant by Sexual Assault (WPSA). This group was formed eight years ago to petition Congress to hold hearings on the issue of abortion in cases of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. So far, however, this petition has not been heard by political leaders on either side of the aisle, or by most in the pro-choice or pro-life communities.
Many people have strong opinions about abortion in cases of pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. However, the real experiences and needs of women who have actually experienced pregnancies from sexual assault are often ignored, even though our experiences are frequently used to promote abortion on demand.
Recently, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding remarks made by Congressman Todd Akin about abortion and rape. From the perspective of those of us who have actually been through a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, people on both sides of the abortion debate, and the media fanning the flames of this controversy, are getting it wrong.
On one side are those who argue that pregnancies resulting from rape and incest occur so rarely that we shouldn't let it impact public policy on abortion. This is hurtful to women who do become pregnant from rape or incest and who need support. It can also lead to questioning as to whether a woman or girl is telling the truth about being raped.
On the other side are those who perpetuate the myth that women and girls who become pregnant from sexual assault overwhelmingly want, need and benefit from having abortions. This also hurts women and fans the flames of prejudice toward those who do not want to have an abortion, even leading some to question whether a woman or girl who wishes not to abort has "really" been raped. And it can lead to strong pressure to abort by those who think the woman or girl does not know what is really best for her.
Despite the belief that most women in such circumstances would want an abortion, a national study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that only half of those who became pregnant from rape had an abortion. Another survey of pregnant sexual assault victims found that only 30 percent had abortions.
Whether the true number is closer to 30 or 50 percent doesn't matter. What matters is that women and girls who become pregnant from rape or incest need real support and resources that meet their needs. In many cases, however, these needs are not met because most people assume that abortion will solve the problem.
In fact, there are no studies proving that this claimed psychological benefit occurs in general, or even for certain groups of women pregnant by sexual assault. And from personal experience, many of us discovered that abortion only added to our trauma and created additional obstacles to finding healing.
Many people naturally fear themselves or someone they love being raped, or becoming pregnant as a result of rape. We have been on the other side of that fear. From our perspective the issues and emotions involved are not as straightforward as most people presume. This is why those of us who have actually been in this situation need and deserve to be heard.
Delving into these issues properly requires more than time and space that can be given to it here. And that is exactly why we are calling for Congressional hearings to give us a chance to finally be heard.
It is our hope that the media attention given to this controversy over Rep. Akin's comments will present an opportunity to break through the barricades preventing us from being heard.
Women who have had pregnancies resulting from sexual assault should be given a leadership role in discussing this important issue. However, most of the debate surrounding this issue has taken place without input from us or other women like us.
We are especially concerned — and offended — when our circumstances are exploited to promote abortion on demand, especially when there is no platform being offered for us to voice our real needs and concerns.
Our situation is not uncommon, and our needs are worthy of public notice and discussion in terms of public policy and health care directives.
The members of WPSA do not claim to know all the answers to this difficult issue. But we are certain that people on both sides of the abortion debate need to listen and learn from those of us who have actually been there and struggled with these issues. Otherwise, those who do become pregnant through sexual assault will continue to be overlooked and will fail to receive the support they need.
Please listen to us and give us the opportunity to speak about this important issue.
Heather Wilson, Deana Schroeder and other members of The Ad Hoc Committee of Women Pregnant By Sexual Assault
Download the petition to Congress and state legislatures here– http://www.theunchoice.com/pdf/OnePageFactSheets/HardCasesPetition.pdf
Women who have experienced a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest and who wish to join this effort can sign the petition here–
[http://afterabortion.org/2012/an-open-letter-to-congress-rnc-dnc-and-the-media/ ; Media interviews can be arranged at [email protected] or (217) 525-8202.]
Former rape counselor Sandra Mahkorn, M.D., says that:
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.
What is more caring — to sneer at a rape victim's problem and just tell her to 'get rid of it,' or to respect the life within her and give her whatever real help she needs?
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 who is assaulted can find healing and peace by going out into the street and punching the first person he or she sees.
Sandra Mahkorn, M.D., former rape counselor, "Pregnancy and Sexual Assault." The Psychological Aspects of Abortion [Washington, D.C.: University Publications of America, 1979], pages 65 and 66.
Manipulating the 'System.'
Women who are willing to kill their own preborn children for mere convenience obviously see lying as a relatively small crime. Rebecca Chalker and Carol Downer admit in their A Woman's Book of Choices that "Before abortion was legal, women sometimes got abortions by claiming that they had been raped."[73 — Rebecca Chalker and Carol Downer. A Woman's Book of Choices: Abortion, Menstrual Extraction, RU-486 [Four Walls Eight Windows Press, Post Office 548, Village Station, New York, New York 10014, 1992], 271 pages, page 39. ]
Pro-abortion women have continued to lie on a huge scale, as proven by the Hyde Amendment's varying effects upon the level of Federal funding of abortions since 1977.
The Hyde Amendment cut off Federal funding for convenience abortions, and paid for 17,983 abortions to save the life of the mother and for rape and incest in Fiscal Year 1981.
In Fiscal Years 1983 and 1984, only abortions to save the life of the mother were allowed under the Amendment, and the average number of abortions paid for during these two years plunged to 411.
This means that about (17,983 – 411) = 17,582 abortions were performed for claimed "rape and incest" under the Hyde Amendment in 1981.
This brings up a very interesting point. To begin with, about 20 percent of all women in the United States qualify for Federal abortion funding under this Amendment due to their low incomes. As mentioned above, the average number of rapes in the United States each year over the period 1980-1997 inclusive was about 179,980.
If this number is divided by five in order to find out approximately how many low-income women were raped during these years, we arrive at 36,000.
In other words, these low-income women are claiming that (17,582/36,000) = 49 percent of all of their rapes resulted in pregnancies!
To take this analysis one step further, Figure 3-5 shows that about 0.8 percent of all women who are raped actually become pregnant as a result of the act. This means that the number of women who claimed that they were raped to get a free Federal abortion was (49 percent/0.8 percent) = 61 times the number that were actually raped.
In other words, more than 98 percent of them lied to get a free taxpayer-paid abortion!
As former abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson has said so eloquently, "If a part of a human community were not at stake, no woman should be required to undergo the degradation of bearing a child in these [rape and incest] circumstances, but even degradation, shame, and emotional disruption are not the moral equivalent of life. Only life is."
In any case, how many persons think that there should be capital punishment for rapists? Obviously, not too many.
If this 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?
It is possible to make an accurate estimate by taking into consideration Federal Bureau Investigation reporting percentages and known fertility factors that affect both the rapist and his victim.
Figure 79-1 shows calculations of the estimated rate of rape-caused pregnancies in this country using statistics from the Census Bureau and various leading researchers. This rate of rape-caused pregnancies is then used to calculate the total number of resulting pregnancies in this country over the period 1973 to 1992 as shown in Figure 79-2.
These calculations show that, on the average, about 550 women per year become pregnant as a result of rape.
Using this figure, this means that, since Roe v. Wade in 1973, an average of 0.04% (one twenty-fifth of one percent) of all abortions have been performed for rape, or one of every 2,500!
Note the quote:
Dr. Diamond notes that there is a far "lower than expected incidence of pregnancy following forcible rape" (p. 44).
Covering reports of thousands of forcible rapes in 1.) Minnesota (1977), 2.) Cook County, Illinois (1967), 3.) Erie County, New York (1967), and 4.) Cuyahoga County, Ohio, not a single pregnancy was reported. "There is no litigated case in which denial of `morning-after' pills following rape has resulted in a greater risk of pregnancy" (pp. 45, 46). As per Dr. Diamond, "in all likelihood the woman is not going to become pregnant in the first place. Thus, what reasons could be given for taking any abortifacient…"
[Msgr. Kevin McMahon "Moral Issues in Catholic Health Care" in 2004, Manufacturer: Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, ISBN: 0975317105]
Eugene F. Diamond, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Past Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, wrote in the “To the Editor” section of the April 11, 1985 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine:
Pregnancy is rare after a single act of forcible rape. In a prospective study of 4000 rapes in Minnesota, there were no pregnancies. In a retrospective study covering nine years in Chicago, there were no pregnancies. In a prospective study of 117 rapes there were no pregnancies among either the 17 victims who received DES or the 100 who did not.
Statistically speaking, it appears something happens in a rape, either with the victim or with the perpetrator, that reduces the incidence of pregnancy. Fertility specialists continually debate the role of emotions, unresolved conflicts and trauma play in female infertility. As you review the literature you will see there are strong convictions on both sides…
It is hard for any of us to get past the emotion of the rape experience. Its violation of human dignity and intimacy is atrocious. The memory never disappears and an entire future is altered. Akin, as many others of a pro-life persuasion, want harsher punishments for rapists. They want greater support services and protection for women in danger of rape and for those who have been raped.
They also want to protect a woman who will never forget her rape from compounding the tragedy of terminating her own child’s life.
Holmes MM, Resnick HS, Kilpatrick DG, Best CL. Rape-related pregnancy: Estimates and descriptive characteristics from a national sample of women. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 1996; 175(2): 320-5.