Abuse / Violence / Forced Abortion

Calculating Pregnancy Probability Due to Rape


 [My mother] finally approved of her unwanted one, whom she had borned so long ago in such great pain and sorrow and humiliation …

    Some people disclaim their natural heritage. I always name my origin. It didn't hold me back and neither has my color. I was born in poverty. My father raped my mother when she was 12.

Now they've named a park for me in Chester, Pennsylvania.
                                                                                           Great Singer Ethel Waters




                                                                                     Possible Rape-Induced
Sociological, Physical, or Demographic Factor                             Pregnancies

Assume an initial sample rape victim
   population of 100,000.                                                            100,000
Factors Affecting the Woman's Fertility.
About one-third of all rape victims are
   postmenopausal or have not yet reached
   menarche (first menstruation), and are
   therefore generally sterile. Of those
   victims that are of childbearing age,
   47 percent have been rendered permanently
   sterile due to elective surgery or
   environmental effects. Finally, about 40
   percent of all non-sterile women of
   childbearing age are temporarily sterile
   due to contraception use. This means that
   (100% – 33%) X (100% – 47%) X (100% – 40%)
   = 18.9% of rape victims were fertile at
   the time of the attack.[A]                                        100,000 X 21.3% = 21,300
A woman is fertile only three days out of
   a typical 28-day cycle. Furthermore, even
   if all conditions are ideal and both man
   and woman are fertile, and intercourse takes
   place on every fertile day, pregnancy will
   take an average of five months (or a total
   of 15 fertile days out of five 28-day cycles)
   to achieve.[B,C]                                                      21,300 X (15/140) = 2,280
Factors Affecting the Rapist's Fertility.
Men in the United States have an infertility
   rate due to natural or surgical causes
   of about 25 percent. However, as a class,
   rapists have a much higher degree (57%) of
   erective or ejaculatory dysfunction serious
   enough to render them sterile.[D,E]
                                                                            2,280 X (100% – 57%) = 980
Rape is legally defined as penetration only;
   ejaculation need not be accomplished.
   Of those nonsterile rapists achieving
   penetration, only about half deposited sperm.[D,E]
                                                                                           980 X 50% = 490

CONCLUSION: These calculations show that, on the average, 490 per 100,000 women who are raped become pregnant in the United States.

This is equivalent to 0.490 percent, or about one-half of one percent.

References. [A] R.B. Everett and G.K. Jemerson. "The Rape Victim." Obstetrics and Gynecology. 50, 1977, page 88. Also data based upon telephone communications with Dr. Charles Pratt, Survey of Family Growth Division, National Center for Health Statistics, April 4, 1978, and Planned Parenthood-World Population on April 4, 1978. Summarized in testimony by Congressman Thomas J. Bliley, Jr., (R-Va.) on July 25, 1983, and reprinted in the next day's Congressional Record. Also see United States Bureau of the Census. Reference Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States. 1990, United States Government Printing Office. Table 99, "Contraceptive Use By Women, 15-44 Years Old, By Age, Race, Marital Status, and Method of Contraception: 1982." [B] R. Pearl. The Natural History of Population. New York: Oxford University Press, 1939. Pages 72 to 79. [C] V. Seltzer. "Medical Management of the Rape Victim." Journal of the American Medical Women's Association. 32, 1977, page 141. [D] C. Groth, A. Nicholas, and Ann Wolbert Burgess. "Sexual Dysfunction During Rape." New England Journal of Medicine, October 6, 1977, pages 764 to 766. [E] M. Dahlke, et al. "Identification of Semen in 500 Patients Seen Because of Rape."  American Journal of Clinical Pathology. 68, 1977, page 740.





         (2)                  (3)                   (4)                (5)                 (6)
                                            Rape          Estimated   Pregnancies      Legal
                  Reported       Reporting         Total           Caused       Abortions
Year             Rapes            Ratio             Rapes         By Rape     Performed

1973            37,662             55.5%            68,000             333           744,600
1974            40,008             52.8%            76,000             372           898,600
1975            41,501             56.2%            74,000             363        1,034,200
1976            43,222             54.1%            80,000             392        1,179,300
1977            47,829             53.3%            90,000             441        1,316,700
1978            50,590             48.8%          104,000             510        1,409,400
1979            57,958             50.5%          115,000             564        1,497,700
1980            63,599             51.4%          124,000             608        1,553,900
1981            63,038             55.7%          113,000             554        1,577,300
1982            59,967             52.8%          114,000             559        1,573,900
1983            61,019             47.0%          130,000             637        1,575,000
1984            66,367             56.0%          119,000             583        1,577,200
1985            71,060             61.0%          116,000             568        1,588,100
1986            73,453             48.1%          153,000             750        1,475,000
1987            73,456             53.2%          138,000             676        1,510,000
1988            75,441             55.8%          135,000             662        1,550,000
1989            80,045             51.1%          157,000             769        1,610,000
1990            77,920             60.1%          130,000             637        1,575,000

AVERAGES, 1973 to 1990 (18 years)                              554   


CONCLUSIONS: An average of 554 rapes result in pregnancy each year. An average of 1,402,550 abortions are performed each year.

If every rape-caused pregnancy ended in abortion, 1 out of every 2,532 abortions would be performed for rape. This is 0.0395 percent of all abortions (just under four one hundredths of one percent).

IMPORTANT: Note that this table takes into consideration not only those rapes actually reported, but those that are not reported as well. The calculations performed by the United States Census Bureau divide the reported rapes by the reporting ratio to arrive at the total number of annual rapes committed in this country.

Calculations and References.

Column (2): Figures are from Bureau of the Census, United States Department of Commerce. National Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1990 (110th Edition), 960 pages. Table 289, "Forcible Rape Number and Rate, By Selected Characteristics: 1970 to 1988."

Column (3): Figures from the Statistical Abstract, unnumbered table entitled "Police Reporting Rates for Personal and Household Crimes: 1975 to 1987," page 168.

Column (4): Column (2) divided by Column (3). This calculation yields the total number of estimated reported and unreported rapes committed in this country by year.

Column (5): Figure 79-1 shows that the calculated probability of pregnancy from rape is about 490 per 100,000 assaults. Therefore, total pregnancies resulting from rape would equal Column (4) X 0.0049.

Column (6): Figures are from the Statistical Abstract. Table 100, "Legal Abortions Estimated Number, Rate, and Ratio, By Race: 1972 to 1985." Numbers of abortions for other years in this table are extracted from Centers for Disease Control and Alan Guttmacher Institute datasheets.

Verification With Studies. This number has been verified by several studies performed in the late 1960s. These studies, which are summarized in Figure 79-3, show that about one in 1,238 rapes result in pregnancy. Although 20 years old, the studies are entirely valid, because the basic parameters (as shown in Figure 79-1) remain the same.

No similar studies have been performed since 1970, because the liberalization or elimination of abortion laws have rendered the question of rape-induced pregnancies largely moot.





  Rapes                Pregnancies              Ratio

   54,000                      80                 1 out of 700    [1]
   86,000                      22                 1 out of 3,900 [2]
   14,400                        0                                        [3]
       914                       21                 1 out of 44      [4]
       117                         0                                        [5]
       524                         3                 1 out of 175    [6]

155,955                     126                 1 out of 1,238 (0.08%)  TOTAL

References. Note that all of these studies are more than 15 years old.

Again, NO comprehensive studies of this nature have been performed since the late 1960s, because the liberalization or elimination of abortion laws has rendered the question of pregnancies caused by rape largely moot…

Verification: The Louisiana Experience.

The state of Louisiana requires the most comprehensive reporting on abortions in the country. Therefore, its records are the best source for determining how frequent (or infrequent) abortions for rape really are.

In Louisiana, the abortionist must fill out a form entitled "Report of Induced Termination of Pregnancy" (Form #PHS 16-ab) for every abortion he commits. The form notes at the top that "Failure to complete and file this form is a crime."

Item 9d on this form is entitled "Reason for Pregnancy Termination."

The Office of Public Health of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals compiles these statistics.

Over the 14-year period 1975 to 1988, 202,135 abortions were performed in Louisiana.

Of these, the reasons were listed for 115,243 of them.

The reasons for these abortions are listed below:


Mother's mental health                                 114,231 (99.12%)
Mother's physical health                                      863   (0.75%)
Fetal deformity                                                    103   (0.09%)
Rape or incest                                                  

     46   (0.04%)

This means that, in Louisiana, 1 out of every 2,483 abortions is performed for rape or incest. This number, which is statistically very reliable due to the large sample population, almost precisely confirms the results of the calculations described earlier in this chapter.

The state of Missouri has noted similar ratios. In 1980, the state operated under court and Executive Orders to pay for rape and incest abortions for poor women. Not a single claim under these headings was submitted during the entire year.[7]