During a Pro Life sidewalk vigil, a young man shouted from his pickup, “What about Rape or Incest, are you going to punish the woman twice?” Obviously Pro Life advocates have no intention of compounding the trauma of violent rape and incest for the victim.
But it does beg the question, just how prevalent are pregnancies due to rape and incest, and, is abortion a better choice for the victims?
After two weeks of research, I can tell you that neither side of this debate is all that forthcoming. But, using FBI, CDC, RAINN, pro-choice writers for the Science Journal and other sources and studies, here is my best analysis. (Sorry for the direct descriptions for some of the forms of assault but it is critical to the understanding of the issues.)
Discussion of Pregnancy due to Rape and Incest: (Note, 90% of all sexual assault victims are girls women but 10% are boys or men)
The CDC estimates that there are over 625,000 incidences of Sexual Assault and Incest. Their definition of Sexual Assault includes harassment, fondling, rape of various types, etc.. In other words, it includes groups of assault that cannot result in pregnancy. The only rape or incest that can result in pregnancy has to involve vaginal penetration during or just prior to ovulation, and unprotected ejaculation by a fertile male assailant. Assume that the girl or woman was ovulating and the unprotected ejaculation took place. What are the other factors that would prevent pregnancy or would have made it impossible: (1) (2) (3) (4)
- The woman was using some form of birth control, pills, shots or IUD.
- 93% of women of childbearing age use some form of birth control
- 80% of sexually active teenagers use birth control;
- The woman was post-menopausal. (10-14% depending on statistical source)
- The girl was prepubescent. (15% of all sexual assault are on girls 12 and under)
- The victim was administered a “morning after” pill if she went to a hospital
- The victim was not ovulating at the time of the attack and the hospital gave the women a drug to prevent ovulation.
The RAINN organization estimates that 3,200 pregnancies occur per year due to incest or rape. The American Life League study of rape and incest puts the average number of pregnancies at 554. This is a huge disparity pointing to the need for more recent and accurate data regarding incest, rape, pregnancy and abortion. Most studies cite other studies conducted back in the early 1990s and early 2000s. Be that as it may, using the higher number to justify abortion is a complete fallacy. Add in the fact that half of the victims have an abortion (1,600), 32% keep their baby (1,024), 6% adopt their baby out to other parents (192), and 12% have miscarriages due to the rape trauma (384), this means that only .12% or 1 in 825 pregnancies take place due to rape or incest. Many of the 1,600 victims had no counseling regarding their choices, the potential impact on their long-term emotional wellness nor post abortion counseling to deal with emotional consequences of having the abortion, or the life choice may have been higher.
It is pretty sad that we cannot provide the 1,600 rape or incest victims who abort their child with a balanced counseling regime prior to any life or death decision has to be made on behalf of the baby. It is an automatic knee jerk reaction of the pro-choice groups that a child of rape is some inherent aberrant of nature that need to be snuffed out to save humanity. How about the long-term impacts on the mental health of these mothers? Victims of rape suffer the following as a result of Rape (3):
- 3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
- 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
- 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
- 26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
- 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
It is obvious from these statistics that the rape and incest victims are not even receiving good mental health treatment to deal with the rape or incest, let alone piling on that trauma with the trauma of an abortion! The trauma induced by the rape or incest is exactly the same as those suffered by a large percentage of women who have undergone abortions, especially after being a victim of rape. (5) (6) While the abortion after a rape can lead to the same trauma as the rape itself, it is difficult to convince the mother that she is not at fault for aborting the baby. In the case of the rape or incest, the victim is clearly NEVER at fault. In the case of abortion, the mother is at least complicit in the decision to terminate the life of the baby.
In a civil society it is difficult to understand why we cannot provide these victims with dignity by providing them with the best psychological and physiological choices rather than a knee jerk “you have to abort now!” reaction. People wonder why a liberal such as Martin Sheen would be Pro-Life and Anti-Abortion. The answer is simple. His wife is the child of a rape victim. Sheen sees first hand that the value of the offspring is in no way connected to the tragedy of the rape or incest.
Life vs Personal Responsibility
Even the one of the worst crimes we can imagine as compassionate human beings, that of rape and incest, cannot justify the killing of 1,600 babies by abortion, but we continue to do so in order to justify the 1,320,000 abortions we perform annually in the US. But the real reasons behind the 1,320,000 abortions are these according to a 2005 study by Lawrence B. Finer, Lori F. Frohwirth, Lindsay A. Dauphinee, Susheela Singh and Ann M. Moor: (7)
- 25%-Not ready for a child or the timing is wrong
- 23%-Can’t afford a baby now
- 19%-Have completed my childbearing and do not want any more babies
- 8%-Don’t want to be a single mother or I am having relationship problems
- 7%-Don’t feel mature enough to raise a child or I feel too young
- 4%-Would interfere with education or career plans
- 3%-Physical problem with my health
If 93% of adult women of child-bearing age and 80% of teenagers use birth control, why can’t these 1,320,000 women, and men, (assuming only one abortion per women per year) exercise some form of control over their own behavior, and men you are just as guilty as the women, and prevent the pregnancy in the first place! Irresponsible behavior on our part does not justify the killing of 1,320,000 babies per year. Don’t try to blame this on teenagers either. 17% of all abortions are by teenagers with over 50% of the total abortions being performed on women in the 20s.
It is not about Rape and Incest!
It is time to stop kidding ourselves with all of the rhetoric about a “woman’s right to choose”. Abortion is about convenience for the women and men who abort their babies. No other species on earth violates the rule of nature that the protection of offspring and the survival of the species is the paramount force of their existence. We cast aside babies using cruel and inhumane methods just to demonstrate our “superiority”! The “Right to Life” is not our “Right”, but our responsibility to ourselves and the survival of our species, not to mention our moral duty, and our obedience to God’s commandments as Christians!
(1) http://www.guttmacher.org/in-the-know/; Review sections on contraception, abortion and teens.
(2) Pregnancies Resulting from Rape http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims:
In 2004-2005, 64,080 women were raped.9 According to medical reports, the incidence of pregnancy for one-time unprotected sexual intercourse is 5%. By applying the pregnancy rate to 64,080 women, RAINN estimates that there were 3,204 pregnancies as a result of rape during that period.
(3) http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims: World Health Organization. 2002 study
(5) David C. Reardon, Julie Makimaa, and Amy Sobie, eds., Victims and Victors: Speaking Out about Their Pregnancies, Abortions, and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books,2000), 2
(6) Sandra Mahkorn, “Pregnancy and Sexual Assault. ”The Psychological Aspects of Abortion (Mall and Watts 1979), 53-72
(7) Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspective, 2005 study by Lawrence B. Finer, Lori F. Frohwirth, Lindsay A. Dauphinee, Susheela Singh and Ann M. Moor