Saturday, September 29, 2012

But what about rape?

When there is an unwanted pregnancy, I believe abortion is never the best option. I believe there is always a better alternative.

But what, you might ask, if the pregnancy is the result of rape?

A woman who has suffered rape has had a terrible experience and needs all the love and all the care she can get. What she does not need is the additional trauma of having the baby torn from her body. Half the baby is the father's. But the other half is the mother's. Given time, she can grow to love that baby, and that child can become a blessing to society.

Besides, that baby is innocent. The baby did not ask to be conceived in that fashion. So why should an innocent baby have to have its life ended because of the sin of its father?

But you are a bloke, you might say. What do you know?

Every pregnancy involves the action of a man somewhere, and every man was once himself a foetus. Abortion is not just a women's issue. But true, I have not been in that terrible position personally. Perhaps we ought to consider the opinions of people better qualified to speak.

A number of women who had been pregnant as a result of physical assault formed a group which they called the Ad Hoc Committee of Women Pregnant by Sexual Assault. Here is what they have to say:

Many people have strong opinions about abortion is 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. . . 

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 the 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 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. . .

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. . . 

From personal experience, many of us discovered that abortion only added to our trauma and created additional obstacles to finding healing. . .

From our perspective the issues and emotions involved are not as straightforward as most people presume. That is why those of us who have actually been in this situation need and deserve to be heard. . . 

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. 

Peter Saunders, who quotes the women's remarks above on his blog, also has the details of what claims to be the largest survey ever undertaken of women who became pregnant as a result of sexual assault. It surveyed 192 such women.

Some 29 per cent had abortions, 69 per cent continued with their pregnancy and a small percentage miscarried. In many cases, there was strong pressure or demands to abort, and some, especially teenage girls, were forced to have an abortion.

Many women who had abortions said abortion increased the trauma they were experiencing. Nearly 80 per cent of those who had an abortion said abortion had been the wrong solution.

But here's the most telling statistic:

Of those women who decided to continue with the pregnancy, not one regretted doing so.