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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rape, Abortion and Victims

Rape is a horrible crime on many different levels. It may just be the worst crime one person can commit against another, short of murder--and in some ways it might be considered worse than murder, since the victim has to live with the scars of the crime.

A rape which results in a pregnancy can lead even many people who would otherwise oppose abortion in most circumstances to consider it justified in this situation.

After all, not only has the woman been assaulted in the worst way possible, she now has growing inside her a reminder of the terrible crime.

So is it reasonable not to abort the child conceived in rape?

Consider this story from the British Daily Mail, as highlighted by LifeSiteNews. This is the story of a 16-year old girl who was gang raped, yet chose to love and keep her child:

She was conceived on a cold December evening when Elizabeth - then a 16-year-old virgin - was dragged into the back of the van and raped.

All that Elizabeth will be able to tell Phoebe one day is that her father was a stranger in a hooded top who forced himself upon her.

She has no idea of the man's age, ethnic background, even height, such was the confusion of that evening. Indeed, he could be one of three possible individuals.

One of the few things that Elizabeth is sure of is that she was raped three times that night, by three different men.

That Phoebe exists at all almost defies belief. Practically everyone who knew exactly how Elizabeth had fallen pregnant - doctors, siblings, even her own father - urged her to have an abortion as soon as possible.

The only person who pleaded with her to at least consider having the child was her mother, Sarah.

Elizabeth tells of her love for her child, regardless of the circumstances of her daughter's conception:
Every time I look at Phoebe, I know I made the right decision. I never wanted to end my baby's life just because of how she came to be.'

To most women, the thought of carrying their rapist's baby would be unthinkable. Elizabeth says that she, too, would once have shared that view.

To her amazement, though, the first sight of that 'mass of cells' on the screen triggered waves of tenderness rather than revulsion.

'It was surprisingly easy to love her as she grew inside me, but I have to admit I was scared my feelings would change when I saw her.

'During the pregnancy, I had nightmares about the attack and I worried myself sick that seeing my baby would immediately bring on flashbacks of that night.

'But from the moment mum put her on my breast, there was no question we belonged together.

'She did not remind me of that night, and I knew then that having her was more important than what had happened.'

Megan Barnett of Aberdeen, South Dakota had this choice to make a few years ago after being raped. She chose to keep her daughter Maria, and that little girl is the love of her life.

Bill Connor from Dell Rapids, South Dakota is a grown man who was conceived in an act of rape. He is living proof of the humanity and value of a person, regardless of the circumstances of their conception.

This is a question everyone on both sides of the abortion debate should think about:
Klusendorf, the author of "Pro-Life 101: a Step by Step Guide to Making Your Case Persuasively" writes, "How should a civil society treat innocent human beings that remind us of a painful event? May we kill them so that we can feel better? Put differently, can you think of any other case where, having been victimized yourself, you can justly turn around and victimize another completely innocent person?"

Emotions are valid responses to things that happen, but they should not be the sole determiner of our actions. As we grow into maturity we realize that our emotions can lead us to make irrational decisions that may hurt ourselves and others. For that reason, we must stop and think rationally before acting on our emotions.

As real and valid is the hurt and anger over being raped, is the proper response to kill the child that is just as much the mother's as if the child were conceived in love...or to choose not to victimize yet another human being?


Anonymous said...

I have nothing but praise for women who chose to keep a child conceived out of rape...but you can't force that on someone.

I really think rape/incest comes under 'the life of the mother'. Arguably, a woman forced to carry a child under those circumstances is a real suicide risk. I know I would be.

Bob Ellis said...

Suicide is indeed the personal choice that it is very hard to keep someone from.

But these women didn't, and they chose to continue giving life to the child inside them.

Apparently they realized that the child had committed no crime. They realized to kill their own child would have added yet another victim to this horrible crime--and in this case, they would be the perpetrator.

Leslie said...

Thanks for this very thoughtful post.

Of course a child should never be punished
for the crime of his/her father.

Sadly, the pending SD measure caved on the principled position.

Bob Ellis said...

You're right Leslie, it did.

But only after trying with everything we had in 2006 to pass the right bill.

Since that one failed despite our best efforts to get it passed, we chose to save as many as possible.

Pro-lifers in South Dakota would rather save 100% of the children, but if that is impossible, we'd rather save as many as we can rather than 0%.

According to the latest abortion statistics from the South Dakota Department of Health, the new measure should save about 98% of the children currently being aborted.

If South Dakota will make the strong pro-life statement that they want to save at least 98% of the babies currently being killed, that might lead women in this situation to think seriously about the life inside them--that it is their child, and has done no wrong--and reconsider abortion.

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