NEWS   CONTACT
redandwhiteribbon.org

Rape And Incest

 

Even the most ardent supporter against abortion would find the question of rape or incest the most difficult to answer, because it raises such strong emotions.


Often the implication of the question is that no one could be so hard-hearted as to force a woman, who is pregnant after rape or incest, to go through with the pregnancy and give birth to a baby who carries the genes of the rapist.


Now, one does not want to minimise for one moment the very real horror and violation of rape. It is a terrible crime, and the victims of such assaults must be treated with compassion and dignity. But there are a number of reasons why we should take a stand against abortion after rape or incest without apology. 1

 

 

Firstly, at a purely statistical level which does not affect the morality of the situation, pregnancy after rape or incest is a rare occurrence. Various studies, such as in the United States and Britain, have shown there is a likelihood of about 0.2% pregnancy resulting from being raped. 2


The rate of pregnancy after long term incest is, not surprisingly, higher. If help is sought early in the incestuous relationship, the risk is lower than if it continues over months or years. But although it is a rare occurrence, when it does happen it is a sad and deeply distressing reality which requires an appropriate response. 3


The primary moral question is: “Does the context of conception affect the right to life?” Or to say it another way, “Should one’s right to life be forfeited because of the way she or he was conceived?” Certainly rape and incest are abominable crimes, but neither the mother nor the unborn child are criminals. The pregnancy may be very difficult, but can it justify the destruction of innocent human life? 4


Whilst many will say ‘no’, there are others who will counter argue: “But morally, legally and compassionately can we ask a woman actually faced with the problem to accept this view?" Basil Uddo, an American lawyer, asks:


“Can we ask her – indeed require her – to make what she may view as an extreme sacrifice, for what we say is a higher good? Has our society ever asked so much?


“Indeed it has. For much of our history as a nation, with the approval not only of moralists but also the law, we have asked young men to sacrifice their freedom, their futures, even their lives, to defend their country in times of war. Even those conscientiously opposed to war have been asked – again with moral and legal approval – to substitute some form of national service.

 

“Similarly, we have … laws that mandate that parents care for and protect their children, despite economic, physical and psychological hardship – even to the point that parents cannot prefer their own lives to their children’s. The justification is, of course, that higher good – the protection of innocent and defenceless human life.”.5


Practically, there are numerous legal problems with rape exception clause in an anti-abortion law; in that rape and incest pregnancies are easy to fake and hard to prove. After considering this problem and the statistics, a New Zealand commission in 1977 (on contraception, abortion and sterilisation) which suggested a significant liberalisation of New Zealand’s abortion law, recommended against allowing abortion for rape because the incidence of such pregnancies was too low, and the likelihood of false reports too high, to warrant a rape exception.6


The appropriate response to rape and incest pregnancy is not abortion, but counselling, support and creative caring, to minimise the damage done by the crime rather than adding the evil of taking life to the crime of rape.


It is old-fashioned and socially unacceptable to judge a child by his or her father’s actions or to punish a child for the crime of the father. A child may be conceived as the result of rape but cannot be held responsible. Pam Stenzel and Julie Makimaa were two such children.

 

Pam Stenzel (pictured below) – “My biological father is a rapist. But I am still a human being and I still have value. My life isn’t worth any less than yours because of the way I was conceived. And I did not deserve the death penalty because of the crime of my father.” 7

 

 

 Social commentator Basile Uddo remarked:


“There is no doubt that rape and incest are among the most controversial issues in the already-controversial abortion debate. Yet much of the controversy stems from ignorance and emotion, not from reality. The significant problems that these crimes present are in no way ameliorated by the availability of abortion.

 

In fact, abortion is a hindrance to more sensitive, caring, and integrated treatment. The human response to the very real problems of rape and incest is complex and challenging. It requires understanding, care, and compassion. It substitutes life-giving for death-dealing. It treats the women with respect – not embarrassment or revulsion. It accepts the children of these crimes as children, not monsters; it clothes them with human dignity, not deadly revulsion.” 8

 

PLEASE READ THIS ARTICLE: Raped as a teen, I chose life for my daughter and never looked back      HERE

 



References
1   Winter R: Choose Life Marshall Pickering, 1988, p28
2   http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/492/26/
3   Winter R: Choose Life Marshall Pickering, 1988, p28
4   Ibid
5   Ibid, p29
6   Ibid
7   Pam Stenzel: Straight talk from Pam Stenzel (1998) Vision Video Inc. PO Box 540, Worcester, Pennsylvania, 19490, USA.
8  Winter R: Choose Life Marshall Pickering, 1988, p29