Abortion after rape

Pregnancy as a result of rape is extremely rare. A woman is only fertile for 3-7 days during her cycle and the extreme physical and psychological trauma of being raped makes it difficult for fertilisation or implantation to occur.

Pregnancies as a result of rape therefore only account for a tiny proportion of the hundreds of abortions carried out in Britain every day. Abortion is not a 'solution' to rape. The experience cannot be undone and should be responded to with compassion and support. For many rape victims who find themselves pregnant, the biggest trauma is not being pregnant but the memory of being raped. (Mahkorn and Dolan, Sexual Assault and Pregnancy: New Perspectives on Human Abortion, 1981.)

Abortion is itself a violent and invasive procedure. It should be remembered that many women who are traumatised by abortion describe a sense of having been violated. It is old-fashioned and socially unacceptable to judge a child by his/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.
  • "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." (Pam Stenzel, Straight talk from Pam Stenzel (1998) Vision Video Inc. PO Box 540, Worcester, Pennsylvania, 19490, USA)
  • "It doesn't matter how I began. What matters is who I will become." (Julie Makimaa, http://www.afterabortion.org/rape.html)
Abortion providers are not primarily interested in abortion for rape victims but use them as a
smokescreen to cover up their real intentions. They want abortion to be available to anyone, regardless of the circumstances. The use of rape victims is exploitative and trivialises the terrible damage done to women by rape. What makes rape a terrible crime is not the potential for a woman to become pregnant but the reality that she has been subjected to a violent and humiliating attack.
  • "I, having lived through rape, and also having raised a child 'conceived in rape,' feel personally assaulted and insulted every time I hear that abortion should be legal because of rape and incest. I feel that we're being used by proabortionists to further the abortion issue, even though we've not been asked to tell our side." (Kathleen DeZeeuw http://www.afterabortion.org/rape.html)
  • Lisa was 16 when she was raped on her way home from school. When she found out she was pregnant she was devastated, but said: "I had to have the baby. He was just as much a victim as I was and I wasn't going to make him suffer." However, when the baby was born, she rejected him to start with because he resembled her attacker. "I couldn't look at him. I didn't want to hold him. I told them to take him away." Eventually, she came to love him and says: "It never ceases to amaze me that something so precious and wonderful came from something so terrible. He's my beautiful boy and I wouldn't change him for the world." (The Sun, 21 January 2004)