Thursday, May 16, 2019

Abortion's ‘hard cases’

This is a reprint of one of the most compelling things I've ever read about the difficult question of rape and abortion. Links added.

Abortion’s House of Cards
Victims of rape and incest speak out
By Pamela Pearson Wong
January/February 2001

They’re called the “hard cases”: those situations that may cause even “pro-life” people to waffle on their opposition to abortion. A 12-year-old is the victim of incest by her brother. A 16-year-old, the only child of a hard-working single parent, is brutally raped by a stranger. A man overpowers a recent high school graduate on their first date.

Abortion supporters abuse tragic circumstances like these to gain sympathy for abortion-on-demand. When a woman or girl is the victim of sexual abuse, they say abortion is a way of escape. They claim that “forcing her” to give birth in these situations will cause more trauma than she can handle. What could be crueler, they ask, than insisting a girl or woman must bear the child of her rapist or abuser?

Pro-life supporters counter that, while they are tragedies, rape and incest should not be automatic grounds for abortion. A child conceived in abuse is still an innocent bystander who does not deserve to suffer for her father’s sins. Further, they say, abortion harms rather than helps women.

Manipulating the “Exception”

These arguments for the hard cases are far from new. In fact, they were some of the first when the modern pro-abortion movement began in the United States in the 1960s.

In fact, “rape” was even manipulated into Roe v. Wade, the case through which the U.S. Supreme Court attempted to decriminalize abortion. In this case, “Jane Roe” claimed to seek an abortion when she became pregnant in a gang rape—a story Norma McCorvey, the real “Jane Roe,” later acknowledged her lawyers invented.

“I think it’s safe to say that the entire abortion industry is based on a lie,” Miss McCorvey said in The Washington Times in 1998.

Further, Doe v. Bolton, the companion case to Roe, overturned a Georgia law that permitted abortion only in cases of rape or incest. The abortion proponents argued it was unjust to allow abortion only in those cases. Thus, the door wedged open by rape and incest was flung wide to abortion for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy, by any procedure.

Today, the rape and incest clause is the standard for nearly all abortion laws and regulations. Pregnancies under such difficult circumstances need an extra measure of compassion and support. However, it is flawed—at best—to base all abortions on these cases. They are the foundation for abortion’s house of cards in the United States.

The Truth Comes Out

Now the pro-life movement has even more support from a leading researcher on abortion’s effects on women. He points out the basis for abortion-on-demand in the United States, the “hard cases,” was built—surprise!—on falsehoods.

“People are jumping to conclusions about rape and incest pregnancies that are based on fear and bias,” says Dr. David Reardon, biomedical ethicist, researcher and director of the Elliot Institute for Social Sciences Research.

The Elliot Institute recently released research that shows not only is abortion unwanted by these victims, it hinders rather than helps them to recover. The Institute gathered testimony over a nine-year period from 192 women who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest, as well as from 55 children conceived in these ways.

Published in a book, Victims and Victors (Acorn Books), which Reardon edited with Julie Makimaa and Amy Sobie, the research reveals:

These pregnancies are more common than previously thought.
For years, the pro-life movement has accepted studies that say only one or two pregnancies result from every 1,000 assault rapes. Based on figures from the U.S. Department of Justice, that means only 170 to 340 pregnancies a year, or 1 percent. Many attribute this low number to a combination of factors, such as prior contraceptive use by the women, infertility or sterility of the man or the woman, the trauma of rape, and timing of the woman’s cycle.

However, the latest statistics point to a far greater problem. In 1996, research published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology estimated that as many as 32,000 pregnancies may result from sexual assault each year—with about half occurring in teenagers under age 18.

Kay Zibolsky agrees that the number is much higher than generally thought. As founder of the Life After Assault League, she has counseled more than 2,000 victims of rape or incest.

“You cannot have statistics on unreported cases. Most of the women I counsel do not report [the rape or incest],” she says, “[Although] I always urge them to.

“From date rape to drug rape to stranger rape, when there is a pregnancy, families and young women just deal with it. It’s a lie ... of the devil that few babies are conceived this way. Even if it is just one, it’s too many that are aborted.”

Most of these women do not choose abortion.
Abortion proponents would have us believe victims of sexual assault are rushing into abortion clinics. However, despite the tragic, abusive and often violent ways their children were conceived, most of these women chose to give them life. They usually gave in to abortion only through pressure from the abuser and/or other family members.

The Elliot Institute found 73 percent of rape victims chose to give birth to their babies. In 1981, Dr. Sandra Mahkorn conducted the only previous major research of pregnant rape victims. Similarly, she found 75 to 85 percent of rape victims chose life.

Women who chose abortion wish they had not.
The research shows that nearly all the women who ended the pregnancy with abortion regretted that decision. Conversely, those who gave birth to their child were all happy they did. “I thank God for the strength He gave me to go through the bad times and for all the joy in the good times,” said Mary Murray, who gave birth to a child conceived in rape. “I will never regret that I chose to give life to my daughter.”

Likewise, children conceived through rape and incest praise their mothers for giving them life.

“[Christ] loves all of His children, even those conceived in the worst of circumstances. ...,” says Julie Makimaa, whose birth resulted from her mother’s rape, in Victims and Victors. “After all, it does not matter how we began in life. What matters is what we will do with our lives.”

Abortion increases the trauma of sexual assault or abuse.
“Rather than easing the psychological burdens of the sexual assault victim, abortion adds to them,” reports Victims and Victors.

“The evidence shows abortion increases traumatization and risk of suicide,” says Reardon, an expert on post-abortion issues. “But childbirth reduces these risks.”

The book reports that “even researchers who support abortion-on-demand have confirmed that sexual assault is a ‘predictor’ of post-abortion trauma.” Indeed, the very experience of abortion, physically and emotionally, is similar to rape. However, the woman feels more responsible for the abortion, even if she agrees to it under pressure.

Pregnant incest victims are often young girls, frequently unaware they are pregnant. This especially sets them up for “retraumatization,” Reardon says. Years later, they realize what happened and are vulnerable to more psychological problems.

Giving birth is a critical step in the victim’s recovery and healing.
Sheryle Bowers didn’t take part in research for Victims and Victors, but her testimony tells the same story. She was just turning 12, and her family was in turmoil. Sheryle’s mother, Mary, was doing her best to care for her five children after her alcoholic husband left them. Then a suitor entered her life. She was attracted to him and appreciated the attention he gave her children. But unknown to Mary, the 29-year-old man, whom she would eventually marry, began a sexual relationship with Sheryle.

“He told me we needed to be very careful not to tell anyone,” Sheryle recalls, “or we would get in big trouble.” Sheryle’s childish desire to protect her mother from further pain caused her to keep the terrible secret.

Undetected, the abuser continued the incest for years, even through his marriage and divorce from Sheryle’s mother. Desperately wanting to escape, Sheryle tried again to end it when she was 18. In return, he caused her to become pregnant, hoping to force her to marry and go away with him.

The pregnancy finally revealed the awful truth, and the abuser left. Sheryle’s family rallied around her. Her mother, in Sheryle’s words, “scooped me up.” Though dealing with shame, guilt and embarrassment, Sheryle’s Christian beliefs kept her from abortion, and she gave birth to Christopher, who is now 21.

“I cried for two days in the hospital,” she recalls. “It’s not your ideal way to have a baby. But does that mean, for our convenience, we take his life?”

Overcoming the abuse took years, but Sheryle attributes her healing to God, and she credits Christopher’s birth as the beginning. “Finally God fulfilled a promise He had given me: ‘The LORD has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You shall see disaster no more’ (Zephaniah 3:15).

“My son was really a gift from God because he created a way of escape,” Sheryle says. “The natural thing is to stay in the dark, to cover [the incest] up. Abortion is another way [for abuse] to stay hidden.”

How Life Heals

Not only does Kay Zibolsky’s work as a counselor support the research in Victims and Victors; so does her personal experience. The 16-year-old daughter of a single mother, Kay was raped on a cold, dark night by a stranger she couldn’t even see. She kept the rape a secret, even when she learned she was pregnant.

“[My mother] helped me through the rape, without even knowing it was a rape, accepting my pregnancy and helping all she could,” writes Kay in Healing Hidden Hurts, the book that tells her story. The U.S. Supreme Court hadn’t yet ruled on abortion. But even if it had, “I might have questioned whether the violent cruel act of rape justified a violent cruel act of destruction of an innocent baby.

“I chose to think of the part [of my baby] that was of me, not of him,” Kay says. She gave birth to a daughter and named her Robin. Working alternate shifts, Kay and her mother loved and reared Robin for 18 months. Then Kay’s mother became ill and was hospitalized. Kay struggled to earn a living while caring for Robin. Finally, she realized she couldn’t manage alone. She found a couple to adopt Robin and, with broken heart, let her go.

Kay married and had other children. By God’s grace, she was able to recover from the rape—even though she didn’t yet have a personal relationship with Christ. In 1979, Kay received Christ. Eventually, she was re-united with Robin and became involved in pro-life ministry. She has used her own experience to counsel literally thousands of women who are the victims of rape and incest, including many who have become pregnant.

“I tell them it is not a sin to be raped. It is a sin to rape. That puts the blame where it is supposed to be,” Kay says. “I say that it is a sin to kill the child who was conceived in rape [or incest]. If you have an abortion, you will eventually have to deal with that sin.”

Listen to the Women

What is the answer to the pain of pregnancies conceived in brutality or abuse? We would love to move back the clock before Roe v. Wade turned law and justice on its head. As the last 28 years have shown, that will be a slow process. But we can begin by listening to the women.

“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,” says Kathleen DeZeeuw in Victims and Victors. “I feel we’re being used to further the abortion issue, even though we’ve not been asked to tell our side of the story.”

We can begin by educating the public and legislators on what the women themselves—the victims of rape and incest—say about abortion.

“Get Victims and Victors to legislators. Ask them to call for congressional hearings,” says Dr. Reardon. “Urge them not to provide money for abortions resulting from rape or incest until they hear what the women say.”

It’s time for this house of cards to come tumbling down.

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