What about abortion following rape?

Rape is a tragedy. But abortion is not the automatic response to pregnancy from rape.

  • In Ireland, 76% of those who become pregnant following rape opt not to have an abortion[1].
  • In the United States, where abortion is widely available, it is estimated that about 50% opt against abortion[2]. One of those women is Shauna Prewitt, who says that she has never regretted keeping her child. She says that “the world would be a much worse place without my little girl”. Her daughter was innocent of any crime. Abortion would have ended her life.
  • Victims of rape who have opted for abortion have shared how the trauma of the abortion has been harder to overcome than the rape. Most notable is Miss C, who became pregnant after rape when she was 13. She was granted an abortion under the X case ruling. Today she is a mother two and says ‘you never forget your missing baby, it plays on your mind every day’.[3]
  • In countries with legalised abortion, it is estimated that less than 1% of abortions are due to rape[4]. This is not a referendum about abortion in limited circumstances – the decision facing voters is whether we want abortion on demand in Ireland or not.

 

“I wouldn’t be in favour of abortion… it isn’t the child’s fault that they’re the child or rape… Even, how would that work practically? I think where that’s been brought in in countries it has more or less led to abortion on demand”

Leo Varadkar, Interview with Irish Independent, May 2010[5]

 

[1] http://www.rcni.ie/wp-content/uploads/RCNI-RCC-StatsAR-2015-2.pdf
[2] Holmes et al (1996) Rape-related pregnancy: estimates and descriptive characteristics from a national sample of women. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, (175): 2, 320-4
[3] https://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/health/ccase-mum-i-grieve-for-my-lost-baby-every-day-29241584.html
[4] https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/pubs/psrh/full/3711005.pdf
[5] https://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/-26654689.html