When a woman becomes pregnant from rape it is an immensely difficult and agonising situation for her and tests our true compassion and solidarity as a society. Indeed, abortion may be the easy solution for everybody except the woman and her baby. The fact that it involves taking the life of an innocent unborn baby and exposes the woman to emotional hurt and possible long-term psychological harm is constantly overlooked by campaigners for abortion.
Ryan Bomberger is a human rights campaigner based in the US. His mother became pregnant from rape and publicly thanked his birth mum for giving him life. Ryan has movingly said: “We’re all wanted by someone”.
Heather Gemmen faced a horrendous situation when she became pregnant after rape. In her book Startling Beauty she tells how relieved she is that she gave birth to her daughter Rachael: “So much of my anguish was in deciding what to do with the pregnancy. Now I know that going through with it brings healing.” Her daughter Rachael, she says, “is the epitome of joy”.
We need to listen to people like Shauna Prewitt. Shauna, who became pregnant after rape says that she has never regretted her decision to continue with the pregnancy. In her own words, “I think the world would be a much worse place without my little girl.”
Their stories and others like them deserve to be heard in the abortion debate. Each child conceived in rape is one of us, smaller and hidden from view like every unborn baby, but equally a person. The baby is absolutely innocent of the father’s crime. They are not a part of their mother’s body, or responsible for the father’s character.
Our own Rape Crisis Centre (Rape Crisis Network Ireland: 2014 National Rape Crisis statistics) has carried out research that shows that 74% of women in Ireland who become pregnant after rape do not have an abortion. What do we need to do for these women, indeed for all women who are raped and find themselves pregnant?
Seeking stronger sentences for rapists and real justice for those who are victims of rape is surely a more just way to proceed than campaigning for the right to end the life of an utterly innocent baby?
Ethical concerns apart, any legislation for abortion in the case of rape would be unworkable. How would an alleged rape victim prove that her pregnancy is a result of rape? A criminal trial could take years. Many of those pushing for abortion in the case of rape know that the law would be absurd in practice. The truth is campaigners the world over have used the “rape ground” for no other reason than to push open the door to wide-ranging abortion.