Monday 12 November 2012

Social myths about abortion after rape

The Elliott Institute has just published a powerful article titled ‘My Rape Pregnancy and My Furor Over Social Myths’ by Deana Schroeder, a member of the Ad Hoc Committee of Women Pregnant By Sexual Assault (WPSA).

She recounts the story of being drugged and raped at 17 and then, after becoming pregnant, being persuaded to have an abortion by family, counsellors and doctors who ‘intended the best’ and ‘wanted to help’.

But the result was to add ‘more layers of trauma, self-doubt, grief and guilt’ to the trauma of the rape itself.

Schroeder argues that ‘they had total confidence in the social myth that abortion is the best option, even the only option, in cases of sexual assault’.

She quotes a national study published in 1996 which found that only half of the estimated 32,000 rape pregnancies which occur each year end in abortion.

The fact that so many women choose to give birth after rape, despite the social expectations and pressure to abort, should give us pause, she says : ‘Why aren’t all rape victims embracing the conventional wisdom that abortion is the best treatment for rape pregnancies?’

A hint, she says, is found in another study of 164 women who had rape pregnancies (conducted for the book Victims and Victors) in which the majority of those who had abortions said it only caused additional problems and the vast majority regretted having abortions.

By contrast, among those who delivered the child, satisfaction was higher and none stated any regret for giving birth.

Some people may remember a powerful testimony from 2008 in the Daily Mail: 'I was raped and left pregnant at 16... but I still love my baby'.

'People have been horrible,' said the mother. 'But that just made us more determined to fight for this innocent little child. She had not asked to be conceived, had she? If I have to, I will say that she was the good that came out of something bad. And I will tell her that, however she came to be, I have never ever regretted having her, and I would not be without her for the world.'

With abortion after rape - the issues and emotions involved are not as straightforward as most people presume.


  1. The fact that so many women choose to give birth after rape, despite the social expectations and pressure to abort, should give us pause,

  2. Thanks for this. Excellent post.

  3. Replies
    1. The above comment is a link which goes to this post I made some time ago...
      "Pro-rapists - These are people who try and call themselves pro-life. The fact of the matter is they are supporting rapists by wanting no abortions to ever occur, one of the outcomes of many rapes is that a man will inseminate a woman, so to be against abortion is to be for the rights of the rapist to spread his seed (and if there happens to be a genetic disorder which causes men to rape then it is likely to be passed to the child produced from the rape."

  4. Let us not forget that if people life Peter had his was and abortions were illegal then the following news stories would be common place, not only did the mother die but the foetus did too. Catholics must be so proud:
    BBC News: Woman dies after abortion request 'refused' at Galway hospital

    1. typthat should read: ... if people *like* Peter had his *way* ...

      Apologies, I was rushing.

    2. you were rushing your judgement indeed but it is not the typo you need to apologise for.
      Savita died of an infection with a drug resistant e.coli that was probably the cause of her miscarriage in the first place, a strain that has lead to raise the mortality of Urinary Tract Infections to nearly 10% in some countries.
      Conservative treatment of miscarriage is as safe as medically induced abortion but if she would have died of septicaemia following an abortion we would not have the media hype the case had got as you could not have blamed the catholics for it to make some people feel so proud of themselves.

  5. I don't think accusing Dr Saunders of being pro-rapist is fair, when he is basically saying that a rape victim should be objectively counselled rather than pursuaded (in either way). Emotions are scrambled after a rape, and a session with a trained counsellor should, in my opinion, always be available to help the woman holistically, not just focusing on the pregnancy issue.


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