First it is important to define terms. This issue concerns
assault, or forcible, rape, not consensual, not marital rape. In recent years
semantics have muddied the water, particularly regarding "date rape."
Rape is the forcible imposition of a man on a woman for
sexual intercourse. Whether it occurs behind the bushes or on a date, it should
be reported to the police and charges filed. (College students, are you
rape pregnancies common?
No, they are very rare.
Are there accurate numbers?
The Justice Dept., from 1973 to 1987, surveyed 49,000
households annually, asking questions on violence and criminal acts. The results
of those reported were:
1973 — completed rapes — 95,934
1987 — completed rapes — 82,505
The study stated that only 53% were reported to police.
Accordingly, the total numbers were: 1973 — 181,016 : 1987 — 155,667 The Washington
Times, Jan. 14, 1991, A-5
A more recent Justice Dept. report, using a
study designed differently with more direct questions, returned a result of
170,000 completed rapes plus 140,000 attempted rapes. Nat. Crime Victim Report, US Justice Dept. Aug. 95, R.
And how many
About 1 or 2 for each 1000. Using the 170,000 figure, this
translates into an overall total of 170 to 340 assault rape pregnancies a year
in the entire United States.
Only one or two out of 1000? Please explain.
There are about 100 million women in the United States old
enough to be at risk for assault rape. Let’s use a figure of 200,000 forcible
rapes every year. The studies available agree that there are no more than two
pregnancies per 1,000 assault rapes.
So much for the numbers. Let’s look at it from another angle
and see if that figure makes sense.
- Of these 200,000 women who were raped, one-third were
either too old or too young to get pregnant. That leaves 133,000 at risk of
- A woman is capable of being fertilized only three days out
of her 30-day month. So divide 133,000 by 10, and 13,300 women remain.
- One-fourth of all women in the United States of
child-bearing age have been sterilized. That drops the figure to
- Only half of the assailants penetrate her body and/or
deposit sperm. Cut it in half again. We are own to 5,000.
- Fifteen percent of men are sterile; that drops the figure
to 4,250. Fifteen percent of non-surgically sterilized women are naturally
sterile. That reduces the number to 3,600.
- Another 15% are on the pill and/or are already pregnant.
Now the figure is 3,070. Now factor in something that all adults know. It takes
from five to ten months for an average couple to achieve a pregnancy. Using the
smaller figure, to be conservative, divide the 3,000 figure by 5, and the number
drops to about 600.
In a healthy, peaceful marriage, the miscarriage rate ranges
up to about 15%. In this case, we have incredible emotional trauma. Her body is
upset. Even if she conceives, the miscarriage rate is higher than in a more
normal pregnancy. If she loses 20% of 600, there are 450 left. Finally, we must
factor in one of the most important reasons why a rape victim rarely gets
pregnant, and that is psychic trauma. Every woman is aware that stress and
emotional factors can alter her menstrual cycle. To get pregnant and stay
pregnant, a woman’s body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones.
Hormone production is controlled by a part of the brain which is easily
influenced by emotions. There’s no greater emotional trauma that can be
experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her
possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a
pregnancy. So what further percentage reduction in pregnancy will this cause? No
one really knows, but this factor certainly cuts the last figure by at least
50%, and probably more, leaving a final figure of 225 women pregnant each year,
a number that closely matches the 200 found in clinical studies.
not allow abortion for rape pregnancies?
We must approach this with great compassion. The woman has
been subjected to an ugly trauma, and she needs love, support and help. But she
has been the victim of one violent act. Should we now ask her to be a party to a
second violent act -that of abortion? Unquestionably, many would return the
violence of killing an innocent baby for the violence of rape. But, before
making this decision, remember that most of the trauma has already occurred. She
has been raped. That trauma will live with her all her life. Furthermore, this
girl did not report for help, but kept this to herself. For several weeks or
months, she has thought of little else. Now, she has finally asked for help, has
shared her upset, and should be in a supportive situation.
The utilitarian question from the mother’s stand-point is
whether or not it would now be better to kill the developing baby within her.
But will abortion now be best for her, or will it bring her more harm yet? What
has happened and its damage has already occurred.
She’s old enough to know and have an opinion as to whether
she carries a "baby" or a "blob of protoplasm." Will she be able to live
comfortably with the memory that she "killed her developing baby"? Or
would she ultimately be more mature and more at peace with herself if she could
remember that, even though she became pregnant unwillingly, she nevertheless
solved her problem by being unselfish, by giving of herself and of her love to
an innocent baby, who had not asked to be created, to deliver, perhaps to place
for adoption, if she decides that is what is best for her baby. Compare this
memory with the woman who can only look back and say, "I killed my baby."
But carry the rapist’s child?
True, it is half his. But remember, half of the baby is also
hers, and there are other outstretched arms that will adopt and love that
I don’t see how she could!
"Interestingly, the pregnant rape victim’s chief complaint
is not that she is unwillingly pregnant, as bad as the experience is. The
critical moment is fleeting in this area. It frequently pulls families together
like never before. When women are impregnated through rape, their condition is
treated in accordance, as are their families.
"We found this experience is forgotten,
replaced by remembering the abortion, because it is what they did."
M. Uchtman, Director, Suiciders Anonymous, Report
to Cincinnati City Council, Sept. 1, 1981
"In the majority of these cases, the pregnant victim’s
problems stem more from the trauma of rape than from the pregnancy
itself." Mahkorn & Dolan, "Sexual
Assault & Pregnancy." In New Perspectives on Human Abortion,
University Publishers of Amer., 1981, pp. 182-199 239
As to what factors make it most difficult to
continue her pregnancy, the opinions, attitudes, and beliefs of others were most
frequently cited; in other words, how her loved ones treated her. Mahkorn, "Pregnancy & Sexual Assault." In Psychological
Aspects of Abortion, University Publishers of Amer., 1979, pp. 53-72
many laws would allow for this exception.
That is because many only think of the mother. But we should
also think of the baby. Should we kill an innocent unborn baby for the crime of
his father? Or let’s look at it this way. Do we punish other criminals by
killing their children? Besides, such laws pose major problems in reporting, and
also women have been known to report falsely.
You accuse women of lying?
We don’t have to. Radical feminist guru Gloria Steinem, in a
1985 interview with USA Today said that "to make abortion legal only in
cases of rape and incest would force women to lie."
The story of Jane Roe, of the Roe v. Wade Decision,
is well known. Norma McCorvey (her real name) fabricated a story, that she had
been gang raped at a circus, in the mistaken impression that this would permit
her to obtain a legal abortion in Texas. Not until 1987 did she reveal that the
baby was actually conceived "through what I thought was love." (Post,
Sept. 9, 1987.) And:
Up until 1988, Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program funded
abortions, for women who claimed they had been raped, without any requirement
for reporting of the purported assault to a law enforcement agency. Under this
law, abortion clinic personnel issued thinly veiled public invitations for women
to simply state that they’d been raped, and the state ended up funding an
average of 36 abortions a month based on such unsubstantiated claims. In 1988
the legislature added a requirement for reporting the rape to a law enforcement
agency, and the average dropped to less than three abortions per
You said reporting was a problem?
The problem is requiring proof. If the woman goes directly
to the hospital, her word is accepted. But, sadly, through fright or ignorance,
she may not report it and quietly nurse her fears. She misses her period and
hopes against hope that it isn’t what she thinks it is. Sometimes months go by
before finally, in tears, she reports to her mother, her physician, or some
other counselor or confidante. To prove rape then is impossible. The only proof
of rape then is to have a reliable witness corroborate the story, and such a
witness almost never exists.
What proof would be needed early on?
Reporting the rape to a law enforcement agency is needed.
Any hospital emergency room will handle this.
If done within a day or two, she can be examined, given
medicine for sexually transmitted diseases and counseled. Her word will rarely
be questioned. But if it is many days later, especially after a missed period,
her word may not be enough (see above).
What percentage of rape pregnancies are aborted?
Less than half. The balance carry the baby to
term. In one study of 37 rape pregnancies, 28 carried to term. S. Makhorn, in Psychological Aspects of Abortion, Mall
& Watts, Univ. Pub. 1979, Pg. 58
What is her chief complaint?
Perhaps, surprisingly, it is not the fact that
she is pregnant. Her chief complaint is "how other people treat her." This
should be very sobering to everyone. How is she treated? Do others understand
the trauma she has experienced, and love and support her? Or, do they avoid her
and act as if it was partly her fault, or worse? Just think, if all such victims
were given generous love and support, many more than at present would carry
their babies to term. Mahkorn & Dona, "Sexual
Assault & Pregnancy." In New Perspectives on Human Abortion,
University Publishers of Amer., 1981, pp. 182-199 Mahkorn, "Pregnancy &
Sexual Assault." In Psychological Aspects of Abortion, University
Publishers of Amer., 1979, pp. 53-72
What if she could not cope with raising the child?
We must let these women know that it is all right to feel
that way. We fully understand. That does not mean, however, that the baby is
unwanted. There are innumerable arms outstretched, aching for a child to love.
Any number of couples will want the child. She should be supported and
encouraged if she chooses to place the child in a loving adoptive home.
She had a problem. Abortion permanently removes the problem.
Or is there emotional aftermath?
In recent years it has become clear that these women can and
do suffer from Post-Abortion Syndrome. When PAS does develop, a woman, so
affected, can carry the same burdens of guilt, denial and depression that a
woman who aborted a "love" baby often does. Why is this? At least two dynamics
seem obvious. Remember that the rape was done to her. She was not responsible.
She was the innocent victim and should bear no guilt. But, by contrast, the
abortion will be done by her. She agreed to it. She was a volitional participant
in a second act of violence: the killing of her own unborn child. And it is her
own unborn child. This is the other inescapable fact of biology that probably is
a factor in the development of PAS. The newly-conceived baby is certainly the
"rapist’s child," but he or she is also her child, for half of the new baby’s
genetic material came from her. She may try, but, inside of her, she cannot deny
this biologic reality, however unwillingly it happened and however upsetting it
may be. And so, to kill this little one by abortion is to participate in a
violent, lethal act that destroys a baby who is partly her own flesh and blood.
In loving charity, we should never remind her of this.
But we don’t have to, for she knows it instinctively and all
of her maternal feelings may well rebel when faced with being a part of this
"treatment" for rape, isn’t it abortive?
This is best illustrated by giving two theoretical case
histories. Woman "A" is raped at midnight on Saturday and is treated in a
hospital emergency room with a female hormone medication beginning at 3:00 a.m.
Sunday morning. In this case, the woman’s body was scheduled to ovulate two days
later, on Monday. If that were to have occurred, and if the assailant’s sperm
were still alive in her body, she might have been fertilized two days after the
assault and become pregnant at that time. A very small body of medical opinion
believes that the dose of medication given might prevent that ovulation, and she
would therefore not get pregnant. This mechanism of action would be one of
temporary sterilization, or, in more commonly used (however technically
inaccurate) terms, the action would be contraceptive. Woman "B" presents a
different case. She had ovulated at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, was raped at
midnight, and also received treatment at 3:00 a.m. To her own observation, this
lady also does not "get pregnant." In fact, something entirely different
happened inside her body. Let us assume that she was one of those very rare
cases where fertilization did occur, and had, in fact, occurred prior to the
giving of the medication. The life of a tiny new little boy or girl had begun.
The cells of this tiny body begin to divide and divide again, but at one week of
life, when implantation within the nutrient lining of the mother’s womb should
occur, this tiny new human being could not implant and died. The mechanism of
action of the drug, in this case, had been to harden the lining of the womb in
order to prevent implantation. This effect was one of a micro-abortion, at one
week of life and represents the large majority of medical opinion.
Would a Human Life Amendment in America, or a law forbidding
abortion in another nation, prevent such treatment?
Most legal opinion agrees that since these drugs have a
multiplicity of other beneficial and therapeutic effects, they would never be
removed from the market. Since they would in some cases have a legally
permissible effect (temporary sterilization or/and contraception), even with a
strong Human Life Amendment in place, the use of such drugs after rape could not
be forbidden. Therefore, the choice now available to a woman after a assault
rape, to use or not use such treatment, would still be available after such a
Does anyone win
after a rape?
Once, after answering questions on rape on a radio show, one
of your authors was called to the phone after the program. A woman’s voice
"You were talking about me. You see, I am the product of
rape. An intruder forced his way into my parents’ house, tied up my father and,
with him watching, raped my mother. I was conceived that night. Everyone advised
an abortion. The local doctors and hospital were willing. My father, however,
said, ‘Even though not mine, that is a child and I will not allow it to be
killed!’ I don’t know how many times that, as I lay secure in the loving arms of
my husband, I have thanked God for my wonderful Christian father." And so, does
anyone win? Yes, the baby does.
What of incest?
Incest is intercourse by a father with his daughter, uncle
with niece, etc. It usually involves a sick man, often a sick mother who
frequently knows it’s happening (even if not consciously admitting it), and an
exploited child. Fortunately, pregnancy is not very common. When incest does
occur, however, it is seldom reported and, when reported, is hard to
Most pregnancies from incest have a very different dynamic
than from rape and must be counseled in a very different manner.
Even strongly pro-abortion people, if they approach an
incest case professionally, must be absolutely convinced before advising
abortion, for abortion is not only is an assault on the young mother, who may
well be pregnant with a "love object," but it may completely fail to solve the
original problem. It is also unusual for wisdom to dictate anything but adoptive
placement of the baby.
When pregnancy does occur, it is often an
attempt to end the relationship. In a twisted sort of way, however, the father
is a love object. In one study, only 3 of 13 child-mothers had any negative
feelings toward him. H. Maisch, Incest,
New York: Stein & Day Publishers, 1972
In incest, is
No. "Considering the prevalence of teenage
pregnancies in general, incest treatment programs marvel at the low incidence of
pregnancy from incest." Several reports agree at 1% or less. G. Maloof, "The Consequences of Incest," The Psychological Aspects
of Abortion, University Publications of Amer., 1979, p. 74 245
How does the incest victim feel about being pregnant?
For her, it is a way to stop the incest; a way
to unite mother and daughter, a way to get out of the house. Most incestuous
pregnancies, if not pressured, will not get abortions. "As socially
inappropriate as incest and incestuous pregnancies are, their harmful effects
depend largely upon reaction of others." G.
Maloof, "The Consequences of Incest," The Psychological Aspects of Abortion,
University Publications of Amer., 1979, p. 100