What about rape and incest?

Jenni was conceived in rape when Cindy was 18 and homeless.

Kathleen DeZeeuw’s son, Patrick, was conceived in rape when she was 16.

“I feel personally assaulted and insulted every time I hear that abortion should be legal because of rape and incest,” stated Kathleen. “Having lived through rape and also having raised a child ‘conceived in rape,’ I feel that we’re being used by pro-abortionists to further the abortion issue, even though we’ve not been asked to tell our side of the story.”

As traumatic as rape is, abortion does not un-rape the mother. In fact, studies show that most women who become pregnant through rape don’t want an abortion. Patricia, a victim of rape, said, ”In my experience, abortion only compounded the trauma and pain I was already experiencing ... While it may seem to be the quickest and easiest solution to a painful, humiliating ‘problem,’ abortion is a band-aid approach. For me, the effects of abortion are much more far-reaching than the effects of the rape.“1

In the only major study of pregnant rape victims ever done, Dr. Sandra Mahkorn found that 75 to 85% chose against abortion.2 Joan Kemp, a rape crisis center counselor, said, ”I am familiar with no case of incest-related abortion that did not make matters worse for the victim.“3

Twenty-five years after the abortion of her child, Edith Young, a 12-year-old victim of incest, agonized that, “the abortion which was to ‘be in my best interest’ just has not been. As far as I can tell, it only ‘saved their [my parents’] reputations,’ ‘solved their problems,’ and allowed their lives to go merrily on.”

Studies also show that incest victims rarely ever voluntarily agree to abortion. Instead of viewing the pregnancy as unwanted, the incest victim is more likely to see the pregnancy as a way out of the incestuous relationship because the birth of her child will expose the sexual activity.

Researchers David C. Reardon, Julie Makimaa, and Amy Sobie completed a nine-year study on pregnancy outcomes of sexual assault victims. As part of their research the authors found that after any abortion, it is common for women to experience guilt, depression, feelings of being “dirty,” resentment of men, and lowered self-esteem. These feelings are identical to what women typically feel after rape.

Abortion only adds to and accentuates the traumatic feelings associated with sexual assault. Rather than easing the psychological burdens, abortion adds to them.

The stories above are just the beginning of what is being exposed surrounding the tragedy of abortion due to rape and incest. Reardon, Makimaa, and Sobie identif ied testimonies from 192 women who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest and 55 children conceived in sexual assault and compiled them in their provocative book, Victims and Victors.4

Pregnancy resulting from sexual assault is actually a contraindication for abortion. Doctors treating a sexual assault victim should advise against abortion precisely because of the traumatic nature of the pregnancy. The testimonies and studies confirm that both the mother and child are helped by preserving life, not by perpetuating violence.


1“The ‘Hard Cases’ of Abortion: A Pro-life Response 2000.” The Family Research Council, 801 G Street, NW Washington, DC 2001. Print. | 2Mall, David, Watts; Walter F. The Psychological Aspects of Abortion. Stritch School of Medicine. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Washington D.C. University Publications of America, 1979. | 3“The ‘Hard Cases’ of Abortion: A Pro-life Response 2000” by the Family Research Council, 801 G Street, NW Washington, DC 20001. | 4Reardon, David C. Makimaa, Julie, Sobie, Amy, Victims and Victors: Speaking Out about Their Pregnancies, Abortions, and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault, Acorn Books. January 1st 2000.