This comment was recently posted to our web site:
My mother was raped at age 16. Her parents forced her to have an abortion. She stopped going to church, dropped out of high school and became depressed. Her young adulthood was during WWII and she had a problem with relationships. She eventually married my father after only a two week courtship and she told him what a horrible woman she was because of the abortion.
They vowed to have as many children as possible. God sent them ten children and she lost one to miscarriage; she mourned the lost baby along with her aborted child. When she was pregnant with me, her third child in four years, the doctor told her she wasn’t really pregnant and that he would remove some tissue. She knew what he meant and got another doctor.
I told my dad how blessed I was that mom knew what he meant and he then told me, 60 years later, that the reason she knew was because of the rape and subsequent abortion. She took this secret to her grave and I would have never known except my dad was praising me for getting involved in the pro-life movement through 40 Days for Life.
I was almost not here along with my four children and six grandchildren. My dad told me she mourned that aborted child her whole life and she never forgot and never received healing. My mother died at age 67 and I was told her secret when I was 60.
Rape hurt my mother, but abortion devastated her.
Stories like these are why women who have experienced a pregnancy resulting from sexual assault have created The Ad Hoc Committee of Women Pregnant by Sexual Assault (WPSA).
For the last eight years, WPSA has been petitioning Congress and state legislators to hold hearings at which women who have actually been pregnant following rape or incest could tell their stories and talk about what they and other women facing such a situation really want and need.
We collected stories and surveys from nearly 200 women who experienced a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest for the publication of our book Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies,Abortions,and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault. Most who aborted told us that abortion only added to their trauma and was not a good solution. Further, many reported having been pressured to abort by others.
Their reports, and research showing that only half of women who become pregnant through rape end up aborting, fly in the face of the common belief that women and girls who become pregnant through sexual assault want and need abortions.
Why Not Ask Women Who’ve Been There?
While the issue of abortion and pregnancy resulting from rape has generated a lot of headlines lately, the experiences and perspective of women who’ve been there continue to be ignored, even while their circumstances are being used to promote abortion. As the WPSA petition notes:
We are deeply offended and dismayed each time our difficult circumstances are exploited for public consumption to promote the political agenda of others. This is a grave injustice. In pursuing their political agendas, these exploiters have reduced our concerns, needs and circumstances to a crude caricature. …
Only we who have actually experienced a sexual assault pregnancy truly understand the trauma, fears, concerns and needs of our sisters who are, or will someday become, pregnant as a result of rape or incest.
Each year, thousands of women will face this experience. Unless society at large begins to listen to us today, these other women will, like us, face great difficulty in finding authentic understanding and help.
A Call to Action
We need a broad grassroots effort to build a platform by which women who experienced a pregnancy resulting from sexual assault will finally be heard. But so far, the WPSA petition has gone mostly unnoticed.
Please call your state and federal legislators and ask them to take a public position in favor of having the hearings requested by WPSA.
Please call any of the pro-life groups you support, especially any with lobbyists in Washington D.C., and ask them to support the hearings.
To be a part of this effort, fill out the web form below to become a WPSA Supporter.
Then, please share this information and the petition with your legislators and with pro-life leaders and lobbyists. And share it with fellow pro-life advocates, family members and friends and ask them to become Supporters too.
If you are a woman who has experienced a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, you can join WPSA and add your name to the petition (you need not go public to join WPSA).
Thank you for supporting this effort!