The Ad Hoc Committee of Women Pregnant By Sexual Assault (WPSA), is a group of women who have experienced pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. WPSA is asking Congress and state legislators to hold hearings where women who have experienced a pregnancy resulting from sexual assault can tell their stories and talk about the real wants and needs of them and other women who have experienced this.
We, the undersigned, having each experienced a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, hereby petition the U.S. Congress and individual state legislatures to hold public hearings at which we and other women who have become pregnant from sexual assault will be invited to discuss our unique needs and concerns. The reasons for such hearings are set out below.
Every year, legislators, judges, and other policy makers discuss the problems of women who have become pregnant as a result of sexual assault. These discussions take place without ever first soliciting our input. In most cases, it is only in the context of highly divisive debates over abortion that we are discussed. In virtually every case, those people who claim to be defending our interests have never taken the time to actually listen to us to learn about our true circumstances, needs, and concerns.
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.
Those who claim to represent our interests have never sought our authorization to represent us. They do not know us, understand us, or truly care about us. Just as we were once used, without our consent, to gratify the sexual desires of others, so we continue to be used, without our consent, to gratify the political goals of others.
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.
The issue of sexual assault pregnancies is both delicate and complicated. Even women who have been sexually assaulted but did not become pregnant can only speak in terms of their own fears rather than their actual experience. Only women who were or are pregnant by sexual assault can knowledgeably testify about this experience.
Our experiences are varied. Many of us carried our pregnancies to term. Some of us raised or are raising our children, while others placed our children in adoptive homes. Others of us had abortions. In many cases, we felt pressured to abort by family members, social workers, and doctors who insisted that abortion was the “best” solution. For many the abortion caused physical and emotional trauma equal to or exceeding the trauma of the sexual assault that our abortions were supposed to “cure.”
We are the only ones who can bear witness to our real experiences and our real needs. How long will you refuse to listen to us?
If you are a woman who experienced a pregnancy as a result of rape or incest — whether you raised the child, placed him or her for adoption or experienced an abortion or miscarriage — and would like to join WPSA, please fill out the form below. Please note that your name will not be published as a member unless you give us permission to do so.
You will receive a confirmation link by email. Once you have confirmed, you will then receive a a follow up email with more information on how to help.
Only women who have experienced a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest may join WPSA. Others who wish to support this effort should go here to become a WPSA Supporter.
Please fill out the entire form and let us know how you wish to be included on the petition:
- Public (Choose this option if you are willing to testify at hearings or be interviewed using your full name. Your first and last name will be listed on public copies of the petition.)
- Semi-private (Choose this option if you are willing to testify or be interviewed under certain conditions, but wish your full name to be kept private. You will be listed on public copies of the petition by your first name only.)
- Private (Choose this option if you wish to remain anonymous and do not want your name to be used in any way. You will be listed on the petition as a “Jane Doe.”)
Women who have privacy or family concerns, or whose families are uncomfortable with public attention drawn to this issue, should definitely choose the semi-public or private options.
Please note that we will not use your name or contact information or share it with anyone without your permission. Any contacts from legislators or the media will be handled through the Elliot Institute. If someone contacts us, we will contact you first to get your permission to share your information.
If you would like to share your story to help us learn more about what women experience as a result of sexual assault pregnancy, and to help other women who may be in similar circumstances, please email it to us. You can download a list of questions here to use as a guide in writing your story.
Thank you for being a part of this effort! If you have any questions or problems filling out this form, contact us and we will email you a printable form.