Raped? Human Life Alliance Says Birthing Your Attacker’s Child is the Only Way to Heal


Few women have suffered like people who are victimized by sexual predators.  Be it stranger rape, acquaintance rape, date rape or incest, the person who has been sexually assaulted must deal not only with the physical effects of the attack, but the long-term emotional effects, as well. 

And for those girls and women who have not only been victimized but also impregnated by their attackers, the trauma of the attack goes well beyond its initial occurrence.

The Human Life Alliance dedicates a section of its ICARE advertising supplement into shaming women who are impregnated by their attackers into giving birth

“As traumatic as rape is,” the supplement advises, “abortion does not un-rape the mother.  In fact, studies show that most women who become pregnant through rape don’t want an abortion.” 

The section then quotes a 1979 article that states that 85 percent of women who become pregnant via rape do not chose abortion, a statistic quoted widely in anti-abortion literature and websites.  However, the actual study was conducted on a mere 37 pregnant women who sought counseling from the study’s author.

Of those 37 women, 4 did not finish the study, 28 decided to continue the pregnancy and 5 decided to abort, resulting in the “85 percent of all women” statistic.  Although widely used in suggesting women who are raped should carry the child, it is by no means a scientific study.

The supplement goes even further to shame the victims of incest.  Joan Kemp, a rape crisis center counselor, said, “‘I am familiar with no case of incest-related abortion that did not make matters worse.’”

No case.  Not one.  Ever. 

The section then continues:

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.

Yes, according to the Human Life Alliance, victims of incest (usually minors) should have babies if impregnated as a way to stop their own abuse.

Although the attribution is sloppy, the “studies” cited above appear to be based on a book written by David Reardon, a man who is known as the “Moses” of the post abortion movement.  Based on the 200 women interviewed for his book, Reardon was able to ascertain that:

“Abortion only adds to and accentuates the traumatic feelings associated with sexual assault,” and that “Pregnancy resulting from sexual assault is actually a contraindication for abortion.” 


According to Human Life Alliance, all of the “research” and “studies” in their rape and incest section (one self-selected 33 woman study from 1979, one book by a “post-abortion Moses” and one study done by the bastion of reliability, The Family Research Council) prove that “both the mother and child are helped by preserving life, not by perpetuating violence.”  Their emphasis on mother, and of course, “child” attempts to strong arm females in need of honest support and healing into a place with no choices but the one HLA approves of: coerced birth.

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  • catseye71352

    So this moral imbecile has actually convinced himself that seeing and having to care for a living, breathing reminder of a horrible trauma on a daily basis is somehow _healing_ for the victim of that trauma? He needs to be institutionalized!

    Catseye  ( (|) )

  • human-life-alliance

    Catseye,
    A friend of mine was conceived in rape (read her story here http://www.humanlife.org/abortion_jenni_story.php or to read more stories from moms and children actually involved in this type of situation see http://www.rebeccakiessling.com/Othersconceivedinrape.html). What did she do wrong to deserve death (abortion)? Just because her father did something wrong doesn’t mean she deserves to die. Some women choose to keep their babies and some choose to give them up for adoption. Both choices allow the baby (another innocent victim in the situation) to live. I would encourage you to read the stories from the links I posted.

    Human Life Alliance

    http://www.humanlife.org

  • chelley

    Michelle Cory
    I do not know who did this study but this is the most f…..ed up thing I have heard so far. your all insane.

  • crowepps

    The section then quotes a 1979 article that states that 85 percent of women who become pregnant via rape do not chose abortion, a statistic quoted widely in anti-abortion literature and websites. However, the actual study was conducted on a mere 37 pregnant women who sought counseling from the study’s author.

    I’m sure any counseling this person provided encouraged women to complete the pregnancy, which makes it problematic to state that “85% of women…do not chose abortion”. It would be more accurate to say that 85% of women who chose a therapist known to be ProLife and received counseling biased by the view of the therapist that abortion is immoral can be influenced to complete their pregnancies. What result this had to their long-term mental health is unknown (and apparently irrelevant).

    It would certainly be enlightening to see a follow-up study with the long-term outcomes for those women and the children, however the whole issue is so politicized and so corrupted by its use as a fundraiser that studies on abortion outcomes are heavily funded by organizations who make it clear that they know the ‘right results’ in advance and carried out by people who see themselves as culture warriors instead of unbiased researchers.

  • crowepps

    It sounds to me like it’s a lot more focused on the mental health of the therapist/ProLife activist than it is the woman.  Certainly the idea that the outcomes of 37 self-selected patients who sought counseling is a "major study" is pretty ludicrous.

  • ack

    Just like pregnancies resulting from consensual sex, I fully support their freely made choice to continue their pregnancies and give birth. I will also continue to support the freely made choices of those who choose abortion.

    In the course of healing, rape victims who make their own decisions following the assault are in a far better emotional situation than ones who are coerced into doing what someone else thinks is "right," whether that’s the decision to report or the decision to abort. Rape is a situation in which the victim has no power; coercing or forcing a decision regarding a resulting pregnancy will not assist in healing.That decision is hers and hers alone; she is the expert on her mental health and emotional well-being, and no one has the right to tell her how to heal.

  • colleen

    I was curious about rape crisis center ‘counselor ‘ Joan Kemp and found her over on the oxymoronic ‘Feminists for Life’ http://www.feministsforlife.org/FFL_topics/victory/2ndrape.htm
    I wish that women like this would find some other, more accurate descriptor for themselves than ‘feminist’ or, for that matter, ‘counselor ‘.

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • kamakalia

    Ugh! What an intellectually dishonest use of outdated and biased data issued from a study conducted with a ridiculously small (and insignificant) sample.

     

    Now for the debunking and reality check part: a 3 years long longitudinal survey from 1996, conducted on a national sample of 4008 female American sexual assault victims, found radically different results.

    From the abstract:
    The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. Among 34 cases of rape-related pregnancy, the majority occurred among adolescents and resulted from assault by a known, often related perpetrator. Only 11.7% of these victims received immediate medical attention after the assault, and 47.1% received no medical attention related to the rape. A total 32.4% of these victims did not discover they were pregnant until they had already entered the second trimester; 32.2% opted to keep the infant whereas 50% underwent abortion and 5.9% placed the infant for adoption; an additional 11.8% had spontaneous abortion.

    Full reference:
    Rape-related pregnancy: estimates and descriptive characteristics from a national sample of women,
    by Holmes MM, Resnick HS, Kilpatrick DG,
    Best CL.Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1996 Aug;175(2):320-4; discussion 324-5.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8765248

    The scandal is the fact that 88.3% of the women who ended up pregnant after a sexual assault didn’t even receive proper and timely medical assistance, that would have prevented a pregnancy in the very first place.

     

    What about actions aimed towards the real issue rather than abject guilt-tripping of pregnant rape and incest victims, using bogus data?

    Secondary victimization, and all that jazz…

  • sunday

    This is ridiculous, it’s not as if abortion is the equivalent to giving birth to a child and then killing it. We’re talking about a small cluster of undeveloped cells that may, or in some cases may not, lead to a child.

    Why don’t you write a poem about all the small clusters of cells in the world that have been flushed from woman’s bodies for any number of reasons, intentional or otherwise.

    Or, you could try doing something useful with your time – maybe go right to the heart of the problem; launch an anti-rape campaign. Perhaps that will take your mind off of telling rape victims what to do with their bodies. 

  • emma

    This is just sickening. What utter sadists these people are. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to be impregnated as a result of rape, having to carry around the child of your rapist. It would be a constant reminder of the attack that you’d be literally unable to escape, since it would be in your body. It would be so horrific to have that reminder every minute of every day. These people have absolutely no regard for the well-being of pregnant victims of rape. None whatsoever, and it’s disgusting.

     

    I remember reading something similar in the literature of the ‘Right to Life’ association here, years ago. They reckoned that continuing a pregnancy that resulted from rape would be healing as people would know you’d been raped and you’d get lots of sympathy. Seriously. It was insane.

     

    I’m literally nauseated over this.

  • paul-bradford

    Victims of rape and incest (some of whom, let me remind you, are male) are victims precisely because they are treated as something less than human. I say that dehumanization is the root of violence. Rape victims need to have their humanity upheld — as quickly and as uncompromisingly as possible.

     

    When the indignity of rape is coupled with the indignity of an unwanted pregnancy it is vital that the victims be treated as humanely as possible.  The last thing either of them need is coercion.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • ellid

    Why don’t you respond to the actual scientifically valid study cited below? 

    Your intellectual dishonesty is revolting.

  • cactus-wren

    Wow, Nameless, have you ever asked your friend if she’s glad her mother was raped?

  • emma

    The article discusses pregnancy resulting from rape, Paul. I think we’re all aware that men are also raped, however, they cannot get pregnant as a result of rape, so it’s not relevant to the topic at hand.

     

    Plural victims? There’s only one victim: the woman who was raped.

  • lanikai

    "Just because her father did something wrong doesn’t mean she deserves to die."

    How utterly repulsive–implying that the rapist is her "father?"   OMFG.

  • colleen

    When the indignity of rape is coupled with the indignity of an unwanted
    pregnancy it is vital that the victims be treated as humanely as
    possible.  The last thing either of them need is coercion.

     

     

    This from a guy who would see rape victims denied mifepristone.

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • catseye71352

    To force a woman to carry and deliver a pregnancy that happened due to a rape inflicts 2 _more_ rapes on the victim; a 9-month rape from carrying the pregnancy, and a lifetime rape from either daily interactionm with a constant reminder of the incident, or the ongoing fear that the product of that incident will show up on her doorstep.

     

    You are a rapist also if you _ever_ believe it is OK to force a woman to bear ANY unwanted pregnancy.

     

    Catseye  ( (|) )

  • catseye71352

    Who is this addressed to? (I hope it is to the moral imbecile.)

     

    Catseye  ( (|) )

  • feminazi

    You know what? I’ve never met a single incest victim who became pregnant who didn’t want to continue the pregnancy, either.

    Oops–did I forget to mention that I’ve never met a pregnant incest victim, period?

    I find it utterly appalling that anyone would suggest a victim of rape or incest should be forced to continue their pregnancy. There are a lot of prolife people in my life, and all of them have the “I’m prolife, except for…” attitude when it comes to rape and incest survivors. I can personally say that I would be signed up for an abortion so fast if I became pregnant as the result of a sexual attack that it would make these people’s heads spin. Disgusting that they, someone who has, I’m sure it’s safe to say, NEVER been a victim of a sexual attack (although if they have, inconsequential, really, when it comes to MY decisions and MY body), feel they have the right to tell me that I need to carry that reminder for nine months, watch my body change and grow, subject myself to any number of possible complications that could compromise my future health or my very life, go through labor and delivery, and then know that there’s a living, breathing reminder out there walking around of my extreme violation. These people are effing sick and twisted.

  • feminazi

    I happen to be married to a man with whom I’m very much in love, and I look forward to us having a child together–a child who would be the first for both of us. So if I get raped tomorrow, I should not only let my attack rob me of my sense of security and the right to control my own body; I should also willingly allow him to rob me of the experience of being in control of whose baby it is I give birth to for the first time, or any time. Sure, I can give it up for adoption…but I can never get back the experience of being 100% in control of whose child I carry.

  • kate-ranieri

    I interviewed Fr. Frank Pavone, Director of Priests for Life, in Allentown PA about his views of pregnancy as a result of rape. His view, as with Human Life Alliance, is that the woman has been victimized once and having an abortion would victimize her twice. He believes it’s better to counsel her, help her heal all the while carrying the pregnancy to term because the fetus is innocent. The problem for me is that it all sounds good on paper. However, when it’s a living, breathing woman involved (and not some patriarchal, misogynist) it’s quite different—as in worlds apart.

    So much of the “science” that Pavone and other prolife groups use is suspect. Like the witch doctors who attempt to convert homosexuals, these folks make pseudo-scientific claims that are easily disputed. And sadly people are duped by their claims.

  • paul-bradford

    colleen,

     

    I’m perfectly happy to have discussions with you.  On the other hand, I’d be perfectly happy to respect your choice not to have anything to do with me.  What I won’t accept is having you regularly post me notes telling me that you don’t think I’m worth your time and attention and then noticing that you’ve joined in on the threads where I’m posting and started talking about me.  That’s simply not fair, and it doesn’t make either of us look good.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    it’s not relevant to the topic at hand.

     

    Emma,

     

    It’s relevant in this sense: I’ve worked with people, both women and men, who have been victimized by rape, by incest, by sexual assault and by sexual coercion.  I know this much: sexual abuse victims need a response — a compassionate, respectful, gentle response from a compassionate, respectful, gentle human being.  If you have any desire to be a compassionate, respectful, gentle human being I would propose that you be compassionate, respectful and gentle with everyone.  

     

    There’s only one victim: the woman who was raped.

     

    You know, you’ve kind of tied my hands by announcing that you don’t like hearing from people who think they’re ‘morally superior’.  I wish I could get you to believe that I think all people are equal; but I think you’d be making a moral advance if you noticed all the victims of rape.  You’d also be making an advance toward joy and mental health. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • frolicnaked

    … having an abortion would victimize her twice.

    But this type of thinking always upsets me. It’s not choosing abortion that would twice-victimize a survivor, just like choosing to carry a pregnancy to term would not. It’s the being coerced or pressured into pursuing a course of action that’s not that survivor’s free choice. 

  • human-life-alliance

    When do you think life begins?

    Human Life Alliance

    http://www.humanlife.org

  • human-life-alliance

    Technically he is her biological father – even though what he did was a heinous crime.

    Human Life Alliance

    http://www.humanlife.org

  • human-life-alliance

    Jen is not happy that her mom had to go through something so horrific (who would be), but she is glad that her mother did not choose to kill her – another innocent victim of the situation.  Jen is a wonderful individual  who is now married and has two beautiful children.  See her story here http://www.humanlife.org/abortion_jenni_story.php

    Human Life Alliance

    http://www.humanlife.org

  • heather-corinna

    Just an FYI because I don’t see any comments on it here.

     

    If you’ve ever talked to doulas, midwives or OB/GYNs who have experience with pregnancy and delivery for abuse/rape survivors and who have paid real attention to that, you know that for many women, delivery can actually be exceptionally traumatic for some and trigger body memories of assault.  You also would know that post-partum can be more intense or more prevalent for survivors.  Neither of these things are always the case, and for some, delivery can be something that is experienced as healing, but to suggest that’s the case for all women is beyond unfactual. We also have to recognize that, unfortunately, there are plenty of people working in OB/GYN and delivery without any awareness of how rape and incest can impact a woman with pregnancy and delivery, and finding rape support services isn’t always easy or accessible to all women, so the idea that women will "be helped" throughout so easily is inane.

     

    There’s a pretty good roundup of some material on this issue online here: http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/abuse.html

     

    Of course, I don’t imagine the Human Life Alliance has had these conversations, or if they have, have any notion of disseminating that or any other accurate information that makes clear that a) women’s outcomes with all their choices in pregnancy due to rape or incest vary, and b) since any of these choices can be traumatic, healing or as neutral as anything to do with pregnancy and trauma gets, it’s important we assure, as always, women are supported in whatever choices we make with a pregnancy that occurred via abuse or not.

     

    And without that strong undercurrent of support for independent and individual choice, whatever the choice is, we can’t expect that even women who choose to carry pregnancies that occured via rape or incest to term will be well-served in the way many will need to be in order to have an experience of pregnancy and birth that is ideally not a further trauma for them.

     

    And as a P.S.?  While Joan Kemp may not have met anyone who becaume pregnant via rape or incest and found abotion to be their best choice, I have, more than once. I’ve also encountered women who found birthing to be their best choice, too. Surprise, surprise: there’s no one best choice for all women.

  • pamwood

    Although I am sure that my comments will be merely "throwing pearls to swine", given the language of many of these posts… I have been compelled to try. I am one of those "blobs of cells" you so callously and flippantly mention. I am sure that my birthmother went through alot of pain, I cannot even begin to imagine… but one day, if I ever have the opportunity to meet her face to face, there will never be words to express my gratitude that she chose to give me my life and immense gratitude that she chose to give me a wonderful family (7 of 8 of us adopted…38 of 87 adopted children grandchildren on my mothers side!). I am sure that all of you have posted believe YOUR life is valuable… I just wish you could see the MY LIFE IS VALUABLE as well! Did I really deserve the DEATH PENALTY for the crime of a rapist? MY BIRTHMOTHER IS A HERO… she chose SELFLESSNESS instead of selfishness! I pray everyday that she has found peace and comfort and that her amazing selflessness will be "payed forward" a thousand times. You can write your hateful and angry posts here, you can mock my gratefulness for LIFE and for the pedestal I have put my birthmother on…. but those of us who have actually EXPERIENCED what you are ranting about, know in our hearts what is TRUE and what is RIGHT!

  • prochoiceferret

    Jen is not happy that her mom had to go through something so horrific (who would be), but she is glad that her mother did not choose to kill her – another innocent victim of the situation. Jen is a wonderful individual who is now married and has two beautiful children.

    This is part of the reason (to put it lightly) why we don’t support mandatory abortions for victims of rape. Of course, I’m sure you’re not arguing for the opposite extreme, prohibiting abortions for victims of rape. The only moral course of action is to support the choice of the victim, be it what it may be, and not pressure or coerce her into one choice because of your own ideological inclinations.

  • heather-corinna

    Please bear in mind that not all of us believe that if our mothers had terminated their pregnancies that resulted in our births that we would not have been here.

     

    In other words, for example, I personally feel that even if my mother had been able to legally obtain the abortion she was not able to, it is entirely possible I still would have found my way into this world via a different mother and a different birth. I think we are all of value: I’m just not convinced that the only route we could have gotten into this world and a given life is via the one we did, and I don’t know of any factual evidence to either prove the belief any of us could only have gotten here via one specific set of parents or to disprove beliefs like mine.

     

    I’m unwilling to ever present any women’s choice with pregnancy as selfless or selfish: a woman’s self is always a factor, and something I feel she/we chould always consider.  I don’t find any one choice with a pregnancy to be selfish OR selfless. If anyone thinks we truly are all of value, we have to value the women in these equations and what they feel capable of, what they want, what they feel is best for them to live with.

  • prochoiceferret

    I cannot even begin to imagine… but one day, if I ever have the opportunity to meet her face to face, there will never be words to express my gratitude that she chose to give me my life and immense gratitude that she chose to give me a wonderful family (7 of 8 of us adopted…38 of 87 adopted children grandchildren on my mothers side!).

    Thank you for being pro-choice!

  • crowepps

    They reckoned that continuing a pregnancy that resulted from rape would be healing as people would know you’d been raped and you’d get lots of sympathy.

    Speaking as someone who has heard the testimony of many rape and incest victims, ‘sympathy’ is not a likely reaction.  It is far more likely that they will instead be questioned about ‘what mistake they made’ that exposed them to the rape, how they weren’t ‘careful enough’ to prevent it.  And of course the entire idea of "people would know" depends on the person giving up their right to privacy and letting every chance met stranger know "I may be an unwed mother but I was raped."  Maybe they could sell t-shirts? 

  • heather-corinna

    Ditto, crowepps.

     

    This sounds a lot to me like a statement made by people who haven’t walked in the shoes of those of us who are rape survivors and who have been victims.  Insta-sympathy is hardly the most typical reaction of others, and that’s the understatement of the century.

  • crowepps

    <sarcasm on>

    Why wouldn’t Jen be happy?  After all, the fact that her mother was the victim of a heinous crime is entirely irrelevant compared to the importance to the universe of having JEN around.  Surely Jen’s mother was LUCKY to be raped since the result was JEN!  Surely Jen’s mother and all the rest of us ought to be THANKFUL to the rapist for creating JEN!

    <sarcasm off> 

    Barf.

  • crowepps

    I know this much: sexual abuse victims need a response — a compassionate, respectful, gentle response from a compassionate, respectful, gentle human being.  

    It’s even MORE helpful if that compassionate, respectful, gentle response doesn’t have the subtext of forcing the morality of the responder on the victim, as for instance by withholding Plan B because  the compassionate, respectful, gentle human being believes it’s ‘wrong’ to forestall the creation of a zygote.  Frankly, if I were a rape victim, I would be far more interested in appropriate medical care and effective police work.

    "…most Catholic hospitals test for a pregnancy that occurred before and is unrelated to the sexual assault.  If the pregnancy test is negative, the woman is offered emergency contraception. Some other Catholic hospitals test for ovulation in order to check whether a woman is at the point in her menstrual cycle when conception might have already occurred. Since there is no current method for ascertaining that an ovum has been fertilized until implantation, this tests whether conception is a possibility (though a remote one, less than 1 percent to 5 percent). Because of the assumptions of the ovulation approach, it would not be morally licit to give a woman emergency contraception at this point. Nor would it be morally licit to refer a woman who has been sexually assaulted to another provider to receive emergency contraception if she has ovulated recently.

    Catholic Health Association of the United States

    http://www.womensenews.org/story/health/051227/some-hospitals-withhold-plan-b-after-rape

  • crowepps

    I am assuming from your post that you were adopted as an infant and have never met your biological mother.  If that is correct, how do you know she was raped?  Did one of your adoptive parents tell you that?  How did they find out?  It certainly doesn’t sound like the kind of information any responsible adoption agency would release.  If it’s important to "know in [your] heart what is true and what is right" it’s important to factcheck.

  • cobweb

    cobweb 

    Life doesn’t "begin"; life "began," billions of years ago, and every living thing, plant and animal, is an extension of that beginning. Your nutty idea that "life begins at conception" is so totally unfair to the billions of sacred, sperm which are killed through neglect because women do not do their part by providing enough ova for each sperm to fulfill his God given potential, and the living ovum which women allow to be wasted…? Was that why God made rapists, to prevent fewer of those poor defensless eggs from going unfulfilled ? 

  • crowepps

    Medical Care for Rape Victims

    There are four reasons why victims may need medical attention following a rape. First, forensic evidence can be collected (e.g., semen, blood, and/or hair/fiber/skin samples). Second, a medical examination is helpful to detect and treat physical injuries from the assault. Third, victims often want information and testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and some hospitals administer of a preventative dose of antibiotics to treat any STDs that might have been contracted in the assault. Finally, although pregnancy from rape is rare (5% of the time, Beebe, 1991: Koss, Woodruff, & Koss, 1991), it is a concern for many victims, and some hospitals administer the morning-after pill to prevent pregnancy (i.e., ethinyl estradiolnorgestrel [Ovral]).

    There has been very little research examining whether hospitals offer these services to victims. The National Victim Center’s (1992) survey of female survivors of sexual assault indicated that 60% of victims were not advised about pregnancy testing or how to prevent pregnancy. Although 43% of the women were concerned about contacting HIV from the assault, 73% were not given information about testing for exposure to HIV Another 40% were not given information about the risk of contracting other STDs. Campbell and Bybee (1997) found that emergency room personnel rarely provide rape victims with the morning-after pill to prevent pregnancy (38% of the time). These findings suggest that there is some inconsistency in what information and services are offered to victims during the medical exam.

    http://vaw.msu.edu/core_faculty/rebecca_campbell/Articles/Campbell_(1998).pdf

    This is rather old, but it is informative about the reaction of trained medical personnel to a person presenting as a rape victim.  60% of the time there was no counseling about pregnancy prevention?  40% of the time there was no counseling about STD exposure?  Doesn’t seem to me to indicate that the automatic reaction is ‘sympathy’.

     

    When a girl or woman is raped, there are questions asked about her previous sexual history, what she was wearing, how ‘attractive’ she is, whether her manner was ‘flirtatious’, how intoxicated she was, and whether she and her rapist were previously acquainted.  Imagine for just a moment how likely it is that any of these questions would be given serious consideration if the crime were instead robbery, kidnapping or murder.

  • kate-ranieri

    Paul wrote: Victims of rape and incest (some of whom, let me remind you, are male) are victims precisely because they are treated as something less than human."

     

    Let me remind you, Paul, that men are the perpetrators here….men raping men or women. Let’s not forget that men continue to perpetrate indignities on women from the violence of rape to the legislators’ and religious leaders’ shameful disrespect for all women who deserve comprehensive reproductive health care (regardless of their position on abortion) or from the deliberate indifference of the culture of rape in military war zones like Iraq and Afganistain to the horrific  treatment of pregnant female prisoners nationwide. 

  • ack

    I fully support your birth mother’s right to choose to continue her pregnancy. I also fully support women who feel that continuing a pregnancy resulting from rape is not the best choice for them. It’s not selfishness, it’s self-care.

    A man raped me when I was in college. Thankfully, I did not become pregnant. If I had, I would have chosen abortion, because I knew that I was in no state to go through the further trauma of pregnancy and birth. And no one has the right to tell me that my choice would have been wrong.

  • emma

    Please don’t try to imply that I lack sympathy for people who’ve been raped. I feel a great deal of empathy toward people who have been raped.

     

    I responded to your ‘men get raped, too’ statement in the way I did because I thought it a little odd to bring up male rape victims when we were specifically discussing the belief of some ‘pro-life’ people/groups that women must gestate the child of her rapist. In a discussion of an article with that focus – pregnancy resulting from rape – it’s off topic to bring up male rape victims, whose experiences are real and traumatic, but do not have to worry about pregnancy from the rape – i.e. the topic of the article does not apply to them. That isn’t the same as suggesting that they don’t exist or are unimportant; but when you’re discussing pregnancy as a result of rape, the who have to worry about such things are women and girls.

     

    On the last part, I thought you were getting all sentimental and silly and referring to victimised zygotes or whatever it might be. If I was incorrect, I apologise.

     

    ETA: Also, I think you’ve missed what I was trying to do when I said I was sad and disappointed in that other thread. No need to censor yourself when responding to me; I promise I won’t be upset. :)

     

    (Edited for typo and to add.)

  • emma

    Yeah, exactly. Given how many rape victims don’t ever tell anyone they were raped, it seems unlikely that most would be inclined to share it with strangers. It would be so hard…when my best friend was pregnant, she had cretinous, creepy, nosey complete fucking strangers coming up and touching her abdomen* and asking questions about whether her husband was excited and all of that kind of thing. It drove her crazy as it was, but that would be just so traumatic if your pregnancy were a result of rape. Plus, having strangers mauling you without consent might be a really traumatic violation for someone who’d been raped.

     

    *I do. not. get. what makes people think it’s ok to do this. Why is it that some people seem to think that feeling up a stranger is acceptable if that stranger happens to be a pregnant woman?!!

  • paul-bradford

    It’s even MORE helpful if that compassionate, respectful, gentle response doesn’t have the subtext of forcing the morality of the responder on the victim

     

    crowepps,

     

    You’re not the only regular at this ‘site who uses the word ‘morality’ as if it were a bad thing.  The feeling I get, reading your sentence, is that "forcing the morality of the responder" is akin to the Taliban using the pretense of morality to deny girls the right to learn to read.  Morality is a club with which to beat people over the head. 

     

    My take on those hospital directives is so different than yours.  As I see it, they’re an example of a corporate employer insisting that its employees execute beneficial interventions for their clients and prohibiting them from executing malicious ones.  I’m all for that kind of morality.  I think our society would be much better if we stopped thinking about enterprise in terms of turning a profit or advancing a career and, instead, looked at it as an opportunity to do good for people and a reminder not to do them harm.

     

    I’m in the health care business myself.  I operate under the assumption that when we have a pregnant woman in our care that woman’s child is in our care as well.  We have to do good things, not bad things, for the mother; and we have to do good things, not bad things, for the child.  It’s moral to do right by your clients.  Would you be happier if organizations left morality out of the equation and did nothing to prevent their members from causing harm?  That would certainly be a way not to "force" morality.

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    Please don’t try to imply that I lack sympathy for people who’ve been raped.

     

    Much to the contrary, Emma, I had assumed that you’re willing to be completely sympathetic to rape victims.  I simply wanted you to put that sympathy to good use by being sympathetic to all the victims.

     

    When a woman (or a man) is raped, there’s a victim.  When that assault results in the conception of a child, there are two victims.  The difference isn’t between male and female.  The difference is between one and two. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    Kate,

     

    The examples you bring up are all relevant, and are all examples of men dehumanizing other people (mostly women).  Violence to women, and the dehumanization of women are the same thing.  Dehumanization equals violence, even when there’s no physical injury. 

     

    Let me remind you, Kate, that you and I are in complete agreement.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    However, when it’s a living, breathing woman involved (and not some patriarchal, misogynist) it’s quite different—as in worlds apart.

     

    Kate,

     

    The ‘living, breathing woman’ is a trauma victim.  A trauma counselor doesn’t have to tackle the job of encouraging an abortion, or of preventing an abortion.  The trauma counselor has the job of rehumanizing the woman.  Her (or his?) interactions and very presence should convey the message that the victim’s life matters, that her humanity matters.  The rapist had the intention of scarring her with the ghastly idea that her life doesn’t matter and that her humanity doesn’t matter.  The rapist used her as a thing — a thing to be used and abused.

     

    People are not things!  We could eliminate the Bible, and the Koran and the Bhagavad Gita and still do fine if we could remember that. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • heather-corinna

    I don’t buy the notion that the First Amendment gives people the
    freedom to believe any kind of horse shit they want to believe.

    Paul: Did I miss the part where I ever called your set of beliefs "horse shit"?  Even though your set of beliefs consistently addresses things that don’t even happen in your body, but happen in mine, and my personal belief on this is derived from an experience with a lost pregnancy, something which has never and will never happen in your body? Or did I miss where I ever even suggested that your belief system was somehow any less valid than mine? If not, can I ask what leads you to believe it’s acceptable to talk to me or anyone else here this way? I do not even remotely think that death doesn’t matter, and I can’t begin to tell you what a jerk you’d feel like saying such a thing to me if you knew much about my life history.  That is, if you had the kind of conscience, compassion and care for others you doggedly claim to but seem to rarely demonstrate.

     

    I’m not going to discuss born people being killed because men are fighting for political gain in the same discussion as one about women making a choice not to continue a pregnancy in any circumstance, let alone with rape.  I understand you feel they are one and the same, but I do not. And as the person in this discussion with you in actual posession of a uterus (and who has also actually survived rape), I’d expect a person with the kind of sensitivity you seem to tell us you have incessantly to refrain from making statements like this to others.

     

    However, per the person you constantly show yourself to be, I’m entirely unsurprised. Might want to check your Mr. Good Guy facade: it seems to be slipping.

  • julie-watkins

    So why shouldn’t strangers feel free to feel up a baby-belly? If she’s community property, there’s no need to ask. Grrr.

  • prochoicegoth

    Your friend’s mother CHOSE to have her, did she not? Was she forced to bring the pregnancy to term? I don’t think so. Just because she chose gestation, doesn’t mean that’s the best choice for all rape victims. Why can’t you allow women to make that judgement for themselves? Do you not trust women?

  • colleen

    On the other hand, I’d be perfectly happy to respect your choice not to have anything to do with me.

     

    Where did I say this?

     

    It’s becoming increasingly obvious to me that you have some deep seated personal problems.  This isn’t a forum where it’s possible to deal with them.

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • colleen

     

     

    The problem is that wherever women online discuss rape we always get some man pointing out that men are raped too . In this case pointing it out that men are rape victims is particularly inappropriate because we’re talking about pregnancies that result from rape and the inappropriate response of the religious right to these pregnancies which is to FURTHER dehumanize the rape victim by behaving as if she were a walking incubator who needs to understand her moral responsibility to carry to term the child of her rapist. So, no, I do not believe you are in "complete agreement".

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • crowepps

    I don’t get why people think this is okay either, but it is incredibly common.  My daughter works as a retail clerk and she said people’s personal questions and belief that they could touch her belly as though it weren’t part of her at all just about drove her nuts.  This would not only be traumatic for a victim of rape but also for any woman who has been told that her fetus is non-viable. 

  • crowepps

    The feeling I get, reading your sentence, is that "forcing the morality of the responder" is akin to the Taliban using the pretense of morality to deny girls the right to learn to read.

    Yes, that’s right.  I don’t see any difference.

     I operate under the assumption that when we have a pregnant woman in our care that woman’s child is in our care as well.

    And yet we were not discussing pregnant women.  We were discussing rape victims appearing at the emergency room for care.  Rape victims who might have the sperm of their assailant in their bodies but who are not yet pregnant.  The whole point of emergency contraception is to prevent.  There is no child in anyone’s care because the sperm have not yet reached the egg and no zygote has been formed.  In cases where a blastocyst has already implanted, emergency contraception does not interfere with the pregnancy at all.

     

    In those circumstances, the rape dehumanizes the woman by treating her as an object of lust, and withholding the information about emergency contraception because sex should equal pregnancy even when the sex is rape dehumanizes the woman by treating her as an object of reproduction.

  • crowepps

    The trauma counselor has the job of rehumanizing the woman.

     

    I really try not to quibble about the way people express themselves but words do matter.  The trauma counsel does not rehumanize.  The woman was and still is human and can be helped to reaffirm that.

     

    Her (or his?) interactions and very presence should convey the message that the victim’s life matters, that her humanity matters.

     

    Any idea that the trauma counselor by "interactions and very presence" reestablishes meaning to the victim’s life is substandard professional practice.  The therapy should properly center on helping the patient overcome her trauma instead of starring the mental health clinician as heroic rescuer.

  • crowepps

    I can’t pin them down right now, but I remember seeing quite a discussion about designating categories of persons as qualifying under ‘hate crimes’ as unfair because ‘other people get robbed and assaulted and murdered’ and why do these ‘special’ categories get ‘special rights’.

     

    I really think the whole ‘men are raped too’ response is an attempt to deny the misogyny and sexism involved in rape, just as those above deny the bigotry involved in their attacks.  "Assaulting gays isn’t ‘hate’ because straights get assaulted too."  Yeah, yeah, and I’m sure the people assaulting them scream ‘Breeder’ and ‘Hetero’ while they do so.

     

    The conservative belief seems to sum up that the purpose for the existence of women is a thing men are entitled to have sex with and use to reproduce themselves.  Their revulsion at the most minimal civil rights for women makes it clear that they consider women inferior.  After all, if God had wanted them to be treated equally, they would have been born normal – as men.

  • kamakalia

    If you open a dictionary (2006 Concise Oxford) :
    - father: a man in relation to his child or children.
    - genitor (same etymological roots as genitals): a person’s biological father.

     

    Common sense should dictate to be at least sensitive and mindful enough to bother paying attention to lexical accuracy when one is wishing to engage in  "counseling" of sexual assault victims about their pregnancy. Furthermore, the two distinct words exist because they describe two different and specific realities.

     

    This is also the reason why, _technically_ (to use your own word), the words zygote, embryo, fetus and baby are not interchangeable terms, no matter how effective the muddying of the water is to achieve optimal emotional impact on readers.

  • emma

    Subject heading referring to this:

    However, per the person you constantly show yourself to be, I’m entirely unsurprised. Might want to check your Mr. Good Guy facade: it seems to be slipping.

    In this thread alone, Paul appears to imply that his permission is required for you (and I guess by extension everyone else) to hold religious/spiritual beliefs with which he disagrees, and for colleen to respond to him. He’s tipping his hand more and more frequently, I think.

     

    Unsurprising, I suppose, but kinda irritating nonetheless.

  • harry834

    I hope you don’t interpret your experience to mean that Ack, if she got pregnant, was obligated to bear her pregnancy. If you don’t believe this, then I suppose this means you would support Ack’s choice to abort, I hope? That would make you pro-choice. But your negative feelings about abortion make me wonder how far a friend who was raped and chose abortion could trust you to listen. Would you listen, or look at her as someone who "took a life"?

    We ought to ask how far anyone can support a woman who chose abortion, if they view her as someone who "took a life". 

  • harry834

    some women who choose abortion are already of the view (or lean towards) that abortion is the taking of a life. For such women, maybe she’s  best seeking support from those who have pro-life views, like PamWood. The women who have abortions differ greatly as individuals, and many would consider themselves pro-life. In seeking emotional support, there first, and rightful choice, may be those that share their views.

    And all of us on this site, despite our anger with each other, would support such a choice. But the key theme is that such choices must be allowed because every woman who chooses abortion, adoption, or parenting is different in their internal experience and feelings, so the pro-choice view – that we should let each woman have her own autonomy in deciding how to deal with her emotions – is the view that comes as wisest.

  • jodi-jacobson

    Please bear in mind that many women reading all of your comments have experienced rape and the further violation of becoming pregnant, or perhaps infected with HIV as the result of rape, not to mention the searing trauma of rape itself.

     

    RH Reality Check tries to the greatest extent possible to honor freedom of speech on our site, barring calls to violence, direct personal insults and so forth.  This means there has to be both a high tolerance for a wide variety of opinions, but also some self-regulation.  Posts suggesting that one person’s choices in life have bearing on the existence of another born person are not helpful.

     

    Because we as yet live in a culture that condones violence against women and also often subtly or obviously blames victims, women who experience rape are again often doubly victimized by our culture.

     

    More than one woman who has been a victim of a rapist has raised concerns here about the tenor of the conversation.

     

    RH Reality Check supports the choices of all women.  We fully support the free choices of women who, as a result of becoming pregnant due to rape freely and with fully informed choice and consent decide to terminate that pregnancy.  We simultaneously fully support the choices of women who freely and with fully informed choice and consent decide to carry such a pregnancy to term, whether they intend to raise that child or give it up for adoption.

     

    That is the essence of choice.

     

    Personalizing women’s choices across the landscape by vilifying a woman/women who chose to terminate a pregnancy after rape, as some commentors above have done in suggesting they (the commentor) personally would otherwise not be here/not have been born is frankly beside the point.

     

    This is not about you or anyone else other than the specific woman in question and her choice.

     

    Please respect that there are many circumstances, many choices to be made, and please fully respect all choices without personalizing someone else’s choice to your own circumstances. 

    Thank you.

    Jodi Jacobson

  • savannah

    This article is extremely sad and I think it lacks another perspective; if a woman is forced to carry a child to term, one that she did not want in the first place, what makes anyone think or believe that she is going to love and take care of that child, equally as much as she would if it was a pregnancy that she desired? I personally could never give birth to a child that I have no idea the background it came from, and then have the possibility that it resemble my attackers physical features; so that I could gloriously live day by day looking into the eyes of the man that attacked me. I’m not saying that the women who choose to have these children are "bad" by any means, in fact, good for them if they are emotionally strong and capable of doing such a thing. I’m not one of them though, and I’d like to think that the option to terminate an UNWANTED pregnancy, especially due to rape or incest, would be acknowledged and accepted by anyone in the world and left alone. But no, too many idiots on this planet think and treat women and their uterus’s as slaves and our only valuable function is to breed. Disgusting.
    "If you can’t trust a woman with a choice; then why would you trust her with a child?"

  • crowepps

    In addition, consider the following scenario – a woman is raped by an acquaintance and reports the rape.  She is taken to a hospital which does not provide her with any means to prevent pregnancy because they believe it is ‘immoral’ to prevent pregnancy and she does indeed become pregnant.

     

    The police find enough evidence for the District Attorney to take it to trial, but the Jury aren’t able to make a decision because his lawyer insists it’s a ‘he said/she said’ scenario and he is found not guilty.

     

    There is now nothing whatsoever to keep this man from suing for custody or visitation, to keep him away from her home, to keep him from literally years and years of harassing her endlessly by using the child as a weapon with which to control her.

     

    Aside from the endless bickering about which days, hours and locations are appropriate for visitation, I have seen cases where the father has gone to court over what school "his" child should go to, what church "his" child should attend, what stepfather is acceptable for "his" child, which of her relatives are permitted to be around "his" child, where "his" child can go on vacation, how "his" child should be disciplined while in the mother’s home, etc., etc.  There was even one particularly memorable case where the father presented evidence about breast milk being healthier and wanted the court to order that the mother be REQUIRED to breastfeed "his" child and let him BE PRESENT so he could "bond" with the child.  Doesn’t that sound cozy? 

     

    It isn’t just the uterus they want to enslave — it’s the whole woman.

  • heather-corinna

    Crowepps, I so appreciate your additions here.

     

    The same also holds true, by the by, should a woman in a similar scenario decide to go for adoption as her choice: she would need this man’s permission to do that, and he would be completely able to refuse, effectively forcing her to parent.

  • crowepps

    I have worked on enough custody cases over the past quarter of a century to be entirely cynical about any possibility that parents generally ‘want what’s best for their children’ and I’ll extend that to society overall.  Any society that really, truly valued children wouldn’t leave them living where they’re abused/hungry or allow them to die from pregnancy complications at 16 or send them off as soldiers at 19 to die in an attempt to take over oilfields.

  • kate-ranieri

    This society works itself into a froth about family values, what’s best for the children, or the slogan that children are our future–as long as the children are white, heterosexual, middle-to-upper class. Ask homeless LGBT kids how much society treasures them. Ask poor Black kids in inner cities how teachers and police value them as our future leaders. Ask Puerto Rican teens what it’s like to walk into a retail store to learn how anxious sales associates are to serve them. Ask state and federal prison wardens why there are so many juvenile minority inmates. Until we value all children, we will continue to allow, by society’s deliberate indifference, some children to live and others to die.

  • crowepps

    For that matter, ask those white, heterosexual, middle-to-upper class kids how much help there is available to them when their white, heterosexual, middle-to-upper class parents are allowing the family to disintegrate while they snort coke or smoke oxy or drown in booze.

  • phylosopher

    of you and Catholic hospitals.  Assuming that THEY know what is beneficial to the woman.  And then refusing to do their job when her choice differs from their club rules.  I am so happy everyday that I am a recovering as opposed to a practicing catholic. And I will be working harder than ever to have catholic organizations that indulge in this kind of paternalism either shut down or have their tax exempt status yanked. 

  • phylosopher

    of this particular man -oooo, I’m not the center of attention, so I’ll have t threadjack…so, so, typical.

  • kate-ranieri

    Good call, crowepps!