Would you force a woman to carry her rapist’s child?

by: Claire Miller

The other day, I got into an hour-long conversation about abortion with a man and a woman.  They seemed interested to get their questions answered and to find out my views and the team’s views on abortion and the hard questions.  As we moved through our discussion, we came to the conclusion that since the fetus has human parents and is growing, it must be a living human being.  Abortion, they agreed, is wrong since it would kill that living human being, but they had one major issue with our cause that was preventing us from moving further in our discussion.  Their biggest issue was rape.

“What about rape?  Would you force a woman to carry her rapist’s child?  What if the woman looks into her child’s eyes and sees her rapist?  It’s hardly even a child to her, it’s a monster.  Why can’t she get an abortion to be rid of the monster?”

I pause.  They brought up one of the most traumatic experiences a woman can go through and several of the worries of women who have been in that situation.  I think of how the couple I’m talking to may have been affected by rape.  The woman may have been raped herself and the man may have known a friend or family member who had been raped.  They look into my eyes to see if I would condemn a woman for having to go through that horrific experience, looking to see if I would condemn them or their friends for the actions of the rapist.  I take all these thoughts into consideration before I respond.

“I know that rape is a terrible thing and I can’t even imagine going through the trauma of rape.  To have to deal with that horrible experience for the rest of my life, I don’t know how I would deal with it.”

    I pause again.  I look into their eyes to make sure they know that I care.  I want them to know I understand how impossibly difficult those women's lives must be as a result of rape.  I want them to know that I care about the woman.  But not only do I care about the mother and her well being, but I also care about her child.

    “But does the trauma of rape make it okay for her to kill her child?  And would killing her child really be a solution or make her rape less horrific?”

    They take a moment to consider the questions I’ve asked and nod their heads in thought.  They both seem to understand the flaws in the logic of abortion being okay in cases of rape.  But I recognize the uncertainty on the woman’s face.

    “I can see where you’re coming from, but what if the child is a product of incest?"

    I respond with, "Once again, I understand that both the rape and incest situations are so difficult for women to go through.  Especially having to deal with having a child as a result of incest would be so difficult.  But that child is still a living human being with a valuable life, should we punish the child for the actions of his or her father by killing the child?"

Her understanding expression showed that I effectively conveyed how I care about both the woman and her child.  She expressed her appreciation of having the conversation and seeing that my team and I are humans and are compassionate.  The couple walked away from our conversation with a different perspective on both pro-life people and the abortion topic.

At Survivors, we learn that by listening to the concerns of the people we talk to, we as pro-lifers can convey our sympathy towards both the women and their children.  We cannot simply wait for others to stop talking in order for us to get a word in.  If we take what they say, understand it, and then respond to it with compassion and thought, we can truly make an impact on the thinking of others. Invite Survivors to help you or your group speak out about abortion and help you answer this and other “hard questions.”