Rape and Abortion


Fr. Frank Pavone

  Shouldn't the woman who is raped be able to have an abortion?" Many people, opposed to abortion in other circumstances, ask this question. There are various reasons why abortion is not the answer.

The woman who has been raped has undergone a terrible trauma and injustice. We care about her. We will help her. Such pro-life organizations as Fortress International and Life After Assault League exist to bring the rape victim healing and strength and help her get on with her life. Nobody should minimize or ignore the pain of a rape victim. We want to show her love.

Will an abortion help her? First of all, the abortion will not un-rape the woman. The tragedy has happened and nothing can change the past. Second, abortion brings a trauma of its own. To see abortion as a magic wand that brings relief but no pain is to ignore the pain of countless women who suffer for years and decades after abortion. Such groups as WEBA (Women Exploited By Abortion), American Victims of Abortion, and Victims of Choice provide ample proof that abortion hurts women. I know of women who have been raped and then had abortions, and are in counseling not for the rape but for the abortion! In rape, the trauma is "Someone hurt me." In abortion, the trauma is "I hurt and killed someone else -- my child." That brings even more grief.

Why is rape wrong? Because someone attacks the body of an innocent person. Why is abortion wrong? Because someone attacks the body of an innocent person. That is why both rape and abortion should be rejected.

We care about the woman who is raped. We care about the child who is conceived. Why can't we love them both? Why can't we protect them both?

A rape that results in pregnancy directly involves three people: the rapist, the victim, and the child. The victim should be helped, and the rapist should be punished. But to say the child should be killed is to punish the wrong person. Suppose your father committed a terrible crime and the police came to your home, arrested you, and had you sentenced to death? The unfairness of that is obvious. Yet that is the same unfairness that occurs if a child conceived by rape is aborted.

We should also know the results of some important studies. Pregnancy occurs in 0 to 2.2% of rape victims. Furthermore, most rape victims who become pregnant want to keep their babies. The pressure to abort often comes from someone else. Of all the abortions performed in America, fewer than 1% are because of rape.

For more information on these and other aspects of this question, or for counseling and encouragement, contact:

Life After Assault League (LAAL)
1336 West Lindbergh St.
Appleton, Wisconsin 54914
(920) 739-4489

Abortion is never the answer. Let's not add violence to violence. When it comes to the woman who carries a baby conceived by rape, let's choose to love them both!