We all feel angry when it comes to the subject of rape. It is one of the most abhorrent, traumatising and horrific forms of assault on a person, and discussions about it can be very emotive. Anger and grief are what lead people to believe that abortion should be available in cases of rape. It’s a feeling that abortion is necessary to protect women following the assault. Anger can be blinding, and its effects can be felt on those who are innocent. But justice requires that our anger should be taken out on the criminal, not the mother and baby. It is the criminal who should pay for the crime he has committed.
Through various reports we have learned that ending the life of the baby can add to the suffering of the mother and does not undo the trauma of the assault. In the only major study of pregnant rape victims ever done, Dr Sandra Mahkorn found that 75-85% of those women chose not to abort their babies. They decided against abortion.
Some victims expressed the view that abortion would be another act of violence against their bodies. Those who did abort recalled how the abortion exacerbated the traumatic feelings associated with sexual assault and that their psychological state of mind actually regressed. We must be careful with the language we use and the actions we take. Advocating that a child conceived through rape should not be allowed to live is a sentence of death. Yet every child has a right to life, just the same as the rest of us.
Through abortion the baby’s life is ended. The rapist, if apprehended, will at most serve a prison sentence and will most likely not serve for life. Isn’t the harsher penalty imposed on the innocent baby? Mothers who conceive through rape or who are victims of domestic violence do not look at their child with hate. They love them as much as they are loved by their innocent baby. That love is what aids the healing of the mother.