Rape and Incest Victims
Reject and Regret Abortions:
New Book Surveys 192 Victims
Springfield, IL -- A woman becomes pregnant during a rape. Elsewhere,
a 12-year-old incest victim is six months pregnant. Is abortion in
such cases necessary or even helpful?
Not according to a new survey of 192 women
who became pregnant through sexual assault and either had abortions or
carried term. Instead, the consensus opinion of these women who have
actually been in this situation is that abortion in their circumstances
was injurious. Indeed, the results of this new study suggest that most
women who become pregnant through sexual assault do not even want abortions.
The results of this study are included in Victims
and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions, and Children
Resulting from Sexual Assault, edited by Dr. David C. Reardon, Julie
Makimaa and Amy Sobie. In addition to reporting on this survey of
sexual assault victims, the new book also includes the powerful personal
testimonies of twenty women and helpful background information on this
"Many of the women in our sample aborted only because
they were pressured to do so, and most reported that the abortion only
increased their experience of grief and trauma," said Reardon. "In
contrast, none of the women who carried to term said they wished they had
not given birth or that they had chosen abortion instead. Many of
these women said that their children had bought peace and healing to their
Most women who aborted stated that abortion increased
the sense of guilt and shame they felt after sexual assault. They
often reported problems such as depression, substance abuse, broken and
abusive relationships, and suicide attempts after their abortions.
"Abortion increases the woman's sense of isolation
and shame by allowing others to pretend the problem doesn't exist," Reardon
said. "By getting rid of the pregnancy, which is a reminder of the sexual
assault, it allows other people to ignore the woman's need for understanding
and honest exploration and resolution of what she has been through."
A major point raised in the book is an appeal to
allow women who have become pregnant through sexual assault to testify
at congressional hearings. "We feel that legislative hearings would
provide a forum for women who have experienced sexual assault pregnancies
to share their insights and dispel misconceptions," Reardon said.
"These women deserve the right to speak for themselves."
Victims and Victors challenges readers to
develop a more caring and compassionate attitude for women who are experiencing
rape or incest pregnancies. It asks: how can we best meet the needs
of these women and their children? What should their loved ones,
doctors, pastors and counselors be doing to lend their support in this
time of crisis? How should lawmakers react when faced with legislation
regarding abortion in cases of sexual assault?
"For too long, pro-lifers have been backed into
a corner on this issue," Reardon explained. "Population controllers
have exploited people's compassion for rape and incest victims to weaken
abortion laws and gain acceptance for abortion on demand. It's time
to give these women a chance to speak out for themselves and let the truth
Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About their Pregnancies, Abortions
and Children Conceived in Sexual Assault, Edited by David C. Reardon,
Julie Makimaa, and Amy Sobie / Available from Acorn Books, June 2000.
More about Victims and Victors
Table of Contents
ISBN: 0-09648957-1-4 $11.95 (paper)