Letter

Rape victims like me should not be pawns in the abortion debate

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The “hard cases” make up 1 percent of all abortions provided in the U.S., and these cases include those conceived in rape. How many times have you heard or have you yourself said “I am against abortion except in the cases of rape”? Even the pro-life bills we are trying to pass have the rape exception, leaving those conceived in violence in harm’s way.

The common pro-choice argument is that by forcing a woman to carry a child conceived in rape, you are delaying her relief of the trauma. She will be forced to continue to think of her attack for another nine months until she can deliver and place her baby for adoption. Aborting the child will mean she won’t have that traumatic experience with her as long. Let her abort and be done with it.

This argument might seem valid at first, but I am ready to shut it down. I never wanted to share my experience, but if it saves even one rape victim from becoming a victim of abortion, then I have no regrets about coming forward.

At the age of just almost 17, on a night I thought I was going to watch movies with a group of friends, I became a victim of rape. I never saw it coming and I never did anything about it. All I could do was think, “just be over, already.” I never thought I’d actually be a victim of rape but if I ever were, I thought for sure that:

  1. I would fight like hell.
    I didn’t. I was paralyzed with fear.
  2. I would get away as soon as I could and never look back.
    I didn’t. I drove him to his buddies’ house afterward because he told me to. And if I knew one thing, it was that if this guy wanted me to do something, I was going to do it – whether I wanted to or not.
  3. I would report it to my parents and the police.
    I didn’t. I was embarrassed and disgusted with myself. I felt like it was my fault for putting myself in this situation. And I didn’t think anyone would believe me.

I didn’t talk about it again until years later.

It took a long time before I felt whole again or as if I weren’t to blame. It took even longer to forgive the man who attacked me, but now when I think of him, I mostly wonder if he feels bad or regrets it. I wonder if he has grown and gone through his own forgiveness. I hope so.

So why am I telling you all of this now? Because I do understand what trauma from sexual abuse feels like and I can promise, 100 percent, that the trauma these victims feel is not from the pregnancy – it is from the rape.

I did not get pregnant from my attack. But guess what? Nine months, 12 months, 18 months – heck – 45 months later, I was still carrying my trauma inside of me.

The problem is not the baby – it is the attack!

Aborting a baby will not make the rape disappear. You will NEVER get to undo what that man did to you. Neither will I, and it sucks! But as much as it sucks, adding even more physical and emotional trauma to such a traumatic event is not the answer.

A woman who is raped does not need an abortionist reaching inside her body to force out an unborn baby before sending her on her way like nothing happened. Victims of rape need to be treated with the utmost level of compassion – and there is nothing compassionate about abortion.

After abortion, a victim will not only have to deal with the emotions from her attack; she will also have to deal with the emotions of getting an abortion. Some research has shown that women who get abortions are 6 times more likely to take their own lives.

So the innocent baby dies, the innocent woman is deeply scarred from her attack and her abortion, but the rapist is footloose and fancy free. We aren’t helping anyone with this system here, people.

Let’s not forget the children conceived in rape. Can a so-called “rape baby” not grow up into a productive member of society? Why are we punishing the children for the sins of their fathers? These children did nothing wrong. And why do we even call them “rape babies”? They didn’t rape anyone, so no “R” word is necessary.

There is so much that goes through the minds of sexual abuse victims. I still have bad days and moments of questioning the “what ifs”. And now that I am dealing with infertility, I have literally thought that, for me, a baby conceived in rape would be better than no baby at all. The emotions that come from an attack are deep-rooted and will never fully disappear. I will always have that in my history book. But it doesn’t need to define me or destroy me.

I, for one, will no longer tolerate people using rape victims as pawns in the abortion debate. We are real people who have real pain. Enough of the “don’t force continued trauma” line. Our trauma continues, baby or no baby. Abortion doesn’t undo the rape; it kills a baby.

The pro-life community needs to defend the 1 percent as much as the 99 percent. Every time the 1 percent is used to justify abortion, every time we hear about “rape exceptions,” and every time we hear innocent children being called “rape babies,” women who have been raped are reminded of our trauma and are reminded that our babies were (or would have been) called by that name.

If you care about the victims of rape when it comes to the abortion debate, you would never use them – use me – as an example or as a pawn to pass a law or to get what you want.

No more exceptions! Enough is enough.

Jamie Jeffries blogs at Prolife Wife.

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