Voice4Change

Empowering young Australians to be a clear Christian voice

The hard cases: what about rape or incest?

A pastor wrote to us asking if we had any thoughts on the cases below in relation to abortion…

1. Ectopic pregnancies, where a fertilised egg plants itself in some part of the mother’s body other than the uterus. The unborn child has no possible chance of development into a viable baby but can continue as a growth for weeks or months. The mother has no possible way of delivering the foetus, and is doomed to an excruciating death.

2. Some pregnancies are due to rape or incest. It seems that ova have as much chance of fertilisation and implantation in the uterus from rape or incest as by consensual intercourse. Should we show any consideration for the grief and shame of the mother forced to carry a child against her will? Or are the rights of the foetus paramount?

Here’s our response:

An operation to remove the blockage of a fallopian tube by an ectopic pregnancy is not an abortion, although the death of the baby is an unavoidable secondary result.

Pregnancies caused by rape are very hard cases – but there are many stories of adults conceived in this way who are grateful that their mothers allowed them to live (eg http://www.rebeccakiessling.com/index.html ).

There are additional health reasons why women would be advised to carry those pregnancies to term (and possibly relinquish the baby for adoption by loving couples).  Abortion carries a higher risk that future wanted pregnancies will miscarry because of damage to the cervix.  Abortion of a first pregnancy is associated with a significant increase in breast cancer risk later on – there have been four major studies in recent years showing this link although the Western media have ignored them.  A recent longitudinal NZ study showed that abortion does not lessen mental health risks – on the contrary, mothers who abort unwanted pregnancies are more likely to suffer mental ill-health later on than mothers who carry the pregnancies to term.

The reality is that these days, very few if any abortions are performed because of rape.  South Australia is the only state that keeps detailed records of all abortions, which are presented to parliament each year.  In most recent years, one or no abortions  have been performed as a result of sexual assault (out of a total of 5000).  The vast majority (97%) are performed for “mental health” reasons – which is another way of saying “social reasons”, since abortion is likely to cause mental ill-health.

In cases of genuine rape where the woman reports to police, she is given the “morning after pill” immediately – possibly explaining why so few if any abortions are being performed for this reason.  If “rape” were allowed as the sole reason for abortion, you would find that this would be the claimed reason in many more cases.

Incest is another even harder case – but here again, it may not be in the mother’s best health interests to abort.  Abortion also allows the perpetrator to cover up his crime – with multiple abortions the result, and even more health damage to the mother.

The bottom line is that nearly all abortions these days are performed for social convenience, not rape or incest.  We should not let hard cases deflect us from this disturbing reality.  As the famous saying goes, hard cases make bad law.

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This entry was posted on April 18, 2013 by in Human life & dignity, Preserve Life and tagged , , , .

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