Assault-rape pregnancy – the worst of the hard cases. Except for the cases where a pregnancy threatens the life of the mother, more people would allow induced abortion for this reason than for any other; approximately 75 per cent of the public is permissive for this reason. Also, a significant number of legislators also would carve out an exception for assault rapes.


How do we answer it? Well, for anyone fully aware of the facts of fetal development, the answer lies in the obvious question. Should we kill an innocent baby for the crime of his father?


As most of us know, even though this couldn’t be more clear-cut, for many people it is not enough. We must go further in making the case that one act of violence does not justify a second act of violence.


First, we would explain that assault rape pregnancies (remember, always assault rape as opposed to statutory rape) are extremely rare as a look at relevant statistics reveals.


There are about 100,000,000 women in the U.S. old enough to be at risk for rape. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that there are 100,000 rapes per year.


100,000/100,000,000 = 1/1,000


From this we calculate that about one woman in 1,000 or a total of 100,000, are subjected to an assault rape a year.


In Canada with about 10,000,000 women at risk, there are 3600 assault rapes reported, or one rape for 2,780 women.


(Some would protest that the number is higher, that many rapes are not reported. Okay, if you think that, please nonetheless bear with me. If you think, for example, that there are twice as many as reported, just multiply my final figure by a factor of two [or whatever]).


The next fact is that assault rape rarely produces pregnancy. Let’s explore that fact in detail.


Of the 100,000 women we mentioned earlier, 50 per cent are too old or too young to get pregnant. This leaves 50,000 at risk of pregnancy as the result of an assault rape.


-a woman is capable of being fertilized only three days out of a 30-day month. So divide the 50,000 figure by ten (30÷3) and 5,000 women remain.


-one fourth of all women in the U.S. of child-bearing age, have been sterilized, reducing the figure from 5,000 to 3,750.


-only half of assailants penetrate the woman’s body and/or deposit sperm. One –half of 3,750 is 1,675.


-about 15 per cent of men are sterile, so subtract 245 and get 1,430.


-about 15 per cent of non-surgically sterilized women are naturally sterile. This reduces the number to 1,220.


-another 15 per cent are on the pill. Now the figure is 1,040.


Then we must factor in something that all adults know. A healthy husband and wife may live together, have regular intercourse and use nothing to prevent conception and still not get pregnant for a period of many months or years. Pregnancy occurs more quickly in a young couple and takes longer in an older couple. Even factoring in many of the things mentioned above, however, if one averages all such couples, it takes from 5 to 10 months to achieve a pregnancy. Let us take the smaller figure and divide 1040 by 5 and the number drops to 208.


Finally, factor in one of the most important reasons why the rape victim rarely gets pregnant – psychic trauma. Every woman is aware that stress and emotional factors can alter her menstrual cycle. Examples abound, such as the bride whose period comes at the wrong time that month, the college co-ed, away from home for the first time, who misses periods, etc. To get pregnant and to stay pregnant a woman’s body must produce a sophisticated mix of hormones. Hormone production is controlled by a part of the brain which is easily influenced by emotions.


There is probably no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape.


Unquestionably, this affects and can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and nurturing during pregnancy. There are no proven statistics on this, but all agree that its effect can be profound. What further percentage reduction will this make in pregnancy? No one knows, but this certainly cuts the last figure by as little as 50 per cent and perhaps as much as 90 per cent more. Again being very conservative in our calculations we have a final figure of 100 women.


Can the possibility of 100 abortions in the U.S. (and three in Canada) justify maintaining the present Holocaust?


It was noted at the beginning of this article that about 100,000 women a year are victims of assault rape. The above explanation calculates to only about 100 pregnancies as a result. That means that one in a thousand gets pregnant from the rape. This is a figure that is consistent with many studies. For further documentation, let me refer you to the Rape Chapter in our book, Abortion: Questions & Answers.


The stark statistics are important. In an average recent year in the U.S. there have been:


3,800,000 live births

1,550,000 reported abortions plus ?? unreported ones

100 assault rape pregnancies


Dr. john Willke is president of the National right to Life Committee. This article first appeared in the National Right to Life News, July 17, 1986.