Over the years, The Interim has received so many questions concerning rape and abortion, that this month Miss Prestwich has decided to devote her entire column to the issue.  Editor

I don’t believe in abortion, but surely rape is a special case.  Why should a woman have to suffer twice?

No one can deny that forcible rape is one of the most frightening and traumatic acts of violence and personal violation.  The very idea of rape arouses such an emotional response that many people, who are otherwise ‘pro-life,’ begin to hedge on the issue of rape-pregnancy and abortion.  However, once the emotion, ignorance and misinformation are stripped away (along with the pro-abortion rhetoric which implies that rape-pregnancies are common), the reality becomes clear.  The facts are that pregnancy resulting from rape is an extremely rare occurrence.

Professor Basile J. Vddo, J.D. of the Loyola University School of Law, New Orleans, wrote: “The more candid commentators, even those decidedly pro-abortion, have admitted to the unlikelihood of such pregnancies.  For example, ‘A pregnancy conceived by forcible rape would probably head the list as the most often unwanted, but it is such an unlikely event that it is not really relevant to an understanding of the reasons why women define certain pregnancies as unwanted, (N. Lee, The Search for an Abortionist).’”

Are there statistics to prove that rape-pregnancies is rare?

Yes, there are studies from many countries, for example:

  • Chicago 1967.  A study of all confirmed rape victims in the previous nine years reported no pregnancies.
  • Washington, D.C. 1968.  One pregnancy was reported in over 300 rape victims.
  • In a study by Everett and Jimerson, “The Rape Victim, 177,” it was reported that none of 117 assault rape victims became pregnant.
  • Studies and statistics in Britain and Czechoslovakia showed comparable results.

It is significant that in 1977, a New Zealand Commission on Contraception, Abortion and Sterilization, which suggested the liberalization of the country’s abortion law, recommended excluding abortions for rape.  The commissioners gave two reasons: the incidence of pregnancy was too low; the likelihood of false claims was too great.

Why not make exceptions for the few cases?  It would make it easier to get a pro-life law.

It would not be a “pro-life” law.  Horrible as rape might be, the unborn child is not the criminal, deserving to be executed.  Any law which allows the direct killing of an innocent pre-born child is a pro-abortion law.

When rape occurs, and is reported promptly, there are non-abortive measures that can be taken to treat the victim.

Experience has proved that both women and doctors are willing to fudge on the issue of abortion; once abortions were allowed for “health” reasons in Canada, maternal health seemed to go into a steep decline.  When California liberalized its laws and permitted abortions for rape victims, the incidence of rape appeared to increase dramatically.  In an article by Overstreet, The means of Determining the Legitimacy of Requests for Abortion, 1970, one doctors said: “Forcible rape is a problem at the present in California because the presentation of false rape cases has increased.”  Dr. John L.O’Grady, in Abortion, Yes or No, said: “Let us be realistic when it comes to rape…As one doctor said, “Some cases that were memorable experiences become rape when pregnancy becomes evident.”

The final answer must be, however, that no sentence an innocent child to death because of a crime committed by hex on his father is against all normal principles of justice.  The value of a human life is not determined by how it was conceived.  Ethel Waters, a famous blues singer, in her autobiography, His Eye is on The Sparrow, said that she herself was conceived when her 13 year old mother was raped.  Yet this “child of rape” has contributed immeasurably to the lives and enjoyment of millions of people.