about rape? What if it was your daughter who was raped?
would love her and my grandchild unconditionally, and I would do everything
in my power to prosecute the perpetrator to the fullest extent of the
of our desire to save someone from suffering, it is normal to wish we
could erase a painful memory such as rape. Unfortunately, the hard truth
is that as much as we want to, we can't.
doesn't erase a memory. Think about it.
my lecture at Vanderbilt University, a medical student told other students
that abortion is a second act of violence against a woman who is raped,
and said her “abortion was worse than the rape.”
victims—the woman and her child—deserve our unconditional
can be punishing, but a child is not a punishment. When Julie Makimaa
was reunited with her birthmother, Lee Ezell ("Victory
Over Violence," The American Feminist, vol. 5, no. 3), Julie
asked her if it would have been better for Lee if Julie was never born
told Julie that she was the “only good thing to come out of the
someone asks about exceptions for rape and incest, we must also consider
how that makes those feel who were conceived through sexual assault.
statements can hurt. As one UC-Berkeley grad student said to her pro-choice
peers, “I have a right to be here.”
responded, “We didn't mean you!” She asked, “Who did
you think you meant?”
mother told this story to a coworker who agreed and said, "People never
think they are talking to an exception—like me.”
you look at someone conceived in violence and tell her that she
never should have been born? What if it turned out to be your best
friend—or a relative? Would that change the way you felt about
her? Would you think less of her mother?
Kiessling, a young attorney and mother who was conceived through
sexual assault, asks “Did I deserve the death penalty?”
you imagine if we ranked the value of people based on the circumstances
of their conception?
don't discriminate based on parentage—that's not equality! You are
valuable no matter who your parents are, no matter the circumstances of
used to value a woman based on who her father or husband was. It is similarly
medieval to value a child by the actions of her father. That way of thinking
is patriarchal and antifeminist and it should have gone out with the Dark
after rape is misdirected anger. It doesn't punish the perpetrator of
the crime, or prevent further assaults against other women.
priority is keeping women safe. Incarcerated sexual offenders should not
be allowed pornography, barbells, and early release. We need harsh sentences
for sexual assault without possibility of parole.
need comprehensive support for rape victims who become pregnant. A convicted
rapist should never have paternal rights or be able to demand visitation
from “his” children while in prison. But if he has the means,
he should contribute child support. If a woman is poor and cannot prove
the paternity, she could have problems collecting welfare. Small employers
could fire her. We need to listen to those who have had children conceived
through sexual assault and work for short- and long-term solutions that
for Life is a proud supporter of the Violence Against Women Act. In fact,
we were the only pro-life group active in the National Task Force on Sexual
Assault and Domestic Violence.
a lecture at a midwestern university where I shared the story of Lee and
Julie, a student pulled me aside. She told me that she was raped by her
third cousin as a mere thirteen-year-old and had became pregnant. Her
parents had helped her have the privacy she wanted during her pregnancy,
and then she placed her son with two loving parents.
asked her, why did she make the decision to have the child—when
she was just a girl who had lived through what was arguably the worst
of circumstances? She said she would never pass on the violence
that was perpetrated against her to her own unborn child. Now that
is the strength of a woman!
women deserve better,
Serrin M. Foster
Feminists for Life
Editor's note: Every rape is forced.
Next week's question: What about the life of the mother?
is a reflection that we have not met the needs of women. Women deserve
better than abortion."
REFUSE TO CHOOSE® WOMEN DESERVE BETTER®