Sexual Assault and Abortion Brief
David C. Reardon, Author of
Victims and Victors: Speaking Out about Their Pregnancies,
Abortions, and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault
Is there any medical evidence demonstrating that abortion helps pregnant sexual assault victims to heal more quickly or completely?
No. Not only are there no statistically validated studies showing any benefit, to my knowledge there are not any lesser quality studies showing that sexual assault victims who abort fare better than those who do not.
Therefore, there is no evidence based medical justification for concluding that the benefits of abortion outweigh the risks. The only “medical” arguments for abortion are based on speculation.
What do women who have actually been pregnant from sexual assault say?
Victims and Victors was based on the largest survey ever done of women who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest.
Of the 192 respondents, 164 were victims of rape and 28 were victims of incest. Overall, 69 percent continued the pregnancy and either raised the child or made an adoption plan, 29 percent had abortions and 1.5 percent had miscarriages.
- Nearly 80 percent of the women who aborted the pregnancy reported that abortion had been the wrong solution.
- Most women who had abortions said that abortion only increased the trauma they were experiencing.
- In many cases, the victim faced strong pressure or demands to abort. 43 percent of rape victims who aborted said they felt pressured or were strongly directed by family members or health workers to abort.
- In almost every case where an incest victim had an abortion, it was the girl’s parents or the perpetrator who made the decision and arrangements for the abortion, not the girl herself. In several cases, the abortion was carried out against her expressed wishes, and in a few cases, without her knowledge that she was having an abortion.
- More than 80 percent of the women who carried their pregnancies to term said that they were happy that they had continued the pregnancy.
- None of the women who gave birth to a child conceived in sexual assault expressed regret or wished they had aborted instead.
One woman, Edith, was impregnated by her stepfather at the age of 12. Her mother, who knew of the abuse, took her for an abortion. Decades later, Edith wrote:
Throughout the years I have been depressed, suicidal, furious, outraged, lonely, and have felt a sense of loss . . . The abortion which was to “be in my best interest” just has not been. As far as I can tell, it only “saved their reputations,” “solved their problems,” and allowed their lives to go merrily on. … Problems are not ended by abortion, but only made worse.
Another woman, Kathleen DeZeeuw, raised her son after experiencing a date rape as a teen, and wrote that she believed abortion advocates have exploited stories like hers:
I, having lived through rape, and also having raised a child “conceived in rape,” feel personally assaulted and insulted every time I hear that abortion should be legal because of rape and incest. I feel that we’re being used to further the abortion issue, even though we’ve not been asked to tell our side of the story.