The issue of rape, pregnancy, and abortion has made the headlines in recent days. In preparing for any debate on abortion, pro-lifers are taught that the “rape argument” is the last argument that will be used by pro-abortion advocates when they have begun losing the debate. The other side will use the horrific crime of rape and the rare pregnancy resulting from the atrocity to justify the legality of and, even, government funding for abortion on-demand, in all nine-months of pregnancy. Why is that? Well, because of the strong emotional tug.
However, being “pro-life” means that at the moment of fertilization you believe an unique whole, living human person is created. Thus abortion, no matter what the tragic circumstances, is always wrong because it is the deliberate killing of an innocent pre-born human being. Thus, we believe that all human life should be treated with dignity and respect, no matter what your parentage may be.
Nevertheless, the question still remains: how often does rape result in a pregnancy and can being rape stop a woman from becoming pregnant? It doesn’t happen very often if you ask Dr. Jack Willke, a general practitioner with obstetric training and a former president of the National Right to Life Committee. According to Dr. Willke’s exhaustive research on the subject, he has found that 1 to 2 per 1000 rapes resulted in a pregnancy. In his book, Abortion Q & A, Dr. Willke uses data from the U.S. Justice Department to extrapolate an approximate number of pregnancies as a result of rape. He writes that many physical barriers prevent pregnancy during rape, namely the fact that women of child bearing age are only fertile 3 days out of 30. He also discusses the traumatic effects of forcible rape on a potential pregnancy…
“…we must factor in one of the most important reasons why a rape victim rarely gets pregnant, and that is psychic trauma. Every woman is aware that stress and emotional factors can alter her menstrual cycle. To get pregnant and stay pregnant, a woman’s body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones. Hormone production is controlled by a part of the brain which is easily influenced by emotions. There’s no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy.” – Dr. Willke
It is vital for Medical Students to understand the truth about rape and pregnancy. When you find yourself working in the Emergency Department of the local hospital, you may see a young woman seeking medical attention after a rape and you will need to make some big decisions about the proper care for your patient. Being educated on the issue of rape will help you stay calm and collected in a highly emotionally charged environment.
A final thought: Pope John Paul II wrote,” Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create. Violence and war can never resolve the problems of men.” It is insensitive to say to a woman who has been raped that the horrific violence of rape can be eased or erased by simply aborting the child convinced during the rape. One act of violence cannot erase another.
Abortion Q&A by Dr. Jack Willke