As UN delegates in closed rooms debate language regarding access to abortion for women who have been violated, two women at an event blocks away presented a powerful argument for breaking the cycle of violence by rejecting abortion even when the child’s conception is the result of rape.
When people say that women pregnant by rape should get an abortion, “I can tell you that it hurts,” said Rebecca Kiessling. She was conceived in a brutal rape. “But I do understand that people don’t put a face to this issue. For most it is just a concept.”
Kiessling spoke at an event hosted by C-FAM, publisher of the Friday Fax, and REAL Women of Canada, which drew 70 attendees despite a suspicious last-minute location change.
Kiessling’s story directly addressed the theme of this year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) of preventing violence against women and girls. In addition to being conceived in rape, Kiessling suffered abuse at the hands of her adoptive parents and had one of her teeth knocked out by a boyfriend who beat her. A charitable program provided her with reconstructive dental care.
After flashing her bright smile to the audience, she took a more serious tone. “This is another example in my life where there was something that happened that was really, really awful, but then something beautiful came out of it…now, I’m very thankful for this nice new set of teeth, but that does not make me pro-domestic violence, just like being thankful for my life doesn’t make me pro-rape.”
Liz Carl, who became pregnant by rape at seventeen, chose to place her son, now six, with an adoptive family with whom she maintains regular contact.
“I did struggle with it, a lot, but I’m fine,” Carl told the crowd. “Had I chosen different, maybe I would have been fine. But he wouldn’t have. This world would not have been graced with his presence. And I am certain that the moment he was born, the world became a better place.”
Carl anticipated what many people wonder: Would seeing her son reminder her of her rapist? “I have never looked at him and seen anything but the most beautiful baby in this whole world. When I look at him I feel joy.”
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At this year’s CSW, pro-abortion groups are intensifying their efforts to increase access to abortion, with abortions for rape victims a key focus. They are strongly pushing a new strategy to create a right to abortion as reparation for women raped during wartime.
Kiessling learned of her conception when she found her biological mother, who admitted that she would have had an abortion if it had been legal.
“The fact is that I’m alive today because of pro-life activists, legislators, and voters,” said Kiessling, “If your mother chose life for you, how nice for you. But mine didn’t – pro-life advocates chose life for me. And some of us are in need of heroes.”
LifeNews Note: Rebecca Oas writes for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. This article originally appeared in the pro-life group’s Friday Fax and is used with permission.