Abortions in cases of rape or incest. It’s the ultimate question used to justify abortion wholesale in debates or to trip or pro-life candidates into somehow making them extreme because they favor protecting unborn children from abortion even in the most tragic of cases.
But what is the real and actual impact of abortion on women who are victimized by rape? Doesn’t the abortion help make the rape “go away?” Wouldn’t having a baby somehow remind the woman of the rape every time she looks at her child?
And what about very young girls who are raped? How can the be expected to have a baby?
Lesley McAskie, of Great Britain understands these questions all too well — as she was raped when she was a 13-year-old and had an abortion.
“My abortion affected my life for 37 years,” she says. “I got over the rape but I never got over my abortion experience”.
Raped at the age of 13, her parents took her from Northern Ireland to England for an abortion. Aside from that one conversation, just before going in for the abortion, she received no other information.
“I was given no counselling beforehand. I was given no counselling after it”.
As a consequence, the abortion experience still casts a long shadow over her life. But her first-hand experience also makes her well placed to offer advice to women considering abortion in any circumstances but especially following a rape.
She says: “Think twice. Don’t go into having an abortion because it’s a quick fix – it’s not. That abortion experience will stay with you for the rest of your life. It will haunt you”.
“If a woman finds herself pregnant as a result of rape, she really needs to have some care. She needs compassion, she needs counselling, she needs a great deal of support. She doesn’t need another act of violence in abortion.”
As well as seeking views on allowing abortion in the event of rape, the Northern Ireland Department of Justice is recommending that abortions are allowed where the unborn child does not have a ‘viable life’.