Tennessee Right to Life held its annual banquet last week. Speakers included Knox County mayor Glenn Jacobs, Representative Jason Zachary, and Dr. David Reardon—director of the Elliot Institute and associate scholar with the Charlotte Lozier Institute.
The theme of the night was that we should never accept or advocate for exceptions to abortion. No exceptions means that regardless of how the baby was created—whether that be from rape or as a result of incest—abortion is never acceptable. There is no preborn baby who has greater worth than another. All babies matter, and we must protect them all.
Mayor Glenn Jacobs gave an inspiring speech, encouraging attendees to hold elected officials accountable for their words and actions, and Representative Jason Zachary advised attendees to be vigilant, to be people of action, and to pray unceasingly for the end to abortion.
Because elected officials and pro-abortion organizations frequently advocate for abortion exceptions when it comes to rape or incest, Dr. David Reardon and his team decided to ask the opinions of the women who aborted a baby created from rape or incest. The team asked if the abortion aligned with their values and wants, and what they found should shock us. Thirty-three percent agreed that the abortion aligned with their values and preferences; 47% said they accepted the abortion, but it was inconsistent with their values and preferences; 24% said the abortion was unwanted and was contrary to their values and preferences; and 10% said the abortion was coerced and contrary to their preferences and values.
This means that 67% of the women who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest did not want or were not happy with their decision to have an abortion. Let that number sink in.
In his latest book, Victims and Victors, Reardon writes that “most women who become pregnant through sexual assault do not want abortions.” His book allows us to hear the stories from the women themselves, and we find that they not only feel immense love for the babies they have but immense loss for the ones they aborted.
Reardon then told the tragic story of Denise, who became pregnant at 15 as a result of rape by her father. Denise learned about her baby after a visit to the emergency room when she was sick with the flu. When they told her she was 19 weeks pregnant and that she should have an abortion, she refused. She said that even at that young age she knew that abortion was murder. Her father went “ballistic,” telling the doctor he wanted it done. The doctor said he could not go against Denise’s wishes. The father then called in another doctor, who not only sedated Denise but who instructed two nurses to hold her down. She screamed and yelled and said she did not want an abortion; he told her to “shut up” and “be still.” And then he killed her baby.
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Denise still lives with that regret and sorrow, wondering if there was something more she could have done to save her baby.
Rape and incest are terrible crimes against women, but abortion only compounds that violence. As Reardon said, there has never been a study conducted that has shown any benefits of abortion—because there are no such benefits. Abortion always kills a baby, and abortion hurts the mom. In fact, women who have had abortions are more likely to suffer both physical and psychological problems.
This is a travesty that pro-aborts don’t want us to understand or to talk about. And indeed, in Victims and Victors Reardon addresses the fact that these women want people to hear their stories. They want to tell the world that their babies are loved and cherished and that they helped turn something bad into something good.
Theirs are the voices we should listen to.
All babies matter. We cannot allow even one baby to die a bloody death at the hands of an abortionist. When we advocate for exceptions or when we vote for officials who advocate for exceptions, we tell the world that babies created from rape or incest have no value. This is a heartbreaking stance to take.
Thus, as election season comes upon us, let us vote for the pro-life candidates. The Dobbs decision sent the abortion decision back to the states to decide, so every elected official and every election matters—especially the local ones. Let us make our voices heard to a world that cannot hear the cry of a preborn baby.
LifeNews Note: Susan Ciancio is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and has worked as a writer and editor for over 20 years; 14 of those years have been in the pro-life sector. Currently, she is the editor of American Life League’s Celebrate Life Magazine — the nation’s premier Catholic pro-life magazine. She is also the executive editor of ALL’s Culture of Life Studies Program — a pre-K-12 Catholic pro-life education organization.