Conceived in rape traitors?
My friend Kelsey Hazzard, founder and president of Secular Pro-Life posted a blog on their website posing the question, "How can abortion supporters conceived in rape justify supporting abortion?" My piece is in response to Kelsey's brilliant article, which poses a very sincere question in regards to a position I see has an anathema.
When I first learned at 18 that I was conceived in rape, I felt very alone in this knowledge for many years. I barely knew anyone else who was adopted with whom I could relate. It was nearly 10 years before I finally met someone else who was conceived out of violence -- Julie Makimaa, who was also a pro-life activist at the time. Glamour Magazine was running a story entitled, "My Father Is A Rapist," featuring eight women who were all conceived in rape. Each of our mothers were interviewed for this article as well, just to verify our stories. At the end of the article the journalist wrote, "It is a stunning fact that each of these mothers expressed that they were able to overcome their hatred for their rapist and find joy in their love for their daughters." I felt vindicated by this "evidence" that we are all indeed lovable.
The next person I met who was conceived in rape was Rob Murphy -- a youth pastor at the time, who was speaking at a Teens for Life event for Right to Life of Michigan. He was the first I'd ever met face to face. When we began speaking together, he introduced me as his sister: "Different rapist -- same Father in Heaven!" And indeed, it's been a wonderful kinship which I've shared not only with him, but with hundreds of others over the past 15 years.
If you do a Google search for "conceived in rape" or "pregnant by rape," my website comes up first. Hence, I regularly hear from others with these stories, many of whom have decided to write out their uplifting pro-life stories for my website, and some of whom have decided to begin speaking for Save The 1 and/or blogging as well. The common thread is that we love life and feel targeted by the rape exception being so prevalent amongst not only politicians, but those who call themselves pro-life, According to a Gallop poll almost four years ago, 60% of pro-lifers make the rape exception. It's been wonderful in the face of those daunting statistics to be able to connect with one another on a common mission. I currently have a database of over 140 people who share this commonality of being conceived out of rape or mothers from rape -- a list which I only began compiling about three months ago. Many of our members expressed that, prior to learning of their own conception, they had been one of those people who made the rape exception, but upon learning of how they were conceived, they instantly realized the ramifications upon their own lives, and became 100% pro-life. Additionally, I've been a member of a confidential e-mail support group for us for nearly a dozen years. Given what I'd consider to be a very unique exposure to a multitude of others with these stories, I would venture to estimate that only a handful out of hundreds have shared with me that they are pro-choice.
And that brings me back to Kelsey Hazzard's question? How could they?!
I instantly felt like this position in the face of our own stories was a betrayal of others who were not as fortunate to have been protected by law, or who were not as blessed to have had a mother who valued life. One such example of a pro-choice rape-conceived person is retired attorney Dahn Batchelor from Canada. I regularly receive Google alerts any time something new appears on the web that has "conceived in rape" or "pregnant by rape," so his story popped up, and I was excited to connect with him. As you'll see, it's a very life-affirming story. He writes, "I wasn’t aborted and I didn’t end up dead on a rubbish heap and my mother didn’t abandon me. Had I been disposed of as a dead infant like thousands of infants who had mothers around the world who had unwanted pregnancies, certain events in history would not have occurred." Then he goes on to talk of the work he's done at the United Nations, and he relates a story of how he once saved someone's life -- kind of like in the film, "It's a Wonderful Life." Reading this wonderful story, I invited him to participate in the filming of our group DVD, "Except in Cases of Rape? 12 Stories of Survival," and to also speak on a panel for a pregnancy resource center. We were firming up details, when he sent me his proposed speech, which made it clear that he's actually pro-choice! I was stunned!!!
How can this be? He valued his own life so much, but was unwilling to see that others would be protected. My own testimony is that I'm still alive because I was legally protected in Michigan at the time. My birthmother wanted to abort me and in fact, tried to kill me at two back-alley abortionists. The law, and the courage of legislators who chose to protect children like me, saved my life. I feel like my life was spared from a burning building, and as I have the opportunity to go back and save others, I'm going to do it! The most selfish thing would be to just sit back and enjoy my life, saying: "Too bad for the rest of you!" Being rape-conceived, I see us as ambassadors for those similarly-situated who are at-risk for being aborted or for being targeted in the law. As an ambassador for a nation, you have the responsibility to act on behalf of that nation's best interests, but you do NOT have the right to advocate for your people's destruction.
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This brings me to my next example: Jesse Jackson, who was conceived when his 30-something year old father -- married with children, committed statutory rape against Jesse's 16 year old mother who lived next door. Jesse Jackson was outspokenly pro-life, until he ran for President. That's when he betrayed his own story -- when his own selfish ambition caused him to stop looking back to save those who are not yet safe.
The few others I've met who have said they were conceived in rape, yet were pro-choice, were either suicidal or extremely depressed because they really did not value life at all and did not know their own worth, or had an abortion themselves, before learning of their own conception. Worldview can make a huge difference as well: Are we all just accidents, by-products of evolution with no real purpose? Can good come out of evil? Is there such a thing as an "evil seed," or is every child created innocent? In the words of the Declaration of Independence, are we all really "created equal?"
Until you know your own worth, it's difficult to see the value of others and to have an interest in protecting them. When we know love, we are better able to show love. My friend Sherrie Eldridge -- famous adoption author and speaker who was also conceived in rape calls us "wounded healers." Our own wounds can be used to bring healing to others. Unfortunately, some people take their wounds and use them to hurt others, becoming "wounded wounders." But it's not intentional. They've just been blinded, as so many others have been as well. I'm thankful for the hundreds of rape-conceived people whom I've met who are willing to share their frequently painful stories -- in order that hearts would be softened and others would be spared.