Rebecca Kiessling

Women who cried wolf — the illegitimate rape claim behind Roe v Wade

Rebecca Kiessling
By Rebecca Kiessling

Note: Rebecca Kiessling, who was herself conceived in rape, is the co-founder of Hope After Rape Conception which advocates on behalf of rape survivors and their children.

This past week, Congressman Akin was publicly chastised for his comments on abortion in the case of rape, employing the controversial term “legitimate rape.” There was outcry from the liberal left, and from moderate Republicans – an indignation that a candidate for U.S. Senate would dare imply that a woman’s claim of rape might not be legitimate, making him out to be a misogynist. Though I’ve previously written that the comment was a faux pas and unnecessarily uttered, I’d like to address the underlying implications of such a statement, which was very similar to Ron Paul’s phraseology about an “honest rape” when he too was asked about abortion in the case of rape. Are legislators really to blame for implying that there are false claims of rape? Is there a history of illegitimate rape claims, particularly as it relates to this issue of pregnancy and rape? Do some women fabricate these claims? If so, who is to blame for any tendency in our society to question the veracity of rape victims’ accounts? Skeptical lawmakers, judges, juries, media, and the public, or the women who have cried wolf?

When I was in law school, I was a victim of domestic violence. A boyfriend from law school beat me up, breaking my jaw, knocking my teeth loose, chipping them, and crushing all of the bone in my upper jaw, which eventually resulted in the loss of my front tooth after much effort and surgeries to try to save it. I became a family law attorney because of what was done to me. As a young attorney, I was idealistic and naïve – absolutely indignant that any judge or Friend of the Court referee would dare question the claims of a victim of domestic violence. After all, she finally had the courage to leave the abusive situation after having been threatened, abused and terrorized. How on Earth could a judge or Friend of the Court referee doubt her account and refuse to grant, or dismiss, a Personal Protection Order? I thought that these people must be uncaring women-haters, showing deference only to men. Maybe they were even abusers themselves!

Then I gained experience. I had clients who I discovered were lying about their claims of domestic violence. I had clients who specifically asked me, “Well, what if I say I was abused?” — wanting to know how that could affect custody, or getting her husband removed from the home so she wouldn’t have to live with him during their divorce. Finally, the reality struck me – these judges are skeptical because there are women who cry wolf. That’s when I began seeing the judges in a new light, and my resentment grew toward the women who lied. I saw the reality that my clients who really were abused had a difficult time with the court system because of these other women who were ruining it for the real victims.

After learning my front tooth would have to be pulled, an expert in cosmetic dentistry offered to restore my smile for free, as part of the Give Back A Smile Program for victims of domestic violence, through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. The bridge and eight teeth with porcelain veneers would have likely cost me around $20,000 to have done by this expert in advanced cosmetic dentistry. Hence, the program had to ensure that there wasn’t fraud. I had to have a certification from a domestic violence counselor that I’d spent time with her, that she believed my claim was legitimate, and that I’d been out of the relationship for at least one year. Was this because these people who wanted to help restore my smile were really misogynist wife-beaters themselves who heartlessly mistrusted a victim’s story? No, of course not! This is the result of women who have cried wolf – and I got scrutinized.

In my conversations with many people this past week, I repeatedly got asked the question from those who were honest in their reactions to the latest news frenzy: “Well, aren’t there women who lie about rape? What about the Duke LaCrosse team rape scandal?” Margaret DiCanio, author of the book, The Encyclopedia of Violence: Origins, Attitudes, Consequences (1993), states that “while researchers and prosecutors do not agree on the exact percentage of false allegations, they generally agree on a range of 2% to 8%.” Aren’t the ones who make the false rape claims prejudicing our society and hurting the 92 – 98% of rape victims who actually have legitimate rape claims, and doesn’t some of the blame rest on them? I believe so.

But what about the claims of pregnancy by rape? Do women lie about that? When I first learned that I was conceived in rape, I was 18, and I was devastated. My family and friends did not know how to relate to me. I was not given any kind of foundation in my life for dealing with this difficult truth, and they had no foundation themselves for offering real assistance. So they took the easiest strategy, which was to tell me that it’s probably not true, “because a lot of women lie about becoming pregnant by rape.”

When I finally met my birthmother several months later, she shared the horrible details of the rape, having been abducted at knifepoint by a serial rapist and brutally raped. She basically walked me through the entire evening of the rape, including the aftermath. There was no question her account was true. Once again, I had to try to cope with the reality of it, and I still had some family members who suggested that it may have been fabricated. I got very upset with them. I intuitively knew how unfair it was for them to question the veracity of her account, just because they didn’t want to deal with the painful truth and because of their discomfort with the fact that my rape-conception could not be reconciled with their world-view and pro-choice values. But once they realized my birthmother’s account was true, their abortion stance was instantly changed.

But why would family and friends suggest such a thing – that there are women who lie about becoming pregnant through rape? Are there any well-known documented cases where this happened, as in the Duke LaCrosse team false rape claim case?

The answer to that question lies in the very foundation for the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case which legalized abortion in the U.S. – the false rape claim by Norma McCorvey — Jane Roe in Roe v Wade. This is her testimony on January 21, 1998, before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism, and Property Rights of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

“My name is Norma McCorvey. I’m sorry to admit that I’m the Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade. The affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court didn’t happen the way I said it did, pure and simple. I lied! Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffey needed an extreme case to make their client look pitiable. Rape seemed to be the ticket. What made rape even worse? A gang rape! It all started out as a little lie, but my little lie grew and became more horrible with each telling.”

The largest illegitimate rape claim ever perpetrated in the history of our nation was the foundation for the filing of Roe v Wade, which led to abortion on demand in our country! So the next time you hear anyone complaining about Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” remark, I want you to remember that abortion rights activists are the women who cried wolf. They are the ones who are squarely responsible for the skepticism we see today regarding women who claim to be pregnant by rape, and they’ve set an example for other women to lie about it too. For those on the left who criticize Akin, I can assuredly call you out as hypocrites.

And for those who make the rape exception, some blame rests on you as well. After all, once you make a rape exception, you now have to set a standard in order to determine whether a claim of rape is legitimate so that the government will not be defrauded when a woman wants to receive Medicaid funding to abort her child - as in the Hyde Amendment exceptions. Rape exceptions put the government in this position – whether they require a police report, social service agency report, or a doctor’s certification that he’s satisfied that the woman’s claim of rape is legitimate.

I’m a co-founder and board member of a newly-formed 501(c)(3), Hope After Rape Conception, whose mission is to assist rape survivor mothers and their children. We seek to ensure that they are protected by law from the rapist having any parental rights, with model legislation posted on the site, and we also plan to post model guidelines for States so that rape survivor mothers will not be cut off from receiving state aid. This occurs all too often because federal and state laws require that a mother cooperate with the local child support enforcement division of the prosecutor’s office by naming the father. Some rape victims are unable to do so, and others are apprehensive about naming him because it could open the door for him to know about her child, and to be able to exercise parental rights. So part of our board members’ plans are to craft model guidelines ...  which means that we’ll have the difficult task of recommending standards for states to set to determine whether a claim of rape is legitimate. Ah – there’s that word again!

As if that task is not sticky enough for a board composed of two rape survivor mothers, two members who were conceived in rape, and a grandmother of a child conceived when her minor daughter was raped, our future plans also include offering scholarships to rape survivor mothers and their children, as well as financial assistance to those who have been cut off from state aid. What this means is that we will be in the awkward position of having to ascertain ourselves whether a rape claim is legitimate. Juda Myers – someone who was also conceived in rape, runs a new organization called, “Choices 4 Life” — which has presented “honor awards” to rape survivor mothers and which seeks to raise funds to provide financial aid to these women. She recently shared with me that she has experienced fraud where women – dare I say – had illegitimate rape claims. So this is not foolhardy or myth, but a reality in this world that there are indeed women who lie about having become pregnant by rape.

It does take a lot of courage for survivors of rape and survivors of domestic violence to come forward with their stories and to seek protection and justice, and I’m very protective of my own birthmother in this regard. Last year, I had friends alert me to a chat room where someone was making the accusation that my birthmother’s story was false, and/or that my claim of having been conceived in rape was false. It’s frustrating and insulting that such accusations are made. It affects me, and it hurts other women as well. But when we discuss this issue, let us not forget, and let us remind others, who it is that fabricated the greatest illegitimate claim of rape which has ever been perpetrated in the U.S., and perhaps around the world. These abortion rights activists are the women who cried wolf.

This article first appeared on Rebecca Kiessling’s blog and is reprinted with permission.

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Video: Belgian police put a violent end to a legal pro-life rally in Brussels

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By John-Henry Westen
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BRUSSELS, March 31, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Belgian police used force against pro-lifers holding a legal, peaceful picket Tuesday in the center of Brussels, near the European Parliament buildings.  The pro-life rally, led by activists from Poland, was surrounded by an angry mob of abortion supporters, but when the police intervened they forcibly removed the pro-life signs, and even a Polish flag, saying they were provoking aggression.

The pro-life rally, which displayed graphic abortion signs, was legally registered, and organized by Fundacja Pro, a very active pro-life group from Poland, along with Michał Marusik, a Polish Member of European Parliament, and the Instigos Institute.

Kaja Godek, one of Poland’s leading pro-life activists, described the scene at the Luxembourg Square in Brussels for LifeSiteNews:

When we display graphic abortion pictures on the streets of Poland, the reaction we get is mostly sympathetic. In Brussels, we met with aggression and a hysterical reaction. Some furious people surrounded us screaming that we were sick and that the photographs of abortion victims were a lie.

Jacek Januszewski, one of the youth participants, told LifeSiteNews, “They screamed vulgarities and obscene insults, specifically directed at the ladies in our group. They threw firecrackers, physically pushed us, and tried to steal our banners.”

Describing the actions of the police, Januszewski said, “They formed a circle around our group, but were facing us, as if we were the source of aggression, not the mob around us.” He continued, “Even after one of the policemen got hit on the back with something thrown at us by the mob, they still acted as if it was us who caused the danger. We were just standing there in shock."

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“At one point a man dressed in civilian clothes approached us all red in the face, pushed us and tried to take our banners by force,” said Januszewski. “When we resisted, he produced a police ID. We asked him what he was doing and what law allowed him to disrupt a legal demonstration like that. He screamed back at us: ‘I am the law in Brussels.’”

Godek commented on the undercover officer too. “The man in civilian clothes kept pointing to one specific banner we were holding, showing the face of Adolf Hitler with a caption ‘Hitler legalized abortion on demand for Poles.’ [The undercover policeman] was all red in the face and kept saying he didn't like it and that it was upsetting everybody. We told him we were being attacked and needed protection. He said that we were the danger, we were provoking violence.”

Watch videos (exchanges between police and protesters are audible and in English):

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

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LifeSite Writers 2015
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2 Days Left - Can you donate just $5 or more?

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By Steve Jalsevac
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LifeSite Support staff

This is an urgent reminder that we have just 2 days left to reach our annual Spring campaign goal of $175,000.

Please consider supporting our mission to build a Culture of Life by making the most generous donation you can today.

Have you ever wondered who is behind LifeSite, and what our organization does with the money you donate?

Sometimes we find that readers of LifeSite, new readers in particular, understandably do not realize the size and scope of our mission: including not just how many millions of people read LifeSite (6 million people last month alone, for the record), but also the number of people and resources required to keep this unique international news service going every day.

It is quite an eye-opener when we list everything involved. Given the exponential growth of LifeSite over the past few years, it seems time to present an update. This should help you to understand why we must set our quarterly campaign goals at the very least at the levels that we do each time.

Every single member of the LifeSite team is passionately dedicated to our mission. Many have families with children and all depend on prayer (we have a staff prayer conference call every morning at 9:30 a.m.) to do this challenging work. They are also highly principled persons who see this work as being much more of personal mission than a “job”.

They care deeply about the issues that we write about and their impact on the world. At least several were on the “other side” in the past and experienced profound conversions to pro-life, pro-family beliefs.

In addition to the English language LifeSite, we also publish two other versions of LifeSite. There is the Spanish language Notifam and the Portuguese language Notifam.  These two services have been completely re-designed and their readership has dramatically increased in the past several months.

Almost all of our journalists are paid salaries or an hourly rate (part-timers). Nearly half are full-time, and the rest are part-time with widely varying total hours per month. A small number of the part-timers are able to offer their work to LifeSite as a no-charge gift to the pro-life and pro-family cause.

Almost all of the news reporters work from their homes. Our one office is located in Front Royal, Virginia in the Human Life International building. Much of the LifeSite, Canada administration work (payroll, bookkeeping, mail and donation receiving, etc.) is contracted to Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) in Toronto. We are very grateful for CLC’s assistance.

Since the introduction of our dramatically new website last year, we have also been able to add prominent paid bloggers to the LifeSite team. In addition to our own bloggers, other notable pro-life bloggers such as Jill Stanek and Ryan Bomberger permit us to re-publish and often give much wider exposure to posts from their blog sites.

Back in September 1997, it was just John-Henry Westen and myself, the two founding staff of Lifesite. Things have certainly changed since then.

CURRENT NEWS TEAM

North America

1.  John-Henry Westen – Co-founder, Editor-in-Chief, journalist
2.  Steve Jalsevac – Co-founder, managing director, editor, journalist
3.  John Jalsevac – Website development, petitions, journalist
4.  Patrick Craine – Managing editor, journalist, Canadian bureau chief
5.  Ben Johnson – US bureau chief, journalist
6.  Dustin Siggins – Washington DC bureau reporter and media outreach
7.  Kirsten Andersen – Washington DC and region reporter
8.  Lisa Bourne – Journalist
9.  Pete Baklinski – Journalist
10. Ted Baklinski – Journalist
11. Lianne Laurence – Toronto journalist and LSN Canada donor relations
12. Steve Weatherbe – Journalist
13. Drew Belsky – Journalist

International

14. Hilary White (Italy) – Rome and Europe reporter
15. Jeanne Smits (Paris, France) – European reporter
16. Andrew Smith – Australian reporter
17. Michelle Kaufman – New Zealand reporter
18. Matthew Hoffman – Latin American reporter
19. Guilherme Ferreira Araujo – Brazilian editor
20. Gualberto Garcia Jones – Latin America bureau chief
21. Sophia Vazquez Mellado – Spanish language reporter
22. Mei-Li Beane – Spanish Language reporter
23. Natalia Dueholm – Polish correspondent
24. Matthew McCusker – London correspondent

Bloggers

25. Anthony Esolen
26. Matt Fradd
27. Abby Johnson
28. Jonathon van Maren
29. Melanie Pritchard

SUPPORT TEAM

30. Jon Fidero – Development Director
31. Andy Parrish – Marketing, media, public relations
32. Clare Maagad – LSN U.S. Office Manager
33. Meghan Mulherin – Database management, Donor relations coordinator
34. Linda Wilson – Donor relations
35. Tommy Farrell – Donor relations
36. Theresa Jalsevac – Daily news subscriber services, article publishing
37. Jacob Westen – Article publishing

EXTERNAL SERVICES

LifeSite employs the services of a wide variety of companies and individuals for website design and development, video production, graphic design, donation processing, mass emailing of the Daily News, web hosting, payroll, legal work, marketing of LifeSite and much more.

Some of these external costs are in the six-figure level, given the large volume and variety of material that we publish, the cutting edge complexity of the website and the high level of traffic that LifeSite must now be able to handle.

We also have on-going and major electronic equipment costs since we are a digital service requiring high quality, reliable and the most up-to-date digital resources.

Finally, our team, and especially John-Henry, have been required to do a lot more travelling in recent years to cover major stories on site and to attend and be actively involved in very important meetings in several nations.  

The Marches for life in Washington, DC, Ottawa Canada and Rome, Italy have required a team of LSN staff. As well, we are the original organizers of the Rome Life Forum in Vatican City that is now billed as a Voice of the Family (which LifeSite co-founded) event and is co-sponsored by a number of International groups.

I hope this has helped you to much better understand our financial needs and will encourage any who might have been hesitant to donate to re-consider and send a generous gift for the LifeSite mission.

We are amazed that so much has been accomplished over the years, thanks especially to the generosity of those who believe in what we do and have wanted to express their appreciation for this work and what it has meant to them.

Please join our other supporters today with your gift.

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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Courtesy of Stand True Ministries
Bryan Kemper Follow Bryan

10 years ago today, Terri Schiavo died an agonizing death. I was with her family. Where were you?

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By Bryan Kemper
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March 31, 2015 (StandTrue.com) -- For twenty-four years I have been involved with pro-life work in one way or another. Over those twenty-four years I have talked to thousands of people about their involvement, why they got involved, how they got involved and what motivates them to continue. We have talked about what happened in 1973 and where were all the Christians when Roe vs. Wade was passed. We would wonder why Christians would ignore human rights and own slaves in the time of the Dred Scott decision. We would tell stories about the few brave Christians that hid Jews during the Holocaust and proclaim that if it were we in those times we would have been a voice. If we were around in those days we would have risked all to save an innocent life; that is what we said, at least.

Ten years ago a young woman in Florida who was handicapped began an agonizing and painful journey towards death. Her husband, who had once made a vow to love and honor her through good times and bad, murdered her on national television. Her husband, who had already broken his vows to her by living with another woman and fathering children with her, went to court to have his wife starved and dehydrated to death. Terri Schiavo held onto life and fought for 13 days before finally dying on Thursday, March 31, 2005.

When I arrived in Florida one week before her death I expected to see thousands and thousands of Christians in front of the hospice praying, singing and crying out for Terri. I expected to see all those people who said, “I would have been there to stand up if I were around in the times of Roe vs. Wade or during the Holocaust.” I was sadly disappointed.

I walked up and saw maybe 150 people at most — some of them familiar faces from the pro-life movement, some of them just wanting to be on TV. I started to walk around and ask where people were from and most of them were from out of town; it was hard to find anyone from the Tampa area there to stand up for Terri. For years I wondered where the Christians were when Roe vs. Wade was passed, and now I had the answer.

I spent the first day walking around the crowd praying with people, talking about what could be done and simply being there in solidarity with our sister as she was dying. When I arrived the second day I talked to Terri’s sister whom I had met in Washington, DC, in January, when I volunteered my services to the family. I was asked to help guard the family and escort them around as everyone was swarming them.

I spent a lot of time just sitting with them and listening to stories about Terri and her life growing up. Her dad told a story about when Terri ran over a cat and how upset she was over this poor little cat. The friends shared beautiful stories and memories that I will treasure forever.

During this time we also spent a lot of time in prayer, with many different Christian leaders and friends. Everyone would be talking about a possible option and then someone would just stop and say, “Let’s pray.” There was more spontaneous prayer than I had ever seen. I would walk among the people there in support and see small groups up and down the street praying, singing hymns and just reading the Scriptures out loud. There may not have been a large group there, but they were dedicated and focused on prayer.

I spent a lot of time walking the family through the media circus to and from the hospice trying to give them a little privacy. I would walk Terri’s dad through the crowd every night as he thanked all the supporters for being there for Terri.

I talked to many of the behind-the-scenes media people who were obviously shaken by this tragedy. I saw people from all different walks of life and political and religious backgrounds taking a stand. There were many non-Christian people there in support of Terri, and dozens of handicapped people from a group called Not Dead Yet. I even spent time in prayer with the Rev. Jesse Jackson as he came to help the family and speak out for Terri. I never in a million years would have believed that I would sit in a room praying with Randal Terry, Jesse Jackson and Sean Hannity.

Each night at about 11:00 PM I would leave the hospice area and go get something to eat and try to catch up on some computer work and grab a few hours of sleep. I talked to a lot of people at different restaurants that would ask us what was really happening there. One night Terri’s brother, Bobby, came out to eat with us. When he left, the people there asked us questions and wanted to know the truth about the whole situation; they were shocked when they got the true facts about Terri.

On Wednesday night I went to the hotel and was especially saddened as we were reaching 13 days. My friend Will and I sat in the pool at the hotel at 2:00 AM discussing the past week and what else could have been done. I finally got to sleep at about 3:00 AM. Early the next morning, I was awoken by Will telling me that Terri had died.

We quickly packed our bags and went to the car to drive over to the hospice a few blocks away. As I got into the car it really began to hit me what had just happened and I started to cry. I picked up my cell phone and called my wife and children; I just needed to hear their voices and tell them I loved them.

I got to the hospice and stood guard outside the room the family was in to give them some privacy. The room was tucked in behind all the major media trucks and production areas. I watched as many of the media producers and reporters were fighting back tears. I watched reporters hugging the family and giving condolences; they were truly touched by Terri’s family. Many of the media that I had gotten to know expressed their grief to me, some of them on-air personalities who were affected greatly.

After the family was done making their statements for the day, I made my rounds to offer my condolences and say my goodbyes. I told the family about all the Stand True supporters and family that had asked me to send their best wishes and prayers. I thanked them for their strength and resolve in the fight for Terri’s life. I let them know that we at Stand True will never let Terri’s name die and that we will continue the fight for life and others like Terri.

I will never forget and I will never stop telling her story. 

HTTP://WWW.TERRISFIGHT.ORG

Also read Father Frank Pavone’s memory of his time with Terri.

HTTP://WWW.WASHINGTONTIMES.COM/NEWS/2015/MAR/30/FRANK-PAVONE-TERRI-SCHIAVOS-INCONVENIENT-LIFE/

Reprinted with permission from Stand True.

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