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The "hard cases" -- assault-related pregnancy

New facts, new answers, new hope

On this page ... Studies and personal stories from women who've been there indicate that many are denied authentic choice, and that women want support and a helping hand, not abortion, which only furthers the trauma of an assault and can involve significant, even deadly aftereffects, too. Surprising new evidence regarding pregnancies, abortions and children resulting from sexual assault. Find special reports, excerpts and information about an important book about this issue, plus downloadable resources and a more hopeful response.



Hard Cases Booklet  Hard Cases Fact Sheet Special Report Victims & Victors Book

Petition to Congress for Hearings



New evidence and answers from women who've been there


“I, having lived through rape, and having raised a child conceived in rape, feel personally assaulted and insulted every time I hear that abortion should be legal because of rape and incest. We’ve not been asked to tell our side of the story.”

Kathleen DeZeeuw, rape survivor and mother

"What rape takes away from a woman, abortion cannot restore. In fact, giving birth proves she is better than the rapist."

Robert Bennett, whose mother was assaulted


“Rape is horrible. ... but what I want to say to women out there is: you can take something that was terribly done to you, and make something good out of it. And that’s, [voice breaks] that’s me.” -- Ken, who was conceived in rape


Women affected by sexual assault have some important perspectives on the abortion issue.


Studies show that most don't want abortion. Those who had abortions in such situations reported that it only increased their trauma. Those who didn't abort said they had no regrets about giving birth to their child.


In many cases, women are pressured into abortion by those whose support they seek. Often, they're told it is the "only" option. Before you discuss this heartbreaking and sensitive issue, ask women who've been there. Their experiences change common presumptions about assault-related pregnancies.



Denise's story



"I was never given a choice."


When she was 15, Denise was raped by her father, who then forced her to have an abortion. Like other women who have had abortions as a result of sexual assault, Denise found that abortion only intensified her pain.


"[The doctor] asked three nurses to hold me down while he strapped me to the bed ... I continued to scream that I didn't want an abortion. He told me, 'Shut up and quit that yelling!'"


Years later, Denise writes:

Click the image to download
a  booklet on this issue


"I was told that an abortion would solve my problem, when it was never really the problem in the first place. ...


"I was told, 'Your parents know what's best,' when they obviously were only concerned about their own reputations. ...


"I was told, 'You made the right decisions," when I was never given a choice. ...


"I was violated and betrayed by my father. I was violated again by the abortionist. ...


"Why do even pro-lifers talk about exceptions for rape and incest? give this mother the opportunity to choose life for her child. ... Don't let them be exploited again. ...


"The mom needs love, support and understanding, not the pain ... of being violated again in order to kill her child."


Excerpted from Victims and Victors: Speaking About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault.


Stories and Articles


Robert's Story -- A powerful testimony from a man who learned he was conceived after incest.


Abortion and Sexual Abuse: One Woman's Story


Helping Predators, Harming Teens

Off-Site Articles


Ken's Story -- Ken, whose mother was a victim of sexual assault, reminds people to see that children conceived in rape are just as human, just as “real," as everyone else. “It’s an emotional topic because I just get tired of people treating these unborn children like they’re, like they’re nothing. And they can be born, and they can grow up, and they can have a great life.

As a teen, Ken promised himself and God that he would return the favor of adoption, a promise that he and his wife fulfilled four years ago when they adopted a special needs premature baby girl from foster care. “I have an adopted child now because I was so grateful for having the opportunity to have my parents who took care of me….She’s our, she’s my daughter, and [voice breaks] I love her.”

Although Ken was conceived in rape, that was not the final word in his life. Abortion would have multiplied the violence, destroying the life of an innocent human being. But thanks be to God, the power of love prevailed over violence. Through the generosity and courage of his birth mother, both he and his mother were free to love and be loved in many unanticipated ways."

Women Who Became Pregnant through Sexual Assault Say, "Ask us." -- (off-site, Elliot Institute page)


Abortions to Cover Up Sexual Abuse (LifeNews.com, off-site article)


Elliot News: Special Edition on Sexual Assault-Related Pregnancies and Abortion



What the research says



Assault victims coerced into and further traumatized by abortion


 One survey of women who became pregnant as a result of sexual assault found that:


70% had their babies. Of those who continued the pregnancy, none regretted having given or said they wished they had aborted instead.


Of those who aborted, 78 percent said they felt that abortion was not a good solution for them and that it only intensified their trauma.


Many only aborted because they felt pressured by others to do so. In many cases where the victims were young, it was usually someone else, not the victim, who chose the abortion. In a number of cases, abortion was used by the perpetrator to cover up the crime and even to allow the abuse to continue.1 


"They say abortion is the easy way out, the best thing for everyone, but they are wrong. It has been over 15 years, and I still suffer." Rebecca, pregnant through rape at age 15


"A Baltimore man used up to 10 abortions to hide the sexual abuse of his three daughters. At least five abortions took place at the same clinic. The girls were returned to their rapist’s custody." —from the special report Forced Abortion in America


Assault cases have higher risk of complications.


The more difficult the circumstances prompting abortion, the more likely a woman will suffer severe post-abortion complications.2


Sexual assault is a known risk factor for post-abortion trauma.2 Other abortion risks:


31 percent suffer health complications.

65 percent suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorders

Women who undergo abortions have higher overall death rates compared to women who give birth.

Women with a history of abortion are 6 times more likely to commit suicide than women who give birth.3


Women impacted by assault-related pregnancy petition for Congressional hearings.


Studies indicate abortion makes an already traumatic situation even worse. An Ad Hoc Committee of Women Pregnant by Sexual Assault has put together a petition to Congress and State Legislators to request hearings on this issue that will given them a chance to share their stories. 



Download and share this information


Hard Cases Booklet (includes copy of petition)
Hard Cases Fact Sheet
Special Report on Abortion and Sexual Assault
Victims & Victors Book



Get the book. Read the rest of the story


Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions, and Children Resulting From Sexual Assault


Is abortion helpful for, or even wanted by, women who become pregnant from sexual assault? Learn the answer from nearly 200 women who've been there. Includes research and personal stories from women who had abortions, women who gave birth and those conceived in sexual assault.


Price: $11.95 plus shipping. Order here, or call 1-888-412-2676.






1. Reardon, Makimaa & Sobie, eds. Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Result From Sexual Assault (Springfield, Acorn Books, 2000) 19-20.

2. DC Reardon, "Abortion Decisions and the Duty to Screen," Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy 20(1): 109, Winter 2003.

3. For citations, see Research Booklet.



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