Much Ado About Abortion: Open Minds and Humanlife Part 6

Today, how the anti-choice camp explains away rape and incest victims in their crusade to make abortion evil. Yay.

I am not looking forward to this.

“What About Rape and Incest?” whispers the article on the bottom of page 9. It’s a favorite among many in the anti-choice camp: to make sure that they’re not seen as cruel monsters, they would state that they totally support the right to abort if the woman conceived due to rape and incest.

I honestly have problems with people saying “I’m against abortion except for cases of rape and incest”. Why?

  1. It’s a covert form of slut-shaming. It’s basically saying “well, you were asking for it when you chose to have sex, so neener neener sucks to be you, next time don’t choose to have sex”. They tend to think that consent to sex is the same thing as consent to pregnancy, and ergo, if you got pregnant, it’s your fault. That’s kind of like saying that if you were hit by a car, that you were asking for it and gave consent to being hit by a car just by walking down the street.
  2. To add on to point 1, the “rape/incest exception” makes pregnancy seem to be more like a punishment for having consensual sex.
  3. People who happen to be anti-choice say it’s really about the zygotes/embryos/fetuses that get aborted. But people who trot out the “except in cases of rape/incest” line are implicitly saying that zygotes/embryos/fetuses conceived in the act of rape/incest are lesser. Furthermore, they’re not as important as zygotes/embryos/fetuses conceived during consensual sex. WTF?

You will be happy (sad?) to know that this publication does not go the “rape/incest exception” route. Rather, it goes the “ban abortions for EVERYBODY” route, which, while it’s more consistent, is still rather terrible.

Let’s get started.

As traumatic as rape is, abortion does not un-rape the mother.

Duh? No one has ever stated that it does. Nevertheless, a pregnancy begot by rape is pretty much a reminder that it happened, and some women do not want to have to be reminded of their rape for nine months.

In fact, studies show that most women who become pregnant through rape don’t want an abortion.

So because some women want to keep their pregnancies begotten by rape, we should deny all women the choice to abort those types of pregnancies?

Also, since studies have been brought up, here’s a study shows that 50% of women who get pregnant due to rape choose to abort their pregnancies.

In the only major study of pregnant rape victims ever done […]

Wait, the study that I just linked that states that 50% of women with rape-related pregnancies choose to abort had over 4,000 participants. How big is major?

[…] Dr. Sandra Mahkorn found that 75 to 85 percent chose against abortion.

You know, I actually did a Google search trying to find the source for this figure. You know what I got?

Every single site on the front page that’s hawking this number is an anti-choice site. Then we get FreeRepublic near the bottom saying the same thing.

You know, if FreeRepublic is using your numbers without irony, you’re doing something utterly wrong.

The one thing I didn’t find? The actual study in question.

But lucky for us, someone on MIT actually went ahead and checked the study for us! And guess what?

Santini [another anti-choicer who happened to use the same “study” to preach to rape victims at MIT; Alice] references a “1981” study by Dr. Sandra Mahkorn. This study was published, not in a reputable medical journal, but in an out-of-print book entitled New Perspectives on Human Abortion by Thomas Hilgers, also the author of a book on “Natural Family Planning,” the rhythm method of birth control which is infamous for its ineffectiveness. The book itself was copyrighted in 1981, making it hard to believe the actual study was conducted in 1981, as Santini claims. Even if the study were to be conducted in 1981, one might ask whether abortion was safe and legal at the time that 75-85 percent of the study’s subjects opted against it.

Emphasis mine.

If it wasn’t published in a medical journal, what are the chances that the study actually used proper methodology? What are the chances that the women who participated self selected, the chances that the researchers were biased, etc?

There’s a reason why you don’t cite studies not published in peer-reviewed, reputable journals.

Studies also show that incest victims rarely ever voluntarily agree to abortion.

Which studies?

I tried to do a search, but all that’s coming up is anti-choice websites hawking the same thing, over and over and over. What’s missing from this search? Any actual studies done to try and answer this question.

Researchers David C. Reardon, Julie Makimaa, and Amy Sobie completed a nine-year study on pregnancy outcomes of sexual assault victims. As part of their research the authors found that after any abortion, it is common for women to experience guilt, depression, feelings of being “dirty”, resentment of men, and lowered self-esteem.

Okay, I did a search to find these researchers. Accordingly, these people were doing research for a group called the Elliot Institute.

Guess how the Elliot Institute describes itself.

One of our most frequently asked questions: Who is Elliot? Is he a wealthy philanthropist who has funded our work because he shares our belief that proving how abortion hurts so many women is the key to ending the scourge of abortion?

Emphasis mine.

Yeahhhhhhh, if your group already has a predetermined agenda, any studies done by your group is automatically disqualified from any honest discussion. Period.

Also, the group is linked to anti-choice site, which pretty much doesn’t help them at all. Especially if they’re trying to look neutral.

Oh, and regarding the “what do you feel after abortion” thing?

Most women do not later regret their decision to terminate their pregnancy. Relief is the most common emotional response following abortion, and psychological distress appears to be felt the greatest before, rather than after, an abortion.


Reardon, Makimaa, and Sobie identified testimonies from 192 women who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest and 55 children concieved in sexual assault and compiled them in their provocative book, Victims and Victors.

I’m giving the MIT writer the floor for that one.

Finally, Santini extensively quotes a book entitled Victims and Victors. She informs us that one of the authors of this book is the daughter of a rapist, which seemingly makes the author an unbiased expert on the subject in Santini’s eyes. As Santini says, “there is no one more qualified to speak about conception through rape than … a child born from rape.” Oh, really?

Emphasis mine.

Yeah, that’s not in any way biased at all.

I think I’m going to go eat dried cranberries and listen to music to get some of this ickiness off of me. Tomorrow: bad science in medicine! Oh boy!


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