Is it okay for a girl to have an abortion if she was raped?

A few years ago in the former Yugoslavia, a group of soldiers broke into a convent and raped a nun named Sister Lucy Vertrusc. As a result of the rape, she became pregnant. Sister Lucy was faced with a decision: do I keep this child, whose face will be an icon of the man who raped me? She chose life and said, “I will be a mother. The child will be mine and no one else’s. . . . Someone has to begin to break the chain of hatred that has always destroyed our countries. And so, I will teach my child only one thing: love. This child, born of violence, will be a witness along with me that the only greatness that gives honor to a human being is forgiveness.”[1] She knew that the baby did not deserve the death penalty for the crime his father committed.

Yet another women who gave birth after being a victim of rape said, “I, having lived through rape, and also 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. I feel that we’re being used by pro-abortionists to further the abortion issue though we’ve not been asked to tell our side of the story.”[2]

Women who abort children who were conceived by rape often say that it took longer to recover from the abortion than from the rape. In general, post-abortive women often experience depression, and they are six times as likely to commit suicide than women who gave birth.[3] When a woman has been raped, has she not suffered enough emotional pain? Will she be comforted when the suffering of the rape is compounded with the guilt of knowing that she took her child’s life? Has she not been violated enough? Now is the time when she needs to be immersed in love and supported, so that some good can come from the tragedy of the rape.

Aside from the emotional consequences, when a woman gets an abortion, she faces numerous health risks, such as perforation of the uterus, septic shock, sterility, and sometimes even death. This is no way to treat a woman who has suffered enough because of rape.

If you or someone you know is pregnant and unmarried, call 1-800-866-4666 to find a local crisis pregnancy center that can help. The people who work for these organizations will offer hope, healing, encouragement, and practical support—not to mention plenty of love. It will also be helpful to watch the video stories at If you know anyone who may need healing from an abortion, visit the websites of Rachel’s Vineyard and Rachel’s Hope.

[1]. Sister Lucy Vertrusc, letter to religious superior, as reported by “Going the Distance,” Envoy, January–February 2000, 7.
[2]. Reardon, et. al., Victims and Victors (Springfield, IL: Acorn books, 2000), 15-17.
[3]. D.M. Fergusson, et al., “Abortion in Young Women and Subsequent Mental Health,” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 47:1 (January 2006), 16–24; Mika Gissler, et al., “Suicides After Pregnancy in Finland, 1987–94: Register Linkage Study,” British Medical Journal 313 (December 1996), 1431–1434.

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