She was a junior in college when the rape occurred. After learning she was pregnant she realized she would have to tell her parents, who, thankfully, were very supportive. Her mother told her, “We’re gonna have this baby together.”
Other members of the family, however, were not so supportive. They pressured Parkman to have an abortion:
[…] I was pressured to abort by other family members, and they were telling me things like, ‘You don’t know what’s in the genes. It could be a crazy man. If he raped you, you know, it could be something in the genes. You [could] have a baby that’s gonna be crazy and do crazy things.’
But there is no “rape gene.” Being a rapist is not a trait that can be inherited, like eye color, hair color, or height.
Despite the pressure, Parkman held firm to her commitment to keeping her baby. She said her religious beliefs contributed to that decision, and that because she knew that only God can create life, abortion wasn’t even something she considered at any point. As the pregnancy progressed, Parkman began to bond with her daughter:
When I felt that baby move in my stomach, it really became real to me, that this was an actual human being that I was carrying. And I got excited about it. I was really excited to have this child because I felt it. It moved. It was a person. And it’s going to be something that I can love.
After her daughter was born, that bonding continued. Parkman felt nothing but love for her daughter:
I had people asking me a lot – that if you have this baby, you won’t be able to forget how it was conceived, and all of that – but when Clarissa was born, and I looked down at that fat little black baby, with all the big old loopy curls in her hair, no thoughts of that guy came to me. It was just – this was my child. This is my baby. And she had this big old smile, and I just fell in love with her. I fell in love with her before she was born – I fell in love with her when she kicked in my belly. But when she was actually born and I was able to hold that child, it was just precious to me. And I have no regrets. No regrets for having this child.
Parkman’s daughter Clarissa said she was not traumatized when she found out how she was conceived. Instead, she felt grateful to have the mother and the life that she did. Clarissa said:
When she explained to me how I was conceived I wasn’t upset or angry or anything. In fact, I was sort of proud of the fact that I was raised the way I was, and my mom was so strong to raise me by herself considering all this had happened to her. I wasn’t angry at him or anything like that. It’d been so long. I had a good life.
Parkman and Clarissa prove that a woman can conceive through rape and still love her child and that a child conceived in rape can live a happy and healthy life. Their story, and the stories of countless others, prove that pro-choicers are wrong when they say abortion is the only answer to pregnancies conceived in rape.
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