Issues

Rape survivor: ‘Every woman is strong enough’ to choose life instead of abortion

pregnant woman, women, rape

In a documentary called “Except in Cases of Rape,” Liz Carl told her story. Carl was drugged and raped when she was 17, and a senior in high school. She found out that she was pregnant a few weeks later. She was being raised Catholic, and says she knew “what an abortion was,” as well as a lot of information about the pro-life movement. But she considered abortion anyway, saying, “[W]hen it came to my own situation I felt that I didn’t have a choice. I was vulnerable, and it seemed that at that point it was the easy [thing]… Which is why it shouldn’t be a choice.”

She made an appointment at an abortion facility. But on the day of her abortion, the alarm she set didn’t go off, and she overslept and missed the appointment. She never rescheduled it. Instead, she decided to have her baby.

READ: Abortion after rape is not a pathway to healing. It is an obstacle.

Carl didn’t feel ready to raise a baby, and she chose to make an adoption plan for her son instead. She says, “I was young. I was still being parented. My mom was still making my lunches every day for school, and I was in no place to be a parent.” When she met the couple she would select to be her child’s adoptive parents, Brian and Jen, she felt “it was right. At a time in my life when there were so many wrongs, it was nice to finally have a right.”

Years later, she has no regrets about the adoption. She says, “They’re family now. We’re all one giant, confusing, messy family. But it’s awesome. He’s where he needs to be.”

 

Carl says that when people find out she’s a birth mother from rape, she usually gets one of two questions. The first question is if she sees the rapist every time she looks at her son, to which she says, “Honestly, I’ve never looked at him and seen anything but my precious child.”

The second thing that I get a lot is, “Well, you just had it better. You know, you’re stronger than others, or along those lines. And personally, I find it very degrading to me as a woman, that people make excuses for women’s strength. I know a lot of women in my life, and every single one of them is strong.

Every woman is strong enough to love their child enough not to kill them. And I know that’s harsh, but it’s the truth. And if I’m strong enough, then anybody else can be too.

Carl has no regrets.

When a woman initially finds out she’s pregnant through rape, abortion may seem tempting, and it is presented as the solution to an already distressing situation. But abortion does not erase the memory of rape or bring lasting peace. In a study by Sandra Mahkorn, rape survivors who had their babies coped better emotionally than those who had abortions, as rated by their therapists. Another, more recent, study found that among women who conceived in rape, the majority of those who chose abortions regretted them. But none of the women who chose to have their children regretted giving birth.

There are many other testimonies from women who love their children, even though they were conceived through rape. And there are women who deeply regret their abortions after rape.

A child’s worth is not dependent on the circumstances of conception, and no child deserves to die for the crimes of his or her father.

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