What if you learned after 37 years that your birth father was a rapist and that he brutally beat and raped your birth mother, abandoning her along the side of the road to die? To make matters worse, you discover that your life was almost taken by abortion because someone wanted you dead and paid a stranger to make it happen.
After uncovering the tragedy surrounding your conception and life, how would you look at your life or yourself? Would you continue on with your life like nothing ever happened? Would you guard your secret, never telling a soul, with the hope that no one discovers that you’re a mistake– a child who wasn’t supposed to live and was better off dead. I am one such child. For me, this is the reality and truth of my life.
After learning the truth of my conception and near abortion, I began to look at my life as a lie. Instead of being the loved and cherished daughter of my adoptive parents, I was an unwanted child. I questioned my life, my very existence, in a world that once held so much meaning. Was I alive by a mere stroke of luck, or by the grace of God? Was I merely an unloved and unwanted baby thrust into the arms of parents looking for the “perfect” child?
There are seminal moments in everyone’s life when who and what they thought they were is challenged in a deeply profound and earth-shattering way. This discovery was my seminal moment, and I started to look at my life from a distance, as if through a telescope, with only a pinprick of light visible at the very end. How was I supposed to pick myself up and continue to live a life now deemed as a mistake from the start?
Growing up as an adopted child, my life wasn’t that different from the lives of my friends and classmates. My parents were big believers in consequences for negative behavior, but I never was required to prove my worth to them. Often, my grades, or sometimes even my mouth, would get me into trouble, and I would find myself grounded.
Once I corrected the offense, I got my freedom back. I learned quickly that actions had consequences, and these experiences led to a greater understanding of the importance of redemption, forgiveness, and trust. Never in this entire process did I ever feel unworthy of the love and respect given to me by my parents. I knew that my life had value simply because I existed.
This idea of every life having value is rejected by the pro-abortion movement, but you may be surprised to learn that it’s a common attitude of some pro-lifers as well. As a child conceived in rape, I am constantly reminded by some in the pro-life movement that I am expendable, an exception. As a result, I am compelled to prove my worth professionally and personally every day of my life as if I’m a less valuable member of society due to the nature of my conception. My question is simple: Why?
Why should I base my value on what others believe about the circumstances surrounding my creation? The answer equally is simple: I shouldn’t! But some in the pro-life movement have turned children conceived through rape into second class citizens for more than 41 years. This is an everyday struggle for me and others conceived in rape. It comes with its own set of challenges, which include the dehumanization of our very existence.
People often tell me that I am taking the rape exception too personally or that I am overly sensitive. But I ask you, if an individual advocates for an exception for rape, how is that not an indictment of my value as a human being and how is that voice of support for a rape exception not directed at me and all the others who share similar circumstances? The children of rape must cope with the knowledge of the horrifying violence that led to their conceptions. They should never have to justify their existence and right to life to anyone.
The circumstances of a child’s conception are irrelevant when it comes to the right to life. If we start deciding which babies are worthy of life and which should be sacrificed, we are no better than those we oppose. To be truly pro-life, we must protect and cherish the life of all the unborn, who are made in God’s image–fearfully and wonderfully made–and deserving of life.