Women traumatized by abortions after rape: 'The nurses held my arms'
Analysis

Women traumatized by abortions after rape: ‘The nurses held my arms’

birth control, rape, contraception, abortion

Many people assume that abortion is the best answer when a woman is raped. However, many women have found that abortion after rape only added to their pain.

Teresa Burke, a therapist who works with post-abortive women, featured Nina’s story in her book. Nina was raped, became pregnant as a result, and chose to abort her baby. The abortion caused complications which left her infertile. She says:

The fact that I got pregnant because of the rape was disgusting. I felt like I had to get rid of it. Somehow, I figured that because I got pregnant I must have enjoyed it. I couldn’t tolerate that concept. I was so ashamed….

The rape was nothing compared to the abortion … The rape was bad but I could’ve gotten over it. The abortion is something I will never get over. No one realizes how much that event damaged my life. I hate my rapist, but I hate the abortionist too. I can’t believe I paid to be raped. This will affect the rest of my life.1

Therapist Theresa Burke wrote of Nina’s pain:

Like many rape victims, Nina blamed herself, believing that somewhere along the way she had invited or consented to the rape. Rather than removing her self–blame, her abortion reaffirmed her sense of shame and guilt….

The abortion demolished all her dreams of having children in the future…. The child she had lost to abortion was the only child she would ever conceive. This realization gave rise to intense grief and heartache. When it was too late, she longed for the aborted baby, even though he or she was the product of rape…. After such a devastating experience, her journey to recovery was long and difficult.2

READ: Women call visits to abortion centers ‘humiliating’ and ‘close to rape’

Sondra Forsyth told her story of her abortion after rape in CosmoGirl, which was not a publication known for being pro-life. She had her abortion one spring:

I spent the rest of the summer keeping busy so I wouldn’t think about it, but by August I was having nightmares – I dreamed that I was five months pregnant but the baby wasn’t kicking. I started seeing a therapist when I got back to school, and she helped me deal with both the abortion and the rape. Although I still have days when I feel guilty, I’m starting to forgive myself.3

Linda from Oregon also wrote about her abortion after rape. Notably, she says she was never encouraged to report the rape:

The environment was emotionally sterile. I felt no compassion from the clinic staff or doctor. I explained my situation and how I got pregnant, but I’m not sure they believed me that I’d been raped. They didn’t suggest that I pursue rape charges. Their only solution was to have an abortion.

For years, I struggled with depression and anxiety, and I sought relief by drinking and smoking pot. … the pain and regret of the abortion haunted me, and I never felt happy for long.

Another woman was raped by her half-brother multiple times, and was then forced by him to get an abortion. She wrote:

I’ll never forget that day, sitting there by myself for hours. I could hear the machines in the room. When it was my turn, they gave me some medicine and had me lay on a table. The pain was horrible. I was crying uncontrollably. I was terrified for my sweet baby. While the nurses held my arms, my child was ripped from my body and my life changed forever.

I left that place a different person. I hated myself and everyone around me. The guilt was overwhelming. Even though it wasn’t my choice, I had just murdered my child. The night of my abortion I attempted suicide, taking as many and every pill I could find. My abortion followed me for years and has led to severe depression and anxiety. I became a drug addict by the time I was 16.

 

Beth from New Mexico was drugged and raped, and had an abortion. She wrote:

Immediately after my abortion, I felt lost, hopeless, guilty, and worthless. Over time I experienced severe depression, anxiety, and things which made me feel that I was going crazy. I would sometimes wake up at night to hear an infant crying that wasn’t there. And at times I felt kicks in my belly, but there was nothing there.

Pro-abortion activists use pregnant rape survivors and their situations frequently as talking points in the abortion debate. But pro-choicers are not listening to these women, and they do not help them. Nearly all of the women mentioned here found healing specifically through pro-life ministries. Abortion workers and pro-abortion activists will gladly help a rape victim get an abortion, but they seem to be nowhere to be found when she is dealing with the aftermath.

  1. Teresa Burke, David C Reardon Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2002) 164
  2. Ibid.
  3. Sondra Forsyth “Moment of Truth” CosmoGirl, February 2006

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