Have your rapist’s baby and you’ll feel better

Change.org reports that an advertising supplement intended for campus newspapers advises women impregnated through rape of incest that they should give birth to the baby and they will feel like they’ve “conquered” their assault. In addition, it tells lots of lies and half-truths about the risks of abortion to one’s body and mind.

I get frustrated trying to explain why propaganda like this is so wrong. Maybe the best way to get it across is: imagine a similar ad exhorting women to abort fetuses conceived in sexual assault. “Don’t let the rapists win!” such a pamphlet might argue. “By aborting his offspring, you will feel you have conquered your assault.” This claim would be wrapped in details of the damages and danger of childbirth to the body and mind.

The problem with both pamphlets goes deeper than their narrow views and distortions: it’s that they objectify the sexual assault victim, and in so doing, prove their only agenda is to control women. She’s no longer a human being who survived something awful and has a difficult decision ahead of her: she’s merely an object that must be coaxed into doing what we want, like an aged car that needs to be started in a particular way on cold mornings. Either version of the pamphlet – whichever one you agree with or come closer to agreeing with – removes Her from the equation.

There’s nothing wrong with counseling someone who’s asked for your thoughts on a difficult decision. But to view her as an opportunity to be grabbed quickly, now, while she’s vulnerable, is pretty much how the rapist looked at her.


  1. SunlessNick says

    Regarding the advertisements… Ugh.

    And I second all you say, with stress on the idea that there’s a “One True Response” that will heal all victims.

  2. amymccabe says

    This has to be one of the heartbreaking and difficult decisions a women can be placed in. There’s a reason why more moderate pro-lifers will often make rape & incest the one exception to their call for laws against abortion. The thing is, there is no right or wrong answer, just what will work best for the health and well-being of the mother. It really upsets me when people do things like what you describe. It villainizes women that realize that not keeping the pregnancy is the best option for them.

  3. says

    I’ve deleted that sentence because somehow it came across as suggesting that abortion isn’t dangerous, when what I meant was you don’t need to resort to half-truths and lies because childbirth is still far from a low-risk activity. I tried to reword it, but nothing came to mind in the 30 seconds I had before needing to meet Yet Another Spectacular Demand From Life, so that’s all you get. Sorry! 😉

    (I’m a little stressed.)

    ETA: even this comment doesn’t make sense. I give up!

  4. Natalie000 says

    I had to comment because that last line…wow. Not only is it powerful, it’s absolutely 100% true. Excellent post, thank you.

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