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Her Motherís Glory
Touchstone ^ | JAN 04 | Robert Hart

Posted on 01/06/2004 3:32:34 PM PST by Federalist 78

Ipromised myself that I would not be the stereotypical father of the bride, like Spencer Tracy, who hates to give away his little girl. But as I walked her down the aisle, and approached the moment she would become a full-grown, married lady, I felt everything I had determined not to feel. Very far from my mind was the story of her strange origins. It is always far from my mind, unless something reminds me of it, like the recent news from Poland.

The infamous abortion ship from Holland was daring to stop off a port in Poland in order to make its "services" available to Polish women who do not have "reproductive rights"—as the anti-life crowd call them—in their own country. Polish law restricts abortions to cases in which the mother’s life is threatened, to cases of incest, and to cases of rape. Compared to the ease with which most women in the Western world can obtain legal abortion for any reason, in fact for no reason at all, and at just about any time during pregnancy, Poland is better. But pro-life? No, sadly, no.

His Daughter Alone

Of my four children, my daughter alone is the one I adopted. I never exactly forget the fact; it simply passes out of conscious thought since it does not matter, for she is, in every way that counts, my daughter, my first child. Over the years, I have always felt what a father ought to feel.

When she was eleven, she suffered a staph infection, and Diane and I feared we would lose her. This was the second time in her short life that she was in danger of dying. The first time she was in danger she did not face an impersonal disease, but determined persons: when her mother had to fight against intruding social workers, and the whole system, for the right to make the choice that her baby would be born. After all, when a woman has been made pregnant through rape, it is not only her right, but her duty, to do the "honorable thing." At least, so it seemed from all the pressure put on her in those months. She was upsetting the expectations and demands that "liberated" women have no right to upset. She was refusing the "sacrament" of abortion.

What a terrible thing she did. For a woman to bear a child when abortion seemed so justified, so necessary, when the pregnancy was the result of rape—well, it was certainly anti-social behavior. She was coerced into seeing a psychiatrist who could help her overcome the obvious defect known to Christians as principle. He might even have cured her of maternal instinct and the malady called love.

But all those years ago I knew nothing of what had happened, only that she was suddenly gone, nowhere to be found. Why had this girl vanished from our hometown in Maryland without a trace? When I discovered her whereabouts, 3,000 miles away in California, I hastened to call her. I had expected, had hoped, to have seen her in those months. "I have a baby girl," she told me.

"Are you married?"
"I see. Well, as a Christian I hope you have repented of . . ."
"Well, it was from rape, actually."

I found that she would not put up her child for adoption. She was willing to live as a single mother because she could not be sure that a couple would raise her child to believe in Jesus Christ. She decided to keep the baby; and God rewarded her by giving her a wonderful, not to mention dashingly handsome, husband.

Convoluted Reasoning

I never think of my daughter’s origins and the strange circumstances of her early life unless something brings them to mind; for example, the disappointing remarks of a "conservative" radio talk-show host. This fellow talks a lot about his Catholic faith and Irish heritage, so it was with some astonishment that I heard him defending his view that abortion in cases of rape may be justified. "After all," he pointed out, "it’s not the same as when it’s someone’s fault that she is pregnant. I just think it’s different." He certainly did not get this idea from the Catholic Church.

I remembered back over twenty years ago hearing the same convoluted reasoning from Christians, some Catholic, some Evangelical. I recall a very Evangelical and Charismatic lady asking me, "But if it was rape, why didn’t she get an abortion?" I thought about the king of Judah, the one who would not execute the sons of his father’s assassins be-cause of the Law of God, which says "the children shall not be put to
death for the sins of the fathers, nor the fathers for the sins of the children" (2 Chronicles 25:4; Deuteronomy 24:16).

Where did the "conservative" radio talk-show host get the idea that pregnancy is a penalty? If it is a penalty, it might be unjust for the innocent to bear it. But what if it is not a penalty? What if it is the healing that God might give to a woman who has suffered a violent attack? What if the Author of Life takes the opportunity to do good from someone’s evil? The injustice done to Joseph resulted in the saving of his life, and that of millions of people, foreshadowing the good done for the whole world by the unjust crucifixion of a young rabbi from Nazareth. It is ever the way of God to make good come from the evil that men do.

Just who is it that these well-meaning people, such as the very Charismatic lady and the talk-show host, would sentence to death?

I remember the very wide eyes of a ten-month-old baby girl looking up at me, having just arrived by plane from California with her mother. I remember her first steps across my parents’ living-room floor. After her mother and I were married, I remember the first Christmas in our apartment, and her excitement at the wonder of a lit and decorated tree. She had names for us from Winnie the Pooh. I was Pooh, she was Piglet, and as she looked at her mom, now pregnant with the first of our three sons, she said, "And mom’s the kangaroo."

Her very first day of school I remember watching her bravely walking into the classroom, as a lady laughed at the sight of my perplexity—a feeling of mingled loss and pride that was small compared to what I felt when I gave her in marriage to a fine young man. I remember her saying to him, "I do," and pledging her life not only to him but also to any children they are blessed with, and to God who blesses them.

She is a young lady who spreads joy wherever she goes. She has a place in the lives of many, not only her new husband, her parents, and her brothers, but many who know her well, and many who have met her in passing—a unique place that no one else could fill. She is happy by nature at 23, married, an avid reader, a good friend, a serious Christian. This is the person that these well-meaning people were willing to sentence to death. Oh, not now, not when they can see her; but when she was in danger the first time, in the womb and hidden from view.

Enough for Her

My wife is not living the life of a tragic victim. She is the happy mother of four children, and would not wish to part with any of them. My daughter learned of her origin after she was over twenty years of age and it became obvious that the truth could not be hidden without confusion. Someone had taken pictures of her as a three-year-old, at the wedding of her parents. I had been warned, "Never tell her, it would devastate her to know."

Not so. Rather, the mystery was unsettling, and the truth was welcome. You see, it did not matter. She had always known that God is the Author of Life—all life. Every human being is made in his image, and that means everything when a child is raised to understand that the image of God became more than an abstract idea in Hebrew Scripture when the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. And it was enough for her that she has a mother and a father who love her.

For both Diane and me, the details of our daugh-ter’s early life and strange origins are very much out of mind, far from conscious thought. That is, unless something brings them to mind, such as realizing that it is time to tell our story for the benefit of others who are caught in what seem like desperate circumstances, and who need the courage to make the decision to let the Author of Life do his healing and creative work, bringing light out of darkness and good out of evil: who need to make the decision of love.

Robert Hart is an Anglican priest and the Vicar of St. Andrew’s Chapel, a Continuing Anglican parish in Easton, Maryland, where he lives with his wife and three of their four children.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: abortion; cultureoflife; fatherhood; moralissues; motherhood; orthodoxchristian; prolife
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Everything Personal by Russell Saltzman
I belong to an on-line support group (me, in a sup-port group, there’s a picture) composed of adult children born of rape or incest. There are more of us in the former category than the latter. Jennifer is our webmistress, organizer, facilitator, coach, head nanny, chief nag (though very nice about it), and the child of a violent rape. Mostly, I lurk. But for some in the group, I am a kind of unofficial chaplain and sometime pastoral advisor. There are children born before Roe v. Wade as well as children born after Roe v. Wade. The handles adopted by some in the group are evocative: "former fetus," "unawares angel," names like that.

Concerned Women for America - Family Voice

What is the answer to the pain of pregnancies conceived in brutality or abuse? We would love to move back the clock before Roe v. Wade turned law and justice on its head. As the last 28 years have shown, that will be a slow process. But we can begin by listening to the women.
"I, having lived through rape and also having raised a child ‘conceived in rape,’ feel personally assaulted and insulted every time I hear that abortion should be legal because of rape and incest," says Kathleen DeZeeuw in Victims and Victors. "I feel we’re being used to further the abortion issue, even though we’ve not been asked to tell our side of the story."
We can begin by educating the public and legislators on what the women themselves—the victims of rape and incest—say about abortion.
"Get Victims and Victors to legislators. Ask them to call for congressional hearings," says Dr. Reardon. "Urge them not to provide money for abortions resulting from rape or incest until they hear what the women say."
It’s time for this house of cards to come tumbling down.

Rape and Incest are Tragic, But Abortion Doesn't Heal the Pain

In their new book, Victims and Victors (Acorn Books, 2000), editors David Reardon, Amy Sobie and Julie Makimaa draw on testimonies of 192 women who experienced pregnancy as the result of rape or incest, and 55 children who were conceived through sexual assault. It turns out that when victims of violence speak for themselves, their opinion of abortion is nearly unanimous-and the opposite of what the average person expects.
Nearly all the women interviewed in this anecdotal survey said they regretted aborting the babies conceived via rape or incest. Of those giving an opinion, more than 90 percent said they would discourage other victims of sexual violence from having an abortion.
On the other hand, among the women profiled in the book who conceived due to rape or incest and carried to term, not one expressed regret about her choice. Of those giving an opinion, 94 percent of rape victims and 100 percent of incest victims said abortion was not a good option for other women in their situation.

Victims and Victors:Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, ...

Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions, and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault, edited by David C. Reardon, Julie Makimaa and Amy Sobie

Why Can't We Love Them Both

Are assault rape pregnancies common?

No, they are very rare.

Are there accurate numbers?

The Justice Dept., from 1973 to 1987, surveyed 49,000 households annually, asking questions on violence and criminal acts. The results of those reported were:

1973 — completed rapes — 95,934

1987 — completed rapes — 82,505

The study stated that only 53% were reported to police. Accordingly, the total numbers were: 1973 — 181,016 : 1987 — 155,667 The Washington Times, Jan. 14, 1991, A-5

A more recent Justice Dept. report, using a study designed differently with more direct questions, returned a result of 170,000 completed rapes plus 140,000 attempted rapes. Nat. Crime Victim Report, US Justice Dept. Aug. 95, R. Bachman

And how many pregnancies result?

About 1 or 2 for each 1000. Using the 170,000 figure, this translates into an overall total of 170 to 340 assault rape pregnancies a year in the entire United States.

1 posted on 01/06/2004 3:32:35 PM PST by Federalist 78
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To: All
Got a minute?
I'd really like you to scratch my ears,
or help out FR.

2 posted on 01/06/2004 3:33:48 PM PST by Support Free Republic (I'd rather be sleeping. Let's get this over with so I can go back to sleep!)
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To: MHGinTN; nickcarraway;
3 posted on 01/06/2004 3:34:36 PM PST by Federalist 78
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To: Federalist 78
For both Diane and me, the details of our daugh-ter’s early life and strange origins are very much out of mind, far from conscious thought. That is, unless something brings them to mind, such as realizing that it is time to tell our story for the benefit of others who are caught in what seem like desperate circumstances, and who need the courage to make the decision to let the Author of Life do his healing and creative work, bringing light out of darkness and good out of evil: who need to make the decision of love.


4 posted on 01/06/2004 3:45:59 PM PST by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: Federalist 78
I had no idea.

You have just changed my life.

Thank you very, very much.
5 posted on 01/06/2004 3:48:20 PM PST by OSHA (Those who don't use their taglines should consider all the poor in China that don't HAVE taglines!)
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To: Federalist 78
If I got raped, I would take the emergency contraception pill so it would not happen in the first place.
6 posted on 01/06/2004 4:05:42 PM PST by cyborg
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To: Vic3O3
7 posted on 01/06/2004 4:22:23 PM PST by cavtrooper21 (Coffee, the elixir of life..or something resembling life.)
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To: Federalist 78
8 posted on 01/06/2004 4:27:57 PM PST by Tax-chick (I reserve the right to disclaim all January 2004 posts after the BABY is born!)
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To: cyborg
When does life begin? At conception? If so, the pill you refer to would end the life of your child before it had a chance to start. Peace.
9 posted on 01/06/2004 4:31:25 PM PST by Die Zaubertuba
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To: Die Zaubertuba
Emergency contraception is not the abortion pill. You only have a window of about three days to take EC. It prevents contraception.
10 posted on 01/06/2004 4:34:30 PM PST by cyborg
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To: cyborg
Yes, I understand that this is different than RU486. I still question the morality of such a drug.

(Sorry I was logged on under another family member's name for that first post.

Peace, sojourner

11 posted on 01/06/2004 4:37:19 PM PST by sojourner
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To: sojourner
Some may question the morality based on their religion but if it prevents contraception then it isn't abortion in the first place. I understand the feeling of RU486 which is used as abortion pill. Rape pregnancy is so rare anyway, but if it happened to me, I would be very hard pressed to have an abortion. People can theorize what they will do, but you never know till it actually happens so I hope I never have to find out.
12 posted on 01/06/2004 4:40:46 PM PST by cyborg
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To: cyborg
Yes, I hope neither or us ever have occasion to make this decision. However, I just want to assert again that this "morning after" pill works exactly like "The Pill." One way that both can work is by not allowing a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus. Again, by taking this pill (either pill, really) you could be preventing an existing life from developing.
13 posted on 01/06/2004 4:46:19 PM PST by sojourner
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To: sojourner
Well I would take the pill right away. I don't really have a concern for whether a rapist's sperm makes it to my innocent eggs really. It is better than waiting three four months to find out I'm pregnant by a rapist who has god knows what kind of disease. It's every woman's personal decision I suppose.
14 posted on 01/06/2004 4:52:19 PM PST by cyborg
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To: cyborg
It is every woman's personal decision, but that decision has moral implications based on universal moral laws.

I would respectfully point out that it doesn't matter when you take the pill, the potential for your egg to be fertilized would already be present.

One of my favorite quotes in the above article is where the author suggests that pregnancy from a rape might turn out to be something good, even if it doesn't seem like it at first to the involuntary mother.

15 posted on 01/06/2004 5:04:34 PM PST by sojourner
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To: sojourner
I do not like abortion, but people will have to realize that abortion will never go away. Not for this issue of rape which is maybe 1% of all abortions, but that's how the world is. :shrugging: potential to be fertilized IS NOT being already fertilized but we can disagree on that issue.

I do not think every woman who gets pregnant gets rosy and warm and fuzzy about getting so by rape(as much as the christian right may want that to be). Some women do not like abortion and will give the baby up for adoption and to them they were never pregnant. I think this is a complicated issue and it doesn't boil down into little formulas as some would like it to.
16 posted on 01/06/2004 5:13:02 PM PST by cyborg
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To: cyborg
I agree that abortion will not go away, and personally I don't think it should. Abortion should be legal, but only with the tightest restrictions (i.e., only when the mother's life is in danger).

I don't know how I would feel about being pregnant due to rape, though certainly it would be an emotional far cry from being pregnant from my husband. However, I believe that I would also feel compassion for the life in my womb (whether or not I am immediately aware of it) and would want to give that life a chance. Think of it as the ultimate response to the violence of rape.

This issue may be complicated, but I think the natural world gives us moral laws to guide our thought processes and decisions.

17 posted on 01/06/2004 5:24:01 PM PST by sojourner
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To: sojourner
FReepmailing you with a response
18 posted on 01/06/2004 5:25:17 PM PST by cyborg
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To: cyborg
I will try to follow this discussion, if there is more to say, but may also have to attend to some domestic duties. I'll check back later, if not right away. Peace.
19 posted on 01/06/2004 5:25:55 PM PST by sojourner
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To: Federalist 78; BibChr; MHGinTN; Caleb1411
20 posted on 01/17/2004 7:45:16 AM PST by rhema
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