Rape & Abortion
When raped and impregnated, is it okay to have an abortion? Catholics would say no, it is wrong because it is the killing of an innocent baby and also because it is the killing of a life. They would also say that both the woman and the baby have dignity. Others would say yes it is okay to have an abortion because they do not want to live with the memory for the rest of their life. Also, they would say that it is not a killing of life because the baby is has not been born yet. In addition, they believe that only the woman has dignity but not the baby.
In video one, Lianna Rebolledo gives her testimony about something that affected her tremendously. At the age of 12, Lianna was abducted, then raped, and impregnated, which is “…offensive to human dignity…” (Gaudium et Spes, Tanner, 220). After all of that happened, she felt worthless and lost her dignity, and she also wished she could be pure again. She felt so bad that she wanted to commit suicide. After finding out that she was pregnant, the doctor suggested she get an abortion because she should not be reminded everyday by the baby that she was raped. Lianna then asks “If I have the abortion, will I forget the rape and all the pain and suffering?”, which the doctor says “No”.
Lianna then comes to the conclusion that she will not abort the baby because the baby did nothing to hurt her and also because the baby is innocent. After giving birth to the baby and raising the child, Lianna’s pain and suffering was healed, and she was “saved”. Lianna states, “I think Abortion, in cases of rape, it is like a double rape to yourself”. When she was raped, she had no control over that, but when choosing if the baby should be aborted, she had control. In this case, rape is murder because when someone is raped their dignity is being murdered, and when a baby is aborted, it is physically being murdered as well as its dignity.
In video two, Ashley Sigrest tells her personal story about how her abortion affects her and compares it to women she met, who did not have an abortion. Ashley believes that “rape is not an excuse for abortion to be legal” because she has gone through it herself and knows that it is wrong. She says her abortion “…made it a 100 times worse” because she cannot ever forget that she aborted her child nor can she go one night without having “nightmares about the rape”, which is “…mental torture…” that “…violates the integrity of the human person”(220). She regrets having the abortion and wishes that she could have the child back because she misses the child very much, and she also thinks the child would have tremendously helped her completely heal from the incident. Ashley was being pressured that abortion was the best and only option, which is why she did it. According to Gaudium et Spes, abortion is “…hostile to life itself…”(219).
Later on, she met a few women who had been raped too, but did not have an abortion. Rather than having the abortion, the women either raised their child or gave the child up for adoption. Those women did not abort the baby because it was an innocent child that had done nothing wrong. Ashley, on the other hand, who did abort the baby, has been living her life ashamed and feeling guilty because of the decision she made. When Ashley was raped, some of her dignity was murdered, and on top of that, she aborted her own child and murdered its dignity. Later on in life, Ashley got married and had a family, but she never forgot the aborted child she had once before.
Instructor’s Note: This is an important issue, one that should be debated. Remember that there are people on both sides of this issue, and some may have had traumatic experiences related to this issue. In your discussions, be kind and sensitive to your classmates. As a Theology class, our focus should be a discussion that relates to Christian viewpoints on scripture and revelation (this can include biblical understandings of human dignity, the value of life, and human rights).
- In your personal opinion, would rape be considered murder? Explain. If it is, what is being murdered?
- In the case of rape, will the abortion get rid of the pain and suffering or will it make it worse? Why do you think that?
- What is the difference between the dignity of a living person on Earth and the dignity of a baby in the womb?Citations:
Tanner, Norman, and John Mahoney. Gaudium Et Spes. Bologna: Istituto per Le Scienze Religiose, 1972. Print.