Rape, Trauma, Autonomy

Sep 4 2012 @ 1:32pm

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Andrew Solomon interviewed women who were raped, impregnated, and kept the child. His view:

There can be no question that, for some women, an abortion would be far more traumatic than having a rape-conceived child. I read the harrowing autobiography of a girl who was put under involuntary anesthesia to have an abortion of the pregnancy that had occurred when her father raped her, so that her parents could keep their reputation intact. It’s a horrifying story because the abortion clearly constitutes yet another assault: it is about a lack of choice. But ready access to a safe abortion facility allows a woman who keeps a child conceived in rape to feel that she is making a conscious decision, while having the baby because she has no choice perpetuates the trauma and is bad for the child.

Rape is, above all other things, non-volitional for the victim, and the first thing to provide a victim is control. Raped women require unfettered choice in this arena: to abort or to carry to term, and, if they do carry to term, to keep the children so conceived or to give them up for adoption. These women, like the parents of disabled children, are choosing the child over the challenging identity attached to that child. The key word in that sentence is "choosing."

(Photo: A 15 year old woman seeking medical treatment waits at the Doctors Without Boarders (MSF) clinic in Monrovia on November 30, 2009 after being raped. By Glenna Gordon/AFP/Getty Images.)