Adding Death to Injury

Julie Makimaa is a completely ordinary young woman, with a loving husband and family. But the Clinton administration has recently suggested that people like Julie should never have been born. You see, Julie was the result of what we might call a "problem pregnancy." According to a new federal directive, all women who experience this problem ought to get an abortion. And for poor women, taxpayers should even pay for it. The problem I'm talking about is rape. Thirty-one years ago, Julie's mother was sexually assaulted and became pregnant as a result. But instead of having an abortion, she carried the baby to term and gave her up for adoption. Today mother and daughter have been reunited; they travel across the country speaking against abortion. But the Clinton administration has just lent its support to the idea that children conceived through rape should not be allowed to live. A directive from the national Medicaid Bureau has decreed that in rape cases, abortion should be considered "medically necessary in the light of both medical and psychological health factors." The assumption here is that having a child after rape endangers a woman's psychological health—that it prolongs the trauma of the assault. But someone ought to tell the Clinton administration that that assumption has already been tested—and it has been proved false. Julie Makimaa is the founder of a group called Fortress International, which polled hundreds of rape victims. The survey found that women who had an abortion actually reported more pain, guilt, and anger. As one rape victim wrote, "The rape was a violent crime against me—but the abortion was the violent murder of my child, and I was a willing participant." Far from assuaging the pain of the assault, abortion made it worse. But the rape victims who carried their babies to term told a completely different story. For them, having a baby meant that the horror of being assaulted had at least one positive outcome: a child to love. These women view their children as innocent victims of the crime, just as they themselves were. Having an abortion, they say, would only have compounded the crime. Julie's own mother puts it starkly: Having an abortion, she said, would have meant giving Julie "the death sentence for the sexual assault crime her father committed." That would be neither justice nor mercy. Tragically, the federal government seems to be paying no attention to the empirical facts—like the results of this survey. Instead, in a display of raw power, the administration has simply announced that henceforth all states must pay for Medicaid abortions in cases of rape or incest. States that prohibit or limit Medicaid coverage of abortion are seeing their laws simply bulldozed by the federal government. Please call your governor or state representatives and urge them to fight the new Medicaid directive that redefines all pregnancies from rape and incest as "medically necessary." Otherwise, you and I will see our tax dollars pay for a procedure that only intensifies the trauma of rape and sexual assault. Rape is a horrible crime, but abortion doesn't reverse it. It only adds death to injury.


Chuck Colson


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