Thursday, December 17, 2015

Michigan Senate Unanimously Passes the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act! by Rebecca Kiessling

Yesterday, the 38 Michigan Senators unanimously passed the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act authorizing courts to terminate the parental rights of rapists upon a rape conviction or upon a finding based upon “clear and convincing evidence” that the parent committed “criminal sexual conduct” – the terminology used for rape under Michigan law – and that the “conduct resulted in the child being conceived.”  SB 629 had 9 co-sponsors, including one Democrat and one female Republican.  So there were 7 male Republicans who, contrary to the mainstream media, do care about rape victims who become pregnant.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Republican Senator Rick Jones, who spent 31 years in law enforcement said, “I want to ensure that victims of rape are not faced with a custody battle from their rapist. . . .  I've actually heard of horrible cases where the rapist contacted the victim after they heard that a child had been conceived and said: 'Get an abortion, and if you don't, I will be going for custody. . . .  I certainly cannot imagine a rapist being able to continue to harass the victim, or have custody of a child conceived in that act.”

Last week, I testified before the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee on this legislation.  My background as a Family Law Attorney helped in explaining why the “clear and convincing evidence” standard is appropriate.  After all, it’s the standard used in Michigan law for all other termination of parental rights cases, and it’s the standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Santosky v Kramer.

I shared stories of women from Save The 1 and Hope After Rape Conception who were sued by their rapists for custody, including Analyn Megison from HARC, Angela Grogg from HARC and her daughter Pyper, and Save The 1 pro-life speaker Liz Carl – a birthmother who had to agree to drop criminal charges, just to be able to consent to an adoption without the rapist getting custody.  Additionally, I told the Senators of two women who were conceived in rape, then raped by their own fathers while in the rapists’ care – Save The 1 Vice-President Darlene Pawlik, and Rowena Slusser.

Attorney Shauna Prewitt -- one of my co-founders of Hope After Conception (HARC), who was sued by her rapist for custody, also testified before the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee by sharing her own compelling story, as well as the research she did for her Georgetown Law Journal article, Giving Birth to a "Rapist's Child":  A Discussion and Analysis of the Limited Legal Protections Afforded to Women Who Become Mothers Through Rape.

By passing this law, Michigan will be entitled to receive federal funds for programs which help survivors of rape, in accordance with the federal Rape Survivor Child Custody Act co-sponsored by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama last June – the only pro-life legislation approved by the President.  This law is pro-life in effect because if pregnant rape victims know they’ll be protected from the rapist, they’ll be more likely to choose life.  It also provides opportunities for legislators to hear from rape survivor mothers who deeply love their children, and we see legislators for once referring to these children as “the rape victim’s child” instead of the usual derogatory terminology of “the rapist’s child.”  So they get to see this issue, the mothers and their children in a whole new light.

Under the federal act, Congress made the following findings:
(1) Men who father children through rape should be prohibited from visiting or having custody of those children.
(2) According to several studies, it is estimated that there are between 25,000 and 32,000 rape-related pregnancies annually in the United States.
(3) A substantial number of women choose to raise their child conceived through rape and, as a result, may face custody battles with their rapists.
(4) According to one study, 32.3 percent of women who were raped and became pregnant as a result of the rape kept their child.
(5) Another study found that, of the 73 percent of women who became pregnant as a result of a rape and carried their pregnancies to term, 64 percent raised their children.
(6) Rape is one of the most under-prosecuted serious crimes, with estimates of criminal conviction occurring in less than 5 percent of rapes.
(7) The clear and convincing evidence standard is the most common standard for termination of parental rights among the 50 States, territories, and the District of Columbia.
(8) The Supreme Court established that the clear and convincing evidence standard satisfies due process for allegations to terminate or restrict parental rights in Santosky v. Kramer (455 U.S. 745 (1982)).
(9) Currently only 6 States have statutes allowing rape survivors to petition for the termination of parental rights of the rapist based on clear and convincing evidence that the child was conceived through rape.
(10) A rapist pursuing parental or custody rights forces the survivor to have continued interaction with the rapist, which can have traumatic psychological effects on the survivor, making it more difficult for her to recover.
(11) These traumatic effects on the mother can severely negatively impact her ability to raise a healthy child.
(12) Rapists may use the threat of pursuing custody or parental rights to coerce survivors into not prosecuting rape, or otherwise harass, intimidate, or manipulate them.
The federal act then provided additional grant money to states who pass this law:  “The Attorney General shall make grants to States that have in place a law that allows the mother of any child that was conceived through rape to seek court-ordered termination of the parental rights of her rapist with regard to that child, which the court shall grant upon clear and convincing evidence of rape.”  The grant programs are the  STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant.
We are currently awaiting on some amendments to the companion bill which authorizes Family Court judges to suspend custody and parenting time rights upon a showing of “clear and convincing evidence,” which would then provide rape survivor mothers with the opportunity to get a case filed for termination of parental rights.  When the bill was passed in the House to suspend custody and parenting time, 101 Michigan State Representatives voted in favor of the bill and 4 voted against it.  One of those who voted against it, Marcia Hovey-Wright, served as the Executive Director of Muskegon Area Planned Parenthood.  She certainly showed her true colors in caring more about rapists than rape victim mothers who had the audacity to choose life for their children.

Many thanks to Right to Life of Michigan for spearheading this effort in Michigan -- especially Ed Rivet and Genevieve Marnon out of the legislative office in Lansing.  You set an example to every Right to Life organization as to how to make this a priority and how to get it done.  You've never allowed a rape exception in Michigan, and now you've shown how to continue this protection after the children conceived in rape are born.  

BIO:  Rebecca Kiessling is a wife, mother of 5, attorney and international pro-life speaker, conceived in rape.  She’s the founder and President of Save The 1, co-founder of Hope After Rape Conception, and co-founder of Embryo Defense.
Monday, November 30, 2015

Northern Ireland High Court Issues Death Penalty to Most Innocent But Discriminated Among Us, by Rebecca Kiessling

Today I grieve for the innocent preborn children in Northern Ireland who will be put to death as a result of High Court Justice Mark Horner’s ghastly ruling -- just because they may be conceived in rape or because a doctor tags them with the diagnosis of “fatal foetal abnormality.”  Not only was I conceived in rape, nearly aborted, while legally protected by law at the time, but I also adopted a baby – Cassie – who was diagnosed with DiGeorge Syndrome and died in our arms at 33 days old.  Additionally, I’m also an attorney who has litigated numerous high-profile cases involving these issues, and I’m the founder and President of Save The 1 – a pro-life organization with hundreds of members of who were conceived in rape or incest, mothers who became pregnant by rape, and also hundreds who were given a challenging pre-natal diagnosis.   Given my background and expertise, I see it necessary to issue a thorough response to Justice Horner’s opinion and I’m hoping this will offer a new perspective for many.

In his ruling which was issued today, Justice Horner determined that Northern Ireland’s abortion ban (which permits abortion only to save the life of the mother) violates Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, in the case of “fatal foetal abnormality” (FFA) throughout the full term of the pregnancy, and in the case of sexual crimes  -- rape and incest – only to the point of viability when the child can survive outside of the womb.
Here’s what Article 8 actually says:

Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life
1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
For those of us in the U.S. and/or who are very familiar with Griswold v Connecticut, which led to the subsequent ruling in Roe v Wade, the first item in Article 8 is the same kind of privacy right created by the U.S. Supreme Court in Griswold and then used by the Roe Court to legalize abortion for any reason in the United States.  But in the present case in Northern Ireland, the petitioner – The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission – was not seeking in this instance to establish a general right to an abortion.  The only reason that they didn’t is because of the 2010 European Court on Human Rights (ECHR) ruling of A, B and C v Ireland (Republic of Ireland) which specifically found that there is NOT a straightforward right to an abortion under the European Convention on Human Rights.
However, you can be assured that these cases are merely groundwork for abortion rights activists, and that they will be returning to establish a broader right, if they deem it to be necessary.  The abortion lobby may not end up feeling the need to do so if every woman seeking an abortion in Northern Ireland just has to say she was raped.  No guidelines were established by Justice Horner, so really, this ruling currently stands to allow abortion on demand for any reason, as long as a woman just says she was raped.  Norma McCorvey – Jane Roe from Roe v Wade – was told by her abortion rights attorneys to say she was gang raped, and this is absolutely a common tactic of the abortion industry.  Just imagine putting a rapist to death merely upon the assertion that a woman was raped!  Yet, that is what will happen here – only, it is the innocent child who would be put to death and not the alleged perpetrator.
Given section 2 of Article 8, Justice Horner was forced to consider the exceptions which allow the public authority to interfere with the exercise of such privacy rights.  He, of course, had to refer to the ECHR ruling in A, B and C v Ireland which found no right to an abortion, and in fact found that the interference was “in accordance with the law and necessary in a democratic society for one of the legitimate aims specified in Article 8 of the Convention,” that there was a wide measure of appreciation for the Republic of Ireland’s protection of the rights of the unborn due to the “profound moral views of the Irish people as to the nature of life,” and also because their Constitution guarantees the right to life from the date of conception.  Northern Ireland does not have such a guaranteed right -- merely an abortion ban statute, which demonstrates the need for nations to provide such a right within their constitutions.  This should be a pressing goal worldwide!
Justice Horner went on to analyze the arguments put forth by the Attorney General of Northern Ireland, which included the fact that Northern Irish pregnant women are not forbidden to travel to England to secure an abortion.  I agree with his conclusion here:  “If it is morally wrong to abort a foetus in Northern Ireland, it is just as wrong morally to abort the same foetus in England.  It does not protect morals to export the problem to another jurisdiction and then turn a blind eye.”  I can’t imagine an attorney general in Michigan arguing such a point – that a woman can just go to NY or wherever to obtain unrestricted access to an abortion.  You defend your own laws and don’t point to some other jurisdiction that doesn’t respect life.
In his ruling, Justice Horner also questions whether the abortion ban is intended to prevent abortions, or simply to forbid them from occurring in Northern Ireland, and he points out the fact that no evidence was put forth by either side to address this question.  I find this mind-boggling.  There must be some evidence to demonstrate how many women in Northern Ireland give birth after rape, or give birth after being given a diagnosis of a fatal fetal abnormality.  A commission was done in Northern Ireland this past year, and surely, surveys could have been implemented within hospitals upon women giving birth to try to ascertain how many are being born under these circumstances.  Even if you don’t have the percentages of how many are being saved by the law, you could still at least point to how many are being born.  Even if one life is saved, that child is worthy of protection.
Justice Horner complained that wealthy women could go to England for abortions, while it greatly affects the ability of impoverished women to terminate their pregnancies “if they cannot obtain charitable assistance”  -- yes, he calls it “charitable assistance.”  Real charity means having compassion on the child, as well as on the woman.  Real charity is meeting her actual needs, and not her desire to kill her own child.  How warped is a judge’s thinking when he believes abortion – killing innocent preborn children -- is “charity?!”  I can’t help but think of how his reasoning would apply to all abortions, on demand for any reason, which is what it seems he would be inclined to do if it weren’t for the ruling in A, B and C v Ireland.
Looking at section 2 of Article 8, Justice Horner found that the interference is “in accordance with the law,” since the abortion ban is actually inscribed in the law, and he found that there is a “legitimate aim” to protect pre-natal life, even in cases of “serious malformation of the foetus” when it’s not diagnosed as fatal.  However, he found that “it is illegitimate and disproportionate to place a prohibition on the abortion of both a foetus doomed to die because it is incapable of an existence independent of the mother’s womb and the viable foetus conceived as a result of sexual crime.”

He then considered whether the interference is “necessary in a democratic society” – whether there is a pressing social need.  Again, he addressed the question of whether the ban actually saves lives and concluded that there was “not one iota of evidence” that this criminal statute in these specific cases of FFA and sexual crimes has resulted in the saving of any pre-natal life.  This is a great shame that he is summarily dismissing the lives of innocent children – condemning them to death – based upon the fact that he does not have raw numbers before him on how many lives would be saved.

Then he goes on to say that the abortion ban places a disproportionate burden upon victims of sexual crimes: 

“She has to face all the dangers and problems, emotional or otherwise, of carrying a foetus for which she bears no moral responsibility and is merely a receptacle to carry the child of a rapist and/or a person who has committed incest, or both.”
Justice Horner summarily insults every mother who became pregnant by rape by calling her a “receptacle” and referring to HER child as “the child of a rapist!”  He’s also making numerous faulty assumptions here – that the rape survivor will suffer problems, emotional or otherwise, from carrying the child and giving birth, when studies actually demonstrate that women are far worse off after the abortion as compared to giving birth.  Dr. David Reardon’s book Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting From Sexual Assault details this research.  Having this research on hand, along with the multitude of testimonies from rape victim mothers and their children, Justice Horner’s arguments are found hollow.

In the case of fatal fetal abnormality, Justice Horner’s arguments are again grossly distorted.  Finding that the abortion ban constitutes a “gross interference” with a mother’s “personal autonomy” in the face of a fatal foetal abnormality diagnosis from a doctor, here’s what he concluded: 

“In the case of an FFA there is no life to protect.  When the foetus leaves the womb, it cannot survive independently.  It is doomed.  There is nothing to weigh in the balance.  There is no human life to protect.  Furthermore, no evidence has been put before the Court that a substantial section of Northern Ireland’s community, never mind a majority, requires a mother to carry such a foetus to full term.”
Save The 1 has a plethora of stories of parents given an FFA diagnosis, and their children are still living.  If they are alive in the womb at the time of diagnosis, then there is human life there to protect!  Even if they die upon or after birth, their lives are still valuable, just as the lives of any person given a lethal diagnosis.  We don’t kill someone early, just because they will die.  In fact, we ALL will die – it doesn’t matter though, because human life is precious and it’s discriminatory to say which lives are valuable based upon some doctor's estimation of their life expectancy. 

Earlier in his opinion, rejecting the argument for an exception in cases of serious foetal malformation, Justice Horner had this to say:

“There is also surely an illogicality in calling for no discrimination against those children who are born suffering from disabilities such as Down’s Syndrome or spina bifida on the basis that they should be entitled to enjoy a full life but then permitting selective abortion so as to prevent those children with such disabilities being born in the first place.  This smacks of eugenics.  It is always difficult to draw the line and it comes as no surprise that the phrase “serious malformation of the foetus” remains undefined.  It can mean different things to different people.”
He is right in this point, but he’s missing out on the fact that “fatal foetal abnormality” likewise means different things to different people, and all he has to do is look at all of the people born and living with these diagnoses to see that FFA also smacks of eugenics.  

Rebecca Kiessling with birthmother Joann
And so does the systematic targeting and devaluing of the innocent child conceived in rape.  The message is that whether born or unborn, these children are not as worthy of life, and the myth gets perpetuated that we are all a great burden, “the child of a rapist” – as Justice Horner said – instead of being seen as our mother’s child, and that we are somehow stained with the rapist’s iniquity and a “horrible reminder of the rape,” when this is not at all how our mothers see us. 

The discrimination is lifelong, for children conceived in rape and their rape survivor mothers who are not believed, because judges like Horner think a true rape victim would have aborted and needed an abortion, but also for those given a fatal foetal abnormality.  Doctors often refuse to treat upon birth and for months and years after, because their diagnoses become self-perpetuating.  They don’t want these children to live because many medical professionals see them as a drain on the system.

Lastly, Justice Horner’s repeated statements alluding to public opinion is the most disturbing.  The European Convention on Human Rights, and the U.S. Bill of Rights, were put into place to protect the weakest among us – no matter what the majority of public opinion is.  Human Rights are all about protecting the most vulnerable, the most despised, devalued and discriminated within society.  In modern society, and especially today in Northern Ireland, this would be the child conceived in rape, and the child marked with a fatal foetal abnormality diagnosis.  One is given the death penalty for the crimes of another, and the other child is issued a death warrant by a doctor.  Both should be protected.

BIO:  Rebecca Kiessling is a wife, mother of 5, attorney and international pro-life speaker, conceived in rape.  She’s the founder and President of Save The 1, co-founder of Hope After Rape Conception, Executive Committee - Board Member of Personhood Alliance, and co-founder of Embryo Defense.
Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Legend of Supermom, by Rebecca Kiessling

The best memories I have growing up were when my adoptive father would tell me and my brother nighttime stories with whole casts of characters he created.  These figures were iconic – always with a central figure who was my dad’s alter ego – and these characters, with unique voices and all, were almost like members of our family.  My favorite series of stories were about the superhero Man Wa Man – my dad’s secret identity, also known just as Man Wa, or The Great Wazini.  As an adult, he shared with me that Wa came from our last name, Wasser.  My dad would tell us of his nightly, outrageously funny escapades of donning his cape and flying out his bedroom window to fight the insanely ridiculous villains, but how ultimately, he would always get the bad guy and hand him off to the police to be put in jail.  This superhero became such a part of my childhood that, at times, my father would not respond to my requests until I addressed him as Man Wa – something which I found less amusing as a teenager.

Fast-forward decades later to my own children – after taking my children to see the movie The Incredibles – about an entire superhero family, I decided to tell them about Man Wa Man, and how, actually, Mommy has a cape too. . . .  My oldest son Caleb, who was 4 years old at the time, adamantly demanded:  “Stop it Mom.  You’re just trying to trick us – like those parents who trick their children about Santa Claus.”  Oh great!  I was trying to preserve their present and future faith in God by not intermingling the Holy Days with Santa and the Easter Bunny, but now, this was spoiling my chance to have fun in passing on my favorite childhood tradition!  (I was adopted into a Jewish family, so there were no memories of Santa and the Easter Bunny for me.)  I pleaded with my son, “Aw, come on, please just let me tell you a story – just for fun.”  “No Mom, I’m not going to let you trick us!”  Exasperated, I gave up.

But then, the following year, the movie “Sky High” was being released – another superhero family movie.  Perhaps this would be my opportunity again.  So I went online with my son Caleb who was 5 at this time, to read the movie review on Plugged In.  I began to read to him about this superhero family in which the dad has super-strength, and the mom has a cape and can fly, then turning my head, I smiled at my son and slowly and coyly said, “Just like Mommy . . . .”  He put his hands on his hips, rolled his eyes at me and condescendingly retorted, “Mom, you are NOT a superhero,” to which I replied with a hope-filled voice, “But, I wanna be.”  Caleb stopped for a moment, thought about it, then said the most remarkable thing to me, “Well, YOU save babies.”

WOW!!!  “Oh my goodness,” I exclaimed, “so you think I’m a real superhero?!  Come here, give me a hug Caleb.  That was the best thing you could have ever said to me!”  I’m a pro-life speaker and attorney.  For many years I homeschooled my children, taking them across the U.S. and even overseas with me. I speak sharing my own controversial life story, and telling people about the value of all human life.  So my son has grown up knowing exactly what I do.  It meant the world to me to hear my son say this simple, but profound statement to me.

So we all went to see a matinee of Sky High that day, and as I was putting the children to bed that night, they asked me to tell them a story about Supermom -- my dream come true!  I began the story just as my dad always had – putting the children to sleep, getting the call for help, putting on my cape, and flying out the window . . . .  But from that point on, my 3 oldest children collaborated in finishing the adventure and telling the crazy escapades.  They had my youngest daughter – 4 months old at the time – as Superbaby, also with a cape and hanging onto Mommy’s cape, giggling and laughing just as she always does, as she flew through the air with me.  Then my children had me spot “a bad guy abortion doctor,” and the story went on with Superbaby slinging her dirty diaper and all the other nonsense which perhaps you can imagine coming from 3 little children ranging in age from 2 to 5 years old.

We had so much fun over the next two months telling Supermom stories, so when Halloween costumes began to appear in the stores, I decided to purchase a Supergirl costume -- ironing on white-trimmed yellow letters “M-O-M” just underneath the big  Super “S” emblem.  I prepared my children for what was to come, and they all eagerly lined up, sitting outside of my bedroom door as I donned my costume and cape.  “Okay, are you kids all ready to see Supermom?,” I asked from the other side of the door, with a quick response of children’s cheers.  As I opened my bedroom door, my children’s jaws dropped and they gasped in awe.  It was such a priceless moment!  Then they jumped up and hugged me, demanding another Supermom story to immediately be told.

Having so many young children close in age (eventually 5 within 7 years,) people would regularly say things to us when we were out in public, like, “Are those all yours?,” or, “You’ve got your hands full!”  Very few people have more than two or three children nowadays, so I know our family is unique, but my husband and I would see this as an opportunity to obliterate the notion that five is too many.  My husband’s response to "You've got your hands full," has been to hold up one hand, spreading his fingers, pointing at them and explaining, “No, just one.” Then he’d hold up his other hand and say, “There’s still room for FIVE more over here!”  People would never know what to say then!

My response has been to take pride in being a mother of 5 and say, “Yeah, well, I’m Supermom!” I’d
been saying this for quite some time over that last year or so, and my children would not have anything else to add.  But after the Supermom stories and the Supermom costume came to be, the next time I told a store cashier, “Yeah well, I’m Supermom!,” my son Caleb suddenly turned to the clerk and with much enthusiasm exclaimed, “It’s TRUE – she has a CAPE!”

And this is how the legend of Supermom came to be in the Kiessling household.  So here's to all of the Supermoms, Superdads  and all of the surrogates who save babies' lives through pro-life activism -- my children think you are superheroes, and so do I!

BIO:  Rebecca Kiessling is a wife, mother of 5, attorney and international pro-life speaker.  She’s the founder and President of Save The 1, co-founder of Hope After Rape Conception, and co-founder of Embryo Defense. (Photo taken recently -- 10 years after acquiring the Supermom suit.)
Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Response to Elise Cooper About her article, The Rape Exception ~by Darlene Pawlik

American Thinker published an article by Elise Cooper. Her title, The Rape Exception, got attention. The message was that Republicans should leave the exceptions in laws. It is this thinking that has brought us abortion on demand.

I will take this apart paragraph by paragraph. Elise’s first assertion, in paragraph 1, is that rape conception is extremely rare. Rape is grossly underreported. Even so, the reported number of rape conception is significant. About 32,000 pregnancies per year are a result of rape.

Elise interviewed experts who have dealt with victims. That needs to be qualified. Were they first responders, investigators, or long-term healthcare workers? Dealing with rape is a process, not an event. Rape is a traumatic, core violation.

A first responder cannot have the same knowledge as a person who engages her over time. Trauma skews everything. Perspective, emotions, logic, attitude, perception of time, decision-making, and concentration are negatively affected.

In paragraph 2, Elise tells us that many Republicans are in agreement with the majority of Americans that exceptions should be made. The majority of the Early American South were said to approve of slavery. Does that make it right? Just because others believe something, doesn’t make it right.

It is objectively wrong to kill another human being. You would say it is wrong to kill you, right now. Why?

In paragraph 3, Elise talked to an unnamed psychologist. The title of psychologist is supposed to convey authority, but there are three completely disjointed sentences there. What does the death penalty and Second Amendment have to do with taking an innocent life in the womb on moral grounds? Guns are the great equalizer. Loss of life can occur? Victims of rape are not afforded the same parameters?  Wait what?

Is our psychologist suggesting the child deserves the death penalty for the crime of his or her father? Even those who rape do not deserve the death penalty, according to the Supreme Court. Only the most violent criminals are sentenced to death, but not without due process and among a jury of their peers. Is our psychologist suggesting the mother should be above the law? Should she be allowed to decide execution on her own?

What exactly is the psychologist saying here anyway?

Paragraph 4 emphasizes the trauma of rape, but concludes by suggesting that forcing children to carry their children to term is bad. The point is that she is already pregnant. She is already a mom. She knows there is a baby. It’s her baby. The police officer is quoted to say, “Would you force her to have the child of a horrible person?”

I know children of horrible people. I don’t think we should kill them because their parents are horrible.

She has been traumatized by rape. If you have seen what happens during abortion, you would agree that is another trauma. When she regains her ability to cope and she begins to heal from the rape, then the abortion, she will again be traumatized. She needs support and help to get through after rape. She does not need to be further victimized.

The police officer insists that choice is the key. What is the choice? Let’s be perfectly clear. The choice referred to is chopping up a baby and pulling that child from his mother’s womb. This leaves a mother of a dead baby. She is no less the victim of rape, but has compounded the impact to include the death of her child.

Elise tells us the officer has a good point. Then tells us that a UN report says that ISIS is torturing, raping and killing. Among those injured, was a nine year old, pregnant by rape. Why force her to relive nine months of torture? But, did she know immediately? One doesn’t usually know their pregnant for four to six weeks or more. So, it’s not nine months. That is disingenuous at best and a lie designed to cause confused compassion at worst.

She can be managed through her pregnancy with loving care and medical intervention that protects both patients, mom and baby. Caring for both, instead of intentionally killing.

Paragraph 6 is the only one that makes sense to me. I was conceived by violent rape, sexually abused as a child, sold into sex trafficking, and I conceived a child as a result. I have experienced this. If you have not, you cannot fully understand. That is why Elise should have interviewed people from this demographic.

Paragraph 7 takes us back to ‘her choice’. We must always define “choice”. This prosecutor deals with victims during their trauma. That is a temporary situation. Pregnancy is also always temporary. We must never make permanent decisions based on temporary situations.

In paragraph 8,9, 10 and 11 we are told the choice to kill the child is based on paternity. There are hundreds of thousands of men in prison. Should their children be killed? They are a reminder to their moms. Is the two-year-old child of a rapist on the table? They are more expensive. They need more resources. They aren’t as easily adopted as a newborn. Should she kill her?

If it is the mom’s choice, without anyone else intervening, why couldn’t she kill her teenage son, if his father rapes her or someone else for that matter?

In paragraph 12, we are reminded that laws preventing rapists from getting custody need to spread across the country. A woman, who carried to term and raised her baby, was notified that he now wanted access to the child. This is a horrifying scenario on many levels. Even if he an adult-only rapist, mom would be terrified every moment her little one is with him. If not, the child would be subjected to incestuous sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse is a core violation. It has a lifelong impact.

Ms. Cooper concludes her article stating that all interviewed said that the exception should be based on a woman’s choice. She should have interviewed us at Savethe1.

She says that women who become pregnant by rape should decide if they want to continue or prevent it.

Sorry, Elise, if she’s pregnant, she has a baby. The choice was already taken away from her. Her choice now, is to be the mother of a live baby or a dead one.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I Miscarried After Being Raped -- The Truth Is, I Long For That Child, by Becky Dunlap

My story, for His Glory . . . .  Please be aware there are parts that I have never before told.  God is giving me a voice and strength to tell more as He helps me process through parts that I've kept hidden.   It's in the truth that God sets us free.  
When I was 13 I had a best friend.  She and I did everything and went everywhere together.  Our lives pretty much revolved around our friendship and youth group.  We were inseparable.  If I wasn't at her house, she was at my house.  Her mom had her baby brother when we were in 7th grade and we pretty much "mothered" that little baby boy.  I have always been infatuated with babies, even when I was a really little girl.  I remember meeting him in the hospital the day he was born and his little wrinkled toes and legs were just so precious.
The summer before 8th grade, my friend went for a month or so to stay with her dad in a different state.  One night I babysat her baby brother and other young brother so her mom and her mom's live-in boyfriend could go out.  Around 12am I started to get worried.  I didn't like the dark, and being only 13, that was a late time at night to still be babysitting.  Her family was very poor too so they lived in a beat down trailer that had mice.  I started counting down the minutes for them to return.
They finally returned and the boyfriend said he was taking me home.  I lived up a hill heading out of town.  When we got closer to my house, he sped up and drove right past my house.  I told him he had passed my house and he told me to shut up.  By that time, I was screaming and had no idea where we were going.  He drove down around curvy winding roads, for what seemed like a long time.  It was so dark outside and I was terrified.  He pulled off the road into some gated off parking lot.  It was surrounded by trees and bushes.  I was somewhat aware of where we must be because of the winding roads, but I was far from home and really disoriented.  He began pulling and tugging at my clothing trying to undress me.  The more I resisted the more forceful he became.
I still remember every single detail. At the time, I wasn't sure if I was going to live or not.  I sobbed uncontrollably and begged him over and over to please just take me home, repeating that I didn't want to have sex with him and I just wanted to go home.  He told me to shut up and that no one could hear me and no one would find me out there.  I remember looking around and wanting to try to get out of the car, but I was so afraid.  He was violent and I was scared to death.  
When he was done raping me, he drove me home and as we winded around all the bends he told me to never tell anyone and that if I did, I would get it.  He dropped me off at home, I went to my parents bedroom, stuck my head in the door and said “I’m home.”  Then I went to my room, hid my clothes way down in the back of my bottom drawer, and went to bed. 
I didn't tell my parents or anyone else except my best friend -- who then told her mom.  I was scared every single time the phone rang that it would be my friend's mom, and that she would tell my parents.  She told me I should tell them.  I waited 3 months to tell anyone.  It was summer time and my family spent a lot of time out on the lake boating/skiing/tubing and everyone was having so much fun. I thought that if I told them about the awful night, it would ruin our fun times and ruin my family. 
A couple weeks after being raped, my period was late.  I was concerned I might be pregnant, but I didn’t want to tell my parents because I knew they would be upset. About a month later, there was still no period.
My family went to Pennsylvania to visit my grandparents and extended family.  My friend Crystal came with me.  We rode my pony (which my grandparents kept when we moved when I was 10.) Later that day, I started having stomach pains and started bleeding.  I told my mom and friend I had started my period, but inside I was terrified -- terrified I was miscarrying.  I still wasn’t sure I was pregnant, since I hadn't taken a pregnancy test to confirm it. I thought I probably was since I knew when my period was due and I knew enough to understand that I could get pregnant from him raping me.  Bleeding and in terrible pain -- not like a normal period, I thought that I had caused a miscarriage because I rode the pony.  Over the next night and following day, I continued to have stomach pains and passed large blood clots. At 13, I still wasn’t sure at this point if it was so bad because I hadn’t had my period for several months, or if I was having a miscarriage.  After that day, the pain subsided and I continued to bleed for 14 days straight.  I never told a soul.  I didn’t really understand what had happened to me, but I thought it was my fault. 
On the first day of school that year, we met all our teachers.  I knew that day that my English teacher was someone I could confide in.  She was a beautiful woman who was strong, sweet and tender, and she said the words that I so needed to hear.  She stood in front of class and told us that if any of us ever had a problem, if we ever had something terrible that we needed someone to tell, then she would accept them and help them.
I felt sick that day -- a nervous sick, knowing that I might someday be able to tell my secret.  Within a month into the year, my English teacher gave us an assignment to write a paper that was to be about three wishes.  Being my sweet, tender little self (I really did have a heart for people,) I wrote about how 1 - I wished that everyone in the world would be saved, 2 - there would never be anymore world war. and 3 - "that" would have never happened to me.  I didn't even know then that what had happened was called rape.  I just knew he forced me to have sex and that it was wrong.  As I wrote about that 3rd wish, my handwriting got so bad that it was hard to read, and I remember being so sick and nervous because I was finally letting the terrible secret out.
The wait until my teacher read and graded our papers was hard.  I kept asking her if she had read them.  Finally one day I handed her a folded up piece of paper that said "I need to talk to you sometime." She called me into the hall that day and it went from there -- I told her everything.  She was precious with me.  She cried, she held my hand, she listened, and she asked me questions.  She convinced me that I had to tell my parents.  Giving her the go ahead, she called my mom and dad from the school. 
My dad had a dentist appointment so he went to that and my mom came in to the school.  My teacher told her, and then my mom and I went home and told my dad.  My parents were heartbroken.  They quickly pressed charges.  Later that English paper became part of evidence for the trial.  Once the man was arrested and taken to jail, the girl who was my best friend became very angry with me.  She passed horrible rumors around my school lying and calling me names.  Along with what had happened to me, I was hurting so much from losing my best friend. 
The next year was a continuation of the nightmare.  By the time we actually started the court trial (there had been some delays with our lawyer who was working on a murder case so court was postponed a couple times,) it had been nine months since the rape.  I remember looking over to the man in the court room and I actually felt sad for him.  I had my family, but he was so alone and I just thought of how lost he was -- how incredibly lost he had to have been to ever consider doing something so awful to a 13 year old girl.

The day of trial, he ended up agreeing to a plea bargain.  He went before the judge to explain what he did to me, but then began to lie saying he thought I was 16.  The judge got angry, stopped him and told him he needed to talk to his lawyer again and get his story straight.  So they took the break, he came back out, then admitted to what he did to me.  The original charges had been for 1st degree sodomy and rape of a minor, and the plea bargain was for up to two years for a reduced sexual abuse charge.  He ultimately ended up serving less than 8 months.  Running into him at a store in town, I remember feeling really awful, sick and scared, while my father was absolutely furious.  Looking back, I understand that the prosecutors were wanting to spare me the trauma of a trial, but I think a trial would have been better than knowing he was free in my community.  I knew he'd raped an 18 year old girl before.  Instead of being there to testify at the trial, her family instead chose to pack up and move out of town that day, so the prosecutor lost a key witness. 
Starting in 10th grade, I went to counseling.  I didn't sleep well during those years, so I would read my bible and journal to God late into the night.  God was faithful to me and He was very close.  I had this connection with Him because of my pain that went deep.  Sometimes it felt like I could reach out and touch Him, other nights I would beg and cry for Jesus to please just come in person and hold me.  One night as I was crying out to God at a little reservoir by my house (I went there often at night to pray and talk to God,) God showed me a vision of Jesus on the cross.  I could see the pain and the sacrifice, and for the first time, I felt deep sadness that my sin had nailed Him there.  God spoke to me and reminded me that He died for that man who had raped me too.  That night, He helped me to forgive my offender completely. 
During my time in counseling, I was able to finally tell my counselor about the possibility that I had been pregnant by rape and miscarried.  I also told one of my church youth leaders, but her response was really hurtful to me.  She said, “Becky you wouldn’t have wanted a baby with that man, it would have been a constant reminder of that monster.  God took care of that for you.”  Her words deeply wounded my soul because I adored babies.  God had wired me to long for and look forward to becoming a mother from a very young age, so I couldn’t accept that to be true that God would have created a child, then taken that child from me just because I'd been raped.  After being wounded by those words, I vowed to never tell anyone else about the possible miscarriage, thinking no one else could ever understand.  Years later, as a mom to several children, I finally talked with my friend and midwife about what had happened -- the missed periods, the pain, the blood clots, and the prolonged bleeding.  She confirmed that what had happened sounded like a miscarriage.
Over the years that followed, I've found healing and hope that could have only come from Jesus. Time helps, but time doesn't truly heal -- only Jesus's work in us can over time heal our wounds.  I've found Jesus to be a comfort to me when I was hurting, strength to me when I've been too weak to go on, light when all I could see was dark, peace when I'm afraid, patience when I try to walk alone.  I truly don't think I could have walked through the valley of the shadow of death without God there to hold my hand, to tell me I could go on, and to show me the way.  

In the last couple months, God has put His finger on the miscarriage again.  With all the Planned Parenthood scandal surfacing, God has shown me that He wants to heal me deeper and especially relating to the miscarriage.  At 38 years old, after 25 years, I am finally now accepting that loss and feeling the grief that I never allowed myself to experience.  I’m allowing myself to grieve the loss that wasn’t safe to grieve back then.  Whether or not anyone else can comprehend this, the truth is, I long for that child.  I want to have a voice for that baby, especially after keeping this hidden for all these years.  Though I am at home with my 6 beautiful children today, there isn't a child who can replace another.  So I still long for and wish I could have that child who I never get to hold.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what it would have been like had I carried that baby to term and birthed him/her.  I’m aware that it would have completely changed my life, that I would as a child be growing up with that child.  I also know without a shadow of a doubt that God created that baby and had I carried him/her, God would have given me everything I would have needed to love that child. 
I don’t for a second think of abortion as an option for rape.  Had I continued and decided for an abortion, I would have only introduced a deeper trauma, a greater amount of pain, and more evil on top of an already evil act.  Nothing about abortion would have helped my situation.  That baby had as much a right to live as I do.  I feel like God has given me a greater passion lately for both the girls/women who are hurting and broken due to rape, and a desire to have a voice for the unborn babies conceived in rape.  Life is precious, all lives are precious and all are created and given by God, the giver of life.  Last week, I named that baby Zechariah, which in Hebrew means “Yahweh Remembers.” I take comfort knowing that my God indeed remembers.
God had deepened my understanding of just how present and close He was with me the night I was raped.  Nothing went from the hands of that man to my body that didn't first go through the body of Jesus. God gave me a vision where I saw that man's hands reach towards me and go straight through the back of Jesus before touching me.  It was like God was a human shield and He felt everything I felt.  In my darkest hour, the most terrifying night of my life, I lay there being stripped of all my dignity, in complete raw and utter helplessness and loss of control, being laughed at and told no one would hear my cries for help, and I felt alone.  But God didn't just watch as a bystander "present" with me, He entered into my pain and experienced what I experienced.  My tears were not the only tears shed that night.  For years, I would look back on that night and all I could see was my ugly naked body.  In my eyes, I was tainted and felt ashamed.  God spoke to me and revealed to me that I was captivating to Him. (Captivating is the meaning of my name Rebecca).  He told me that He SAW my naked body lying there, He SAW me being wounded and broken, and He saw my body as beautiful.  He didn't have to look away, cover His eyes or shudder like I had imagined.  He watched, he felt, he SAW and He too was broken.  We were one.  I wasn’t alone. 
This wasn’t unfamiliar ground for Him though.  It makes me think about what it must have been like for my precious Jesus, the night He endured the cross. There was no darker night than that, the night he was stripped of His clothing, beaten and bruised, laid on a cross naked, laughed at, mocked. People questioned why His God wouldn't save Him.  It is comforting to know Jesus knows the pain and anguish I felt that night.  He too experienced the stripping of clothes, but even more so the stripping of His heart.  He too questioned where His Father was, and He too had a Father that felt every tear, every drop of sweat and blood that fell from His brow.  Nothing touched Him that night on the cross that didn't first go through the hand of His Father, God.  He wasn’t alone, nor was I alone.  Realizing I wasn't raped alone, knowing that He chose to go there with me, knowing He experienced what I experienced, deepens my understanding of His love for me.  He chooses to go into the valleys with us.  He isn't afraid of our mess, He knows our humanness and loves us in it.
Jesus created us, and He knows our deepest parts. Nothing is hidden from Him.  He knows us outwardly and He knows us inwardly.  He knows what's been hidden in the dark and what is seen openly.  He knows the memories, the shame, the brokenness.  Not a moment does He turn His eyes away.  He knows exactly what happened that night, and exactly what it felt like.  He too cried every tear, spoke every plea, felt every touch.  He experienced it on the cross, and He experienced it with me.  And as my Creator, My Father, the One who loves me most, how it must have hurt Him.  I am deeply grateful for His love, His faithfulness and His healing.  I am grateful that He doesn't just discard our broken places but instead He brings beauty for ashes.  He restores all that satan takes from us.  He redeems it all.

BIO:  Becky Dunlap is a wife of 17 years and a stay-at-home mom to 6 children.  She blogs at, and is a blogger for Save The 1.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Intellectual Dishonesty ~ by Darlene Pawlik

The Editors at National Review, not their real names, have decided that the pro-life candidates for president should back off from a 100% pro-life, no exceptions stand on abortion.

I do wonder if we were talking about their demographic, if they would have the same opinion. For example, if there were open season on reporters and someone wanted to outlaw the brutal way they were killed, would they suggest exceptions?

Let’s just say that it would be legal to take reporters into an abortion center and cut their arms and legs off and crush their sculls. Let’s also imagine that this is government-funded activity. Perhaps, we could imagine that the main company doing these horrific murders was allowed to promote their activity in schools and public advertising.

Which reporters would they decide were inferior? Which ones are not worthy of protection from such a law? Perhaps, they would choose the writers of gossip pages. After all, they are gaining from the bad news about other people. Or maybe it would be the ones who report on the police logs. They are connected with criminal activity, right?

Of course, this is ludicrous. They wouldn’t be of lesser value because they had some connection to negative events. The reporters that report on crimes are not the perpetrators of those crimes.

So, neither is a child conceived by rape or incest in any way complicit with the crimes of his or her father. Yet, these reporters think that those children should not be protected from this brutal form of death.

There is an ignorant, confused compassion that happens in the minds of people who have not had the experience of becoming pregnant by rape. They impose their own beliefs on women to society’s detriment.

Contrary to popular opinion, women who conceive by rape don’t always want to kill their children. Many know that their son or daughter is not the perpetrator. They know the child is not an aggressor, but a second victim of the crime. They know that pregnancy is temporary, but abortion is forever.

It is intellectual dishonesty to decide some babies are worth protecting and others are not. I thank the few candidates that hold the logical conclusion that if only some are protected, than none are safe. This is what has lead to our current state of abortion on demand.

 To the Editors, I say, “You are practicing intellectual dishonesty.” That tiny percentage of abortions that take place because of rape you mentioned is partially because women who are pregnant by assault are 50% less likely to choose abortion than women in other crisis situations.

I strongly believe that it is because they have been violated and they have an intuitive sense that they would be further violated in their conscience, by violating the right to life of another.

Society tells them that killing their child will somehow remove the stigma of rape. This is asinine.

The Editors also mention that abortion is enshrined in the law. This is a travesty. Instead of promoting this unjust law, a few candidates are taking a stand against it. These Editors are on the wrong side. Reinforcing injustice will never make it right.

In a grievous act of judicial supremacy, five unelected men told the country that our country’s preborn children would not be protected in the same way as born children. Thus, a distinction of class was enacted across the nation.

We have seen unjust laws that singled out a class of people to be held in low regard. The Native American genocide and the horrible treatment of foreign slaves were unjust. They had difficulty speaking up for themselves because of a language barrier.

The preborn class of people cannot speak up for themselves. It is only a level of development that separates us. The circumstances of conception should have no bearing.

They need society to change the unjust law. They need us to stand up for them. 

Darlene Pawlik, VP of Savethe1 and Chair of NHRTL Educational Trust, was conceived by rape and now works every day to stand up and speak up for those who are not able to speak up for themselves.