Friday, August 25, 2017

Interview of Save The 1 President Rebecca Kiessling conducted by David Arboix from Salvar El 1

Rebecca, it is unusual to meet a person who has been conceived in rape. Could you explain the influence that this discovery had on your understanding of yourself and your life?

When I first learned how I was conceived, I instantly felt targeted and devalued by so much of society because I had heard what people say about abortion in cases of rape. My very soul cried out for my worth. I was wounded by what people said, but I have never been one to crawl into the corner and just give up.

I am safe. I'm alive. But there are others who are yet at risk and the most selfish thing for me to do would be to just say, “Oh well, at least I got to be born.” I can't do that. I feel like my life was spared from a burning building, and as I have the opportunity to go back and save others, I'm going to do it.

Can you explain the origin of the name of your organization?  What is Save The 1 and what is its role within the broad pro-life world?

The name Save The 1 comes from two places. First of all, there is a sad motto within
the pro-life movement in the United States, that you should “save the 99 in exchange for the 1.” They allow the rape exceptions in mediocre laws which merely regulate abortion. For example, there will be a proposed law to end funding of abortion or funding of Planned Parenthood, but it will have a rape exception. Or they will have a ban on late-term abortions for children who feel pain, but they will have a rape exception. The pro-life leaders who are willing to compromise with the rape exception will use this unfortunate motto of “Save the 99 for the 1” and they will say it's like the “burning building analogy,” asking, “Wouldn't you save the 99 in exchange for the 1?”

They will claim that they simply don't have the votes from politicians to be able to save 100%. But the reason they don't have the votes is because they keep supporting rape exception politicians. So in the burning building scenario, what's really happening is that you have firefighters who are coming in for job interviews before the fire chief and they tell the fire chief, “Just so you know, I discriminate. When I go into a burning building I am not going to save them all. I don't want to save children who will be a ‘horrible reminder’ of the fire, and if you try to force me to go in to save them all, then I won't go into save any.”

Now what fire chief in his right mind would hire that firefighter?! But in the United States, the fire chief who is the pro-life leader not only hires the one who promises to discriminate, but when they in fact fail to save the innocents, the leaders give them a hefty bonus in the form of a political action endorsement.

So this is the corruption we have in the United States and it is the majority voice within the pro-life movement here. If you wonder why the United States can't end abortion with so many pro-life organizations and such huge budgets with their fundraising, I am telling you this is why.

Whenever I hear the saying, “Save the 99 in exchange for the 1”, I can't help but think of the Parable of the Lost Sheep, because Jesus left the 99 to save the 1.  In context, Jesus was talking about the little children. He said, “See that you do not despise any of these little ones for I tell you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my Father in heaven.” And then He goes right into the whole Parable of the Lost Sheep, explaining how the Good Shepherd leaves the 99 to save the 1 lost sheep, and He finishes the parable by explaining it’s point: “For in the same way, your father in Heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” And neither should we!

In context, Jesus was speaking about the little ones who are despised who are at risk of perishing. In today's world, are these at-risk, despised children not the so-called “difficult cases” in the abortion debate? Are they not the children who are conceived in rape or incest or who have fetal abnormalities? Our Father in Heaven is not willing that any of these should perish.

This is why I gave our organization the name Save The 1. I founded it because I had my website for many years and was continually adding other people’s stories to my website, but I was concerned that if something ever happened to me, then all of those stories would be lost forever. I wanted something which would endure, and I wanted a legacy which would not be under my name. A neutral place was needed for everyone with these stories to feel like we are all part of something greater, and not just belonging to me.

Today we have a global network with a database of over 500 who were conceived in rape or mothers who became pregnant by rape, as well as hundreds from our carry to birth division who were given a challenging prenatal diagnosis and told to abort, or their parents had been told to abort them.

We have a Spanish division, Salvar El 1, which has the largest following on social media which is almost 35,000 on Facebook, as well as a Portuguese division, and we are still in 
the process of launching a Polish division. It is clear to me that the Spanish division has become the most popular because this is where the battle is primarily being fought on the so-called “difficult cases” -- all throughout Latin America. I know this is why our stories are so highly valued by the Spanish-speaking world.

We have a team of translators from all over Latin America as well as Spain and I knew that if these stories were translated, then others who speak Spanish would come forward to share their stories. Sure enough, we now have stories of women from all over Latin America and their stories are having to be translated into English for us to share with the English-speaking world!

It is clear that Save The 1 fulfils a clear informative and formative function within the pro-life community. Do you also carry out some kind of support and counseling activities for women who are in a situation similar to that of one of your speakers?

We have many private groups on Facebook for people with the difficult stories. But our Spanish group has not grown like the English groups have. For example, for men who were conceived in rape who speak English, we have almost three dozen members in our private Facebook group for them. We have a few dozen women who speak English who are in our private group for birth mothers who became pregnant by rape. We also have groups by state or region. 

Our Spanish network just has not grown like that yet, but we do hope that, as people know that we have a support network specific to these stories, then they will spread the word and recommend these people to get in contact with us so that we can connect them all together, because no one should have to be alone in this.  Even still, what we hear most commonly is that just reading other people's stories, being able to understand what brought them healing, is very comforting – especially to know that you are not alone.

You were conceived after a violation. Why do you think that the life of the conceived in these circumstances is often considered as a mistake? Why do so many countries’ legislative systems struggle with the introduction of the exceptions clause?

I think the biggest problem has been that we are nameless and faceless to most people. We know that in war, it is always easier to kill the enemy when you dehumanize him or her. As long as we remain merely a concept, it is easier for politicians to sweep us under the rug like we are just dirt of the earth and to consent to us being killed.

This is why I feel so strongly that our stories need to be told, our voices need to be heard so that others would have to look us in the eye before consenting to our people group being killed. I have changed the hearts of many, many politicians throughout the world and here in the United States, including two presidential candidates during their campaigns. They said they could not look me in the eyes and justify the rape exception any longer.

I understand that everyone wishes to show concern for rape victims. My dearest friends on Earth are rape victims. My own precious mother is a rape victim. I very much appreciate people's concern, but they also need to understand that more violence is not the answer. More violence does not bring her healing, and punishing the innocent person is certainly not going to heal her.

I think sometimes it comes down to worldview. If you don't believe in a Creator who designs people and has special plans for each person's life, then you must think that the rapist is creating children like me. For anyone who has ever experienced infertility, you know that you can try to plan your parenthood, but you really don't have the power you thought you had when you were younger. We are not the Creator.

But the real reason why we have rape exception clauses being introduced is because abortion advocates know that this is how they can make abortion legal on demand for any reason. They use rape as merely an excuse to justify all abortions. They know that if they can get abortion legalized in cases of rape, then the door will be open for all abortions. This is how abortion became legal in the United States. In the landmark United States Supreme Court case of Roe versus Wade which legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy for any reason, the pregnant woman called “Jane Roe” whose real name was Norma McCorvey later changed her mind about abortion and sought to have her case overturned. She filed a sworn affidavit with Congress explaining that she lied when she said she was gang raped because her lawyers told her to say she was raped -- that it would make her case stronger.

Amnesty International has been advocating to legalize abortion around the world using the rape issue, and on the radio I have debated these advocates from Amnesty International and from other abortion rights organizations. When I made this point that they will use the rape issue to legalize all abortions, they denied that fact. Then I asked the next question, are women going to be required to prove the rape? Will they have to report it? Will there be a trial before the child is convicted and sentenced to death? They always laugh and then say mockingly, you aren't going to believe a rape victim?

They are so smug because they will now play on people's sympathies that you should just simply believe a woman if she goes into an abortion clinic and says she was raped. This is why it will become abortion on demand for any reason. They will coach women to just say they were raped just like Jane Roe was told by her lawyers to say she was raped. Or, they can just coach the doctor to file the abortion as a rape case.

In Spain and probably in other countries of our cultural environment, we feel that the defense of life begins to be a lost topic. Do you also consider that this is so?

Sometimes what I see is much like what I once heard a religious leader refer to as a “holy huddle” -- like how a sports team gets together in a huddle to cheer each other on and discuss strategy. But then they never make it out onto the field to engage the opposition.

It is extremely frustrating to see people of faith who participate in making some image or video of a kitten or dog doing tricks go viral on social media, but when it comes to raising awareness and defending the preborn from being slaughtered, they aren't willing to share on Facebook, Twitter, etc.. This is very disheartening.

In recent years, the abortion lobby and other international organizations have been pushing hard in Latin America to intrude the decriminalization of abortion through exceptions. Little by little, it is getting the culture of death implanted in countries where life has always been protected. How do you contemplate this panorama?

Nations which have been protecting all children without discrimination are better people because you teach love and not hate. I was so impressed to see in the Spring of 2016, 700,000 people show up to the March for Life in Lima Peru, just one month after pro-life people there defeated the efforts to legalize abortion in cases of rape.

Do you know how many people came to the March for Life in the United States when states began legalizing abortion in cases of rape in the mid to late-1960s? None! Noone cared enough to organize a national march. There was no March for Life in the United States until abortion became legal in all circumstances for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy. And even then, we did not reach the number of 700,000 until the 40-year anniversary of the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court case which legalized abortion in every state for any reason.

It took us 40 years to have that many people care enough to sacrifice their time to attend our national March For Life, and that's with over 1 million being slaughtered every year in the United States! In Peru, abortion wasn't even legalized and the effort to legalize it was “only” for the circumstances of rape, and yet, the good people of Peru cared enough about the child conceived in rape to show up and March. You are a different people.  You have more love. Do not become like the United States.

What is the motivation that today, with so much scientific knowledge and technological advances, still a significant number of the political and medical community are so favorable to abortion?

Politicians and physicians often like to control people groups. They can do this through abortion. There are those who are often quite elitist, thinking only the so-called “right” kind of people should be born, which is part of the eugenics mentality, which is rampant in much of the medical community. They have become heartless.

What would you recommend to the Spanish society and the Latin American society so as not to give up in our struggle to defend the lives of all, without exception?

Fight like your own life depended on it. Do not be selfish just because you were wanted by your mother, or because you had the opportunity to be born.

BIO:  Rebecca Kiessling is the founder and President of Save The 1.  She's an international
pro-life speaker, writer and attorney.  David Arboix from Spain is a translator and editor for Salvar El 1 -- the Spanish speaking division of Save The 1.