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New York State Right to Life Oratory Contest winner wins National Right to Life Oratory Contest

 

Congratulations to Isabelle Collier, winner of both the New York & National Right to Life Oratory Contests!

 

Right to Life Oratory Contest 2017

 

I believe that abortion should be illegal, except in cases of rape or incest.  What do you think of when you hear this statement?  As a pro-lifer, does it challenge you, like it once challenged me?  Rape has never been an easy topic, but sometimes, there are things that need to be said, whether they are easy or not, and I believe my speech today is one of them.

 

You see, in the 44 years since Roe v. Wade the pro-choice movement has become very successful in arguing the need for abortion in the instance of rape.  Through their claims that women should not have to carry the babies of their rapists, babies that would only ever remind these women of the incident, babies that could not possibly be wanted.  These claims have become so widely believed that it has led to what is known as “The Rape Exception” in which even avid pro-lifers say that they believe abortion should be illegal except in the case of rape or incest. 

 

But the information that is often neglected is that in the only major study of pregnant rape victims ever done, it was found that 75 to 85 percent chose against abortion.  Another study done in 2000 found that 78 percent of women who had abortions after their rapes felt they had made the wrong choice and that abortion was not the answer.  Not a single one of the women who had their babies regretted it.

 

But yet the voices of women who have actually experienced a pregnancy as the result of rape have been forgotten.  Drowned out by the ranting of those who claim they understand, but how could they?  The fact is that many women who do have an abortion after there is rape, do so not for themselves, but because they are pressured by those around them.  Rarely do people know how to deal with pain that isn’t their own.  They do not know how to comfort these women, and often, they just wish the problem would go away.  When people say that a rape victim is constantly reminded of the assault by her pregnancy, they are saying to her that they themselves are constantly reminded of the assault by seeing her pregnant.   A woman should never have to abort her baby because people aren’t supportive of her.  A woman should not have to abort her baby because everyone tells her she should want to do it, or that she isn’t strong enough.  You don’t know her strength.  These women deserve to be heard.  These women understand that the answer to violence doesn’t have to be more violence.

 

My aunt is among these women.  She was 23 years old when her husband left her with nothing.  The night she was raped, instead of going to the police or the hospital she went home to an empty apartment.  All alone and hundreds of miles away from her family … three months later she found out she was pregnant.  Faced with the prospect of becoming a single mother of a child conceived in rape, an abortion would have been so easy to attain.  And if she did, not many today would blame her.  But for my aunt, like many other women in her situation, abortion was not even a question, let alone the answer.  She considered putting the baby up for adoption, but ended up deciding to keep her.  A decision that she would have not been very likely to make if it weren’t for the love and support of her family and church.  “It felt like I was pregnant forever,” she said.  “And I just prayed that I would be able to look at that baby and see only the good and none of the bad.  When she was born, I looked at her, and she was mine.”

 

I just want to say to my aunt and to any other woman who has been through this, that you are so brave.  You experienced many women’s worst nightmare, and instead of letting this horrific act destroy or define you, you conquered it.  You brought a beautiful life into this world, and in doing this, you won.  You are not, and never have been just a victim.  You are selfless.  You are an inspiration.  You are a mother.  And your baby will only ever be that, your baby.

 

When I look at my cousin, I see her mother.  I see all my other aunts.  I see my grandmother, I see my grandfather.  I see my dad.  I see … Cassie, and there is no room for anything else.

 

It is time to listen to these women, and remove this unspoken stigma that women should feel ashamed about their rapes, or that children should feel ashamed about being conceived in rape.  The reason that rape is one of the most underreported crimes is because of this guilt and shame society inflicts upon these women.  We need to stop blaming the victims for the crime.  We need to be there for these women, encourage them, respect and admire them.  Show them that they are strong enough to get through this.  We need to show them that they are better than their rapist. 

 

Sources Cited:

http://www.abortionfacts.com/reardon/rape-incest-and-abortion-searching-beyond-the-myths

www.pregnantpause.org/aborted/curerape.htm

 

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