Follow Save the 1

Translate the Blog

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pro-Life Peru is Morally Superior, by Rebecca Kiessling

It is a great honor to have been invited to speak at Peru’s first international pro-life conference.  I’m
an attorney, wife, mother of 5, international pro-life speaker and writer, and the President of Save The 1 - a global pro-life organization with a network of over 525 who were conceived in rape (like me) and mothers who became pregnant by rape who are either raising their children, birthmothers, or post-abortive and regret aborting.  Additionally, we have hundreds of parents in our network who were told to abort due to a challenging pre-natal diagnosis, or those whose parents were told to abort them.  We value our lives and the lives of our children.  We urge the people of Peru to continue protecting human life without exception.

I’m sure you’ve heard abortion advocates say that it’s barbaric to force a rape victim to carry “a rapist’s child.”  First of all, I am not the child of a rapist – I am the child of a rape victim.  My mother and I object to me being characterized otherwise.  The rapist has no claim to me!  Tell those who say such things, do not insult me or my mother in this way.

Secondly, it is simply barbaric to punish an innocent child for someone else's crime.  Justice dictates that in a civilized society, we punish rapists, not babies. Those who would kill innocent children are the ones who are barbaric! 

I did not deserve the death penalty for the crime of my biological father.  My own birthmother had tried to kill me at two illegal abortions, and was pro-choice when we met 29 years ago, but today, we are thankful we were both protected by law from the horror of abortion, just as the women and children of Peru are protected today.   She said back then, the only option she was given was to abort me.  She said that there were no pro-life pregnancy resource centers at the time, and no one gave her any other help or hope.

Peru has legislators who have placed gun sights on children like me.  To them I say, take them off!  Remove me from your scope.  I am not your game to be hunted and killed.  I am a person and deserve life every bit as much as you.  This targeting of life is dehumanizing and demoralizing, not just for those yet unborn, but for every person living who was conceived in violence.  The sting of your hatred is palpable and life-long.

Legalizing abortion for rape or other exceptions sends a message to our people group that our lives
are worth less than anyone else’s.  Imagine hearing of some nation introducing an abortion ban with an exception in cases of babies conceived in Jewish homes, Catholic families, or from Latino moms. 
The message which would be sent is that these people are not worthy of living and did not deserve to be protected like everyone else.  There would be an international outcry if the legalization of such prejudice were even proposed because everyone would understand the discriminatory implications and intentions.  Yet, it is the same for us, and we ache from such malice and the reckless disregard for our lives.  Rape survivor mothers grieve how their children are systematically targeted and devalued.  They suffer more because they are not believed they were raped since they did not abort and because they actually love their children.

We appreciate concern for rape victims, but they are four times more likely to die within the next year after an abortion, as opposed to giving birth.  In Dr. David Reardon’s book, Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting From Sexual Assault, he cites the research done on the subject.  After an abortion, rape victims have a higher rate of being murdered, committing suicide, drug overdose, etc..  Rapists, child molesters and sex traffickers love abortion, which destroys the evidence and enables them to continue perpetrating.  Oftentimes, a girl’s own mother has been either trafficking her or leaving her unprotected. 

It is always the baby who is the hero of the story, by exposing the rape, delivering her out of the abusive situation, protecting her and bringing her healing.  So if you care about rape victims, you must protect her from the rapist and from the abortion, and not the baby!  The baby is not the scary enemy.  It’s just absurd to suggest that any woman should have to be afraid of a baby.

In regards to a pre-natal diagnosis of “incompatible with life” – it is impossible for the baby to be such when that unborn child is still living.  As long as there is a heartbeat, there is life and there is hope. Physicians who peddle abortion are truly the ones with fatal heart defects, often failing to treat the children of parents who refused to abort.  A eugenics mentality becomes pervasive when you allow abortion for any reason.

I see the language of the global abortion lobby and how they try to demean pro-life nations like Peru by characterizing them as antiquated and “third-world,” as if killing the most vulnerable is somehow “progressive.”  The truth is, Peru is a morally superior nation because they’ve established the most important characteristics of a culture – one where people are loved, protected, and accepted.  Child sacrifice is what’s antiquated.  Peruvians, please do not commence a culture of death and discrimination. 

We started a Spanish language division of Save The 1 -- Salvar El 1 -- a few years ago because we saw how Latin America is being targeted by the abortion forces.  They are using the rape issue to try to legalize abortion – on demand for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy at taxpayer expense, just like they did in the United States.  We know how critical our stories are for impacting the culture because it is stories which pierce the heart in ways in which arguments cannot.

In the United States landmark Supreme Court decision of Roe vs Wade which legalized abortion across the U.S., the pregnant woman Norma McCorvey – called Jane Roe, was told by her attorneys to lie that she was gang-raped.  They said this would make her case stronger.  Many years later, she sought to have her own case overturned, feeling the weight of over one million abortions per year on her shoulders.  Nearly 60 million children have been killed in the womb based upon a lie of rape.  The abortion advocates know this and that’s why they exploit the violation of women to open the door for killing any and all unborn children.

As I speak globally, I tell people about the good people of Peru and how they fight like their own lives depend on it – how a year and a half ago, Peruvians successfully defeated the efforts to legalize abortion in cases of rape, and how one month later, they had 700,000 pro-life people attend their March for Life in Lima!  It took the U.S. 40 years of legalized abortion to finally have 700,000 attend our March for Life. 

Everyone I tell is amazed that Peru not only had that many people, but that they cared enough to show up to take a stand for the child conceived in rape.  Do you know how many people attended the March for Life in the U.S. when they began legalizing abortion in cases of rape across the southern states in the late 1960’s?  None!  There was no March for Life because scarcely anyone cared!  It wasn’t until abortion became legal for any reason that a March was organized.  Not so in Peru.  The people of Peru are very wise to be so vigilant now.

When I was asked to speak in Peru at the first ever international pro-life conference, I jumped at the opportunity to meet people who are truly my heroes and to be a source of information and encouragement.  Peru demonstrates to the world how to value all life.  They are the pro-life role models throughout the globe! 

Recently, the advocates for abortion have again introduced a bill in Peru’s legislature to legalize abortion in cases of rape.  The forces of death and destruction are not going away.  I urge the good people of Peru, do not relent!  Please, don’t let your nation turn into a killing field like the U.S., like Canada, like so much of Europe and Asia.  Don’t spill the blood of innocent Peruvian children on your land.  Continue protection without exception, from the moment of conception.

BIO:  Rebecca Kiessling is the founder and President of Save The 1.  She's a wife, mother, attorney,
international speaker, writer and activist.  She's spoken in legislatures around the world, including in Brazil, Chile, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Poland, Malta, Canada and the United States Congress, and many state legislatures. Rebecca has also worked on crafting and introducing legislation to protect rape victims and their children, including the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act and the Pregnant Rape Victims Act.  As an attorney, she's litigated numerous high-profile cases, on a pro bono basis, of international attention defending human life and rape victim mothers and their children.  She's also the co-founder of Embryo Defense.
Friday, November 17, 2017

From Victimhood to Motherhood, I Chose Joy, by Paula K. Peyton

During my pregnancy, I read stories of other women who had become pregnant by rape, sometimes twice daily.  Those stories were a source of hope and made me feel like I wasn't alone and reaffirmed that it was normal to love my child.  I'm writing my story now in the hope that other woman will know that they are not alone, but I also feel that I owe it to my son to advocate for babies like him.

Six years ago, through some friends who worked there, I took a volunteer position with Planned Parenthood as an outreach HIV tester and counselor, so I was out in the community and really never spent time at the clinic, except for the certification training.  Being in the abortion clinic made me uncomfortable to know that in another room down the hallway there is a baby dying.  I took the position because I wanted to help people know their status with HIV.

At that point in time, I described myself as “personally pro-life, but politically pro-choice.” I never would have encouraged someone to have an abortion, but I realize now that my silence on the issue of life had a real-life impact.  One day, when speaking to a rape victim who came to me for an HIV test and thought she might be pregnant, I was silent.  Years later, I knew I had been complicit in whatever occurred later when she followed up with clinic staff.  I used to think of her occasionally.  I knew what it was like to be raped because I had become a victim at the age of 16.  But I didn’t know what it was like -- as I used to think -- to “carry a rapist around inside of you.” 

Back then, even as someone who was “personally pro-life,” I thought it must be awful to be in such a position:  choose yourself and your sanity, or this child created in horror.  I would think, "How could anyone decide what to do there?"  In my mind, I certainly could understand someone making an appointment for an abortion.  The memory of that woman grieves me now, as I can see my own foolishness clearly.

This mind-clearing began in the summer of 2016 when I, as a single woman, unexpectedly got pregnant.  This reel of unfortunate events began with a guy and a stupid decision and ended with a miscarriage and heartbreak.  Few people in my life know about the baby I lost. I hid her away in my heart and tried to move on with my life, knowing that she was never meant to be.  After all, I have a diagnosed infertility problem.  Pregnancy was something I was supposed to work for and earn with years of doctors visits and prayer – in my mind anyway.  

Losing that baby, for a time, felt like payback for my prior involvement with Planned Parenthood and my ownership of a political position which championed the "right to choose."  

My family helped me have a tiny memorial service for the little girl I carry in my heart, and things started to click for me in my head.  If I believed my child’s life deserved to be memorialized even though she hadn’t taken a breath, didn’t all babies lost in the womb deserve the same?  And if I considered them to be living -- which would mean aborting them was a form of murder -- how could I remain complicit in the murder of babies?  

But what about those women who "NEEDED" to have abortions?  What about the women who shouldn’t be “forced to carry rapists’ babies,” who "definitely needed the procedure?" I had to table my thoughts and just be okay with it for their benefit.  Who better to speak for them than someone who had no idea what she was talking about?  I laugh at my ignorance-based arrogance now.

January 2017 rolled around, and I began my year with hopes of returning to college to finish my four-year degree in the fall.  I would spend the months in between trying to figure out if I wanted to prep for law school or try to pursue seminary education.  Yes, I have a faith background.  I made the decision to be baptized when I was 10, but I had always separated my religious beliefs from my politics.

I was getting to know a new guy who seemed nice enough.  It was going to be a productive year.  Halfway through January, I went out for a couple of drinks with a female friend on a Saturday.  We participated in a fundraiser to support native water rights activists, which involved making a donation to get Standing Rock tattoos.  With my arm covered in plastic wrap to protect the new ink as it began to heal, I stopped by this new guy’s apartment for a short visit.  He did what guys sometimes do – made a move.  My arm was hurting, and after my miscarriage, I had made a decision for purity and just did not want to go through that again.  So I declined his advances making it clear to him I wasn't interested in that and started toward the door to leave.  

I was completely shocked and frozen when his roommate came out from his bedroom with a gun in his hand and got between me and the door.  The guy I'd been with told me, "I don't think you're gonna leave right now."  I was terrified.  I thought, "This is it for me.  My life is going to end."  The whole time I was praying to God that I would live as the two of them raped me at gunpoint that night.  

When it was all over, the guy told me I could leave, and as I walked out, he said "Thanks for a great time."  In that moment, I felt like a huge piece of trash.  As I drove home, I got to the point where I didn't really feel much of anything, like I was merely existing and just numb. 

I went home and showered and showered and showered. I tried to call friends, but couldn't reach anyone and was not about to leave a message.  

At church that morning, I spoke to my priest who was very supportive of me as a rape victim.  But she actually took me to Walgreens to buy Plan B, which I never took because it wasn't something I was comfortable with.  I don't take birth control because I'm not comfortable with it.  I already knew Plan B  could have the effect of preventing implantation if an embryo was already created.  I was worried about STDs, and of course, I was concerned about pregnancy since I knew the timing and that I could be ovulating.  I'd had discussions with friends in the past about Plan B and we had talked about not knowing if you would have lost a baby or not, and I had already concluded that it would be horrible not knowing.

I guess I realized that what happened, happened, and that if I were pregnant, this was MY baby.  I don't know who my own biological father is, so to me, what's the difference?  Your genetic parents are not who define you and I already knew that.

Two weeks later, I found myself back in Walgreens, returning the Plan B, in exchange for pregnancy tests.  I'm sure the cashier was ready to Facebook that hilarious moment! 

“What if I’m pregnant?” I thought over and over.  Twenty minutes later, looking at a positive test in my bathroom, I was able to answer that question:  I was having a baby. . . .  And I was overflowing with joy!

In the days and weeks that followed, I slowly shared my news with my closest friends, and more often than not, they offered me pity-ridden faces and one question asked in a way that seemed as if they thought the answer was obvious: “What are you going to do?” I guess they assumed I’d respond with an appointment time, a clinic name, or some other portion of a carefully-arranged abortion plan.

“I’m choosing joy,” I’d say, and it would be instantly clear that my answer was the furthest thing from the one they were anticipating.  It seemed like everyone thought I was crazy, but nothing about wanting my child seemed strange to me.  They didn’t understand that the moment I had seen that positive pregnancy test, I realized just how faithful God is to us.

I felt so dead inside for the entirety of those two weeks between my victimhood and the discovery of my pending motherhood.  Everything I did in those two weeks seemed like an act of mourning.  Rape is devastating.  It’s the killing of one’s spirit in a deep, physical way. In contrast, pregnancy was such a revolutionary revival!  The Lord had taken one of the worst things in my life -- something so dark and damaging -- and He had created life.  After weeks of that darkness controlling everything I did, there was suddenly a light.

In a plot twist that the "old me" never saw coming, the only choice I -- as a pregnant rape victim -- needed to make was to embrace that light, and I did.  It took about a second and a half for my heart to fill with love for the little one growing underneath it – so much love that my heart couldn’t contain it all and it began spilling everywhere.  I smiled for the first time in two weeks, and I couldn’t stop.

Then the bleeding started. . . .

I was about 4.5 weeks pregnant and went to the bathroom at a friend’s birthday party only to discover blood.  My heart sank.  Was I having another miscarriage?  The bleeding wasn’t heavy.  I wasn’t cramping.  A quick google search from the bathroom led me to a hopeful place: sometimes this can happen and it’s not the end.  As the bleeding continued, I did a lot of praying while I waited for the day of my first ultrasound appointment to arrive.  At 6 weeks and 5 days, my little one had a heartbeat and my smile returned.

My gynecologist referred me to an obstetrician, and a week later I had another ultrasound at her office.  The bleeding had gotten heavier between the two appointments, but the baby was still okay.  My new OB told me that bleeding happens sometimes in the first trimester.  It’s not normal, but also not uncommon.  She said I shouldn’t worry unless it got heavier.  It did, time and time again.

Each time followed the same pattern: the discovery of extra heavy bleeding, tears, a call to the doctor, instructions to come in or (when outside of business hours) to go to the ER for an ultrasound -- a wait that was always too long, then a strong heartbeat, and a tearful prayer of thanksgiving.

I prayed every day for months that my child would survive.  All the while, I slowly informed a selection of people about my pregnancy.  One minute, I’d be begging God to protect my unborn child from death in the womb.  The next, I’d receive that question (“What are you going to do?”), followed soon after by the unwelcome advice to get an abortion "before it's too late."  Sometimes they’d offer to pay for it, as if finances could be the only reason I wasn’t killing my child.  The comments grew worse as the time passed:

“So you’re just going to give birth to the spawn of Satan? Abort it.”

“That thing is evil.”

“You should get rid of the devil baby.”

There are so many more, all permanently imprinted on my mind.  I cut quite a few people out of my life completely.  I had encountered enough pain during and immediately after my rape.  The pain of hearing their comments, some made even as late as 26 weeks (long after I was calling my son by his name), was too much to bear.  Having people tell me that my baby should be killed and comparing him to Satan was easily a thousand times worse than being raped.  My son had done nothing wrong!  How could he have?  He hadn’t even had the chance to draw a breath of air into his lungs!

Around the time I was 16-1/2 weeks, my OB had become more concerned about the constant bleeding since it could no longer be blamed on first trimester weirdness.  She did more tests and discovered that I had a particular sexually transmitted infection I contracted during the rape which hadn’t been covered by the preventative treatments I received in the days following the assault.  It had caused my cervix to become incredibly irritated and inflamed, and left untreated, it could lead to preterm labor and the death of a baby too small to survive outside the womb.  

The diagnosis took about a week, but the subsequent treatment didn’t quite rid my body of the infection.  It came roaring back, and the bleeding didn’t stop for good until a couple of days before I was 20 weeks pregnant, after two more rounds of pills.  Peace was short-lived because, at 20 weeks to the day, I got a stomach virus which landed me in the hospital for severe dehydration. Yet, somehow, my son's strong heartbeat prevailed.

Through all the terrifying moments, I was almost completely alone because too many people just didn’t understand how I could let this child continue to live, grow, and bounce around in my belly.  Pregnancy is hard, but it’s definitely harder when your friends listen to the culture surrounding us and don’t value life.

My son's movements got stronger, and I began to feel hiccups and turns.  Before long, I was 39 weeks and checking in to be induced at the hospital.  I didn’t accept offers for an epidural.  The nurses kept telling me I was “such a rockstar” for dealing with Pitocin contractions without pain medication.  

The truth is, no contraction is ever as painful as the experience of people telling me how much they hated my perfect and innocent son before he was born.  They thought I’d see my rapist in my son.  I didn't and I don’t. (He actually looks exactly like I did at his age.)  They thought I wouldn’t be able to love him.  I absolutely do! They thought temporary financial hardship was too much to handle.  It isn’t.  They thought he’d be born evil.  No baby has ever given a mama as much joy as he has brought into my life.

Every single one of these reasons is one that was used to justify targeting and killing him because people see him as having originated differently than others.  My son was conceived in rape, but his life -- like that of every other human being -- began with God.  And like any other baby, people fall in love with him easily -- including some of the people who offered to pay a doctor to kill him.  He shows people how wrong they were every single day.  

That list includes his mama because I once thought the same way.

My son, Caleb Ehren Matthew, whose name means whole-hearted, honorable gift of God, is sun-shiny days and magic wands and a deep breath of mountain air.  He is joy after and in the midst of mourning.  He is light -- so much light.

I recently read this quote often misattributed to Plato but of unknown authorship: “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

That’s the one thing I pray Caleb’s life can teach others:  there’s no reason to fear the blessing of light, even and especially when it comes in the form of a child.

BIO:  Paula K. Peyton is a writer, mother to Caleb and now a pro-life blogger for Save The 1.  She resides in Memphis, TN.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

They Say 'Except in Cases' Like My Son, by Rose Duncan

I had my son, Daniel, when I was 16 years old.  There have been challenges, but he has been my saving grace.  Now, at age 6, he is a fantastic student, a loving big brother, and a wonderful son.  He has been a huge blessing in my life, as well as the lives of our family members. My son has more love surrounding him than he knows what to do with.  He is truly a beautiful, blessed child.   And . . ., my son was conceived in rape.

I lived with a family member and my mother as a young teenager. This family member began dating a man much younger than her, who would ultimately turn my world upside down for the worst, yet at the same time, I ended up with the biggest blessing of my life.  This 33-year-old man moved in with us shortly after they began dating.  At first, he was kind of like a cool uncle.  But now I realize that, from the time this man moved in, he had begun grooming me. 
He would advocate on my behalf to convince the adults in the house to allow me to do things with friends, so I felt like he was in my corner.  On one occasion, he told the family he was taking me to see a pastor for counseling, but instead, he surprised me by taking me to dinner and to the movies.  He also began to sneak alcohol to me and my friends. I needed new underwear, and he took me to buy some, which included thongs. 

After this happened, I asked a friend if that was normal, and she said no not at all, but this type of distorted and perverted relationship was all I knew.  I had no idea of the manipulation that was going on. He encouraged me to skip school and hang out with him at home after everyone left for work. And, he did the same in a way, by pretending he worked night shifts, but he would leave for work and sneak back in the house and hang out with me watching movies.
Eventually, he began initiating physical contact.  At first, I didn’t know what to make of it.  I thought that just maybe, some people have this way of showing care for someone with a quick peck on the lips.  I looked up to him, and I wanted to make him happy, even though I told him to stop and I knew it was wrong.  But he was a lot bigger than me and I felt helpless.  I tried pushing him off each time, but I knew physically I couldn’t stop him. 

I felt terrible.  I just felt terrible.  He kept saying it was all okay.  I had already been sexually assaulted previously, and I had a sense of what was supposed to be normal, but these experiences distorted my concepts of safe relationships.

For a year between the ages of 14 and 15, I was sexually and physically abused by this man.  He told me that if I ever got pregnant, I would have to have an abortion.  My whole life, I’ve always been 100% pro-life.  I’ve always just had a strong conviction that abortion is wrong, no matter what.  So, when he said this to me, I didn’t argue, but I knew it would never happen if I were to get pregnant.  He told me he had a vasectomy anyway, so I really didn’t think it could happen. Of course, now, I see the inconsistency in what he was saying, but at the time I was 14 and had no frame of reference for sorting through all of this.
When I was 15, I found out I was pregnant.  It was kind of odd, because he just said to me one day, “You need to take a pregnancy test.”  He was with me when I took it. When I saw the positive, I just began to sob.  He hugged me and said, “It’s going to be okay,” but I knew it was not. 
I knew I was going to have to tell my mom.  I sat down on her bed, and I told her I was pregnant and, of course, she wanted to know by who?  I told her it was some random 20-year-old guy.  She was furious and right away told me we were going to go to the police and said “He’s going to pay for this.”  It broke my heart knowing that if she had known the truth then, she would have been even more heartbroken.
We made an appointment with my pediatrician, about five days later.  My rapist drove me and my mom.  I wanted to get pre-natal vitamins and see how my baby was doing, to make sure I had a healthy pregnancy.  I was about eight weeks pregnant and everything looked normal.
When we got in the car after the appointment, he pressured me greatly. He said that I "was not going to have this baby.”  I was hard-headed and stubborn as always, and said "Yes, I am," but inside, I was terrified.  I didn’t want him to do anything to hurt my baby. 
Although he was still pressuring me to abort, oddly enough, he was otherwise very nice to me, and very accommodating.  However, the morning after the doctor’s appointment, the police came to our house, banging on the door.  He hid in the attic, and the entrance was in my room where I was sleeping.  I awoke to guns in my face and the police asking me where he was.  They eventually dragged him out of the house, putting him in handcuffs.  It turns out, he was wanted for felony charges of assault and kidnapping of a girlfriend he had a few years ago.
Once he was gone, I felt relief knowing I wouldn’t be subjected to assault and abuse, and I knew I would have some time to think. That momentary relief was ripped away when I overheard a conversation between family members discussing all his violent history, and I was afraid he would come for me and my baby when he was released from prison.
About a week later, he wrote to us saying he was getting out in about 10 days.  He wrote to me, “Don’t believe things you hear about me.  Remember what we talked about and what you need to do.”  That’s when I spoke with a family friend, and we decided to tell my mom, together, that he is the one who is the father of my baby. That was one of the most painful conversations I have had, but it needed to be done for mine and my baby’s protection.  My mom was heartbroken and sobbed and sobbed.
We went to the police and filed a report.  He was released from prison on the prior conviction of assault when my son was six months old.  It wasn’t until my son was eight months old that they finally did a DNA test, which took four months to come back.  In the meantime, he was harassing me, driving by my house, etc..
He ultimately got a plea deal and was convicted of criminal sexual assault with a minor and sentenced to three years for raping me, but got timed-served for the prior assault.  Thank goodness, he’s on the sex offender registry in South Carolina.
Although this was a lot to endure, getting pregnant is what really got me right with God.  Don’t get me wrong -- I was devastated, because I anticipated that this would be a long, heart-breaking road raising this child.  
With the pressure to abort from not just family, but friends as well, I remember sitting outside on the back patio, and for the first time in my life, I heard God truly speak to me.  He told me that I was to raise this child, and not to worry, because He would take care of everything. 
From that moment on, I had a steely determination when it came to my pregnancy and my baby.  I told anyone who doubted, that I could do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  I didn’t even know exactly what that meant at the time, but I knew in my spirit it was true.  
As He always does, God provided.  I had everything I needed for my son, mainly through donations through church and from friends around me.  I was so blessed to have an abundance of support and love for me and this child. 
I’m not going to lie -- I was a fantastic mother to my son, even at 16!  I wasn’t what people think of as the stereotypical teen mom who supposedly leaves her child with grandma to do whatever, and the grandparents raise the child.  I took care of him, I breastfeed him for 2-1/2 years, I read him books, played with him, sang him nursery rhymes.  I loved being a mom!  I had the support of my amazing mother who I lived with, which greatly helped.  I also had the support of my church and extended family.  I took care of my son full time.  I taught him sign language, read and sang to him every day, and loved him unconditionally. 
Now, six years later, I am married to the most wonderful man in the world, who loves my son as if he were his own blood and we are in the process of my husband adopting him.  My son is a truly wonderful, outgoing, sweet, beautiful child.  I see him growing into an amazing man of God who will move mountains.
My beautiful son is why, when I hear about “pro-life” beliefs, “except in the cases of rape,” I do more than cringe:  my heart aches!
“Except of course in the case of”... my son -- my firstborn child, who is a wonderful and amazing person.  They say except in the cases like him, in cases like my son, the baby should never even have had a chance to live.
Regardless of your preconceived notions, please understand every single life has meaning.  Through no circumstance should a child ever not get a chance to live and thrive in this world.  Every child has a right to life. 
According to statistics, less than 1% of abortions performed in the U.S. are the result of rape.  Those 1% matter.  My baby boy, the 1% matters!  It’s insulting and very hurtful to me.  It’s like a stab.  How can you think it was just a   decision and that my child shouldn’t even be here if my rapist had succeeded in pressuring me?  The law should protect my son and children like him. 
We must stop looking at the circumstance, and start looking at the life.  Regardless of conception, developmental impairments, or the circumstances the mother is in, every single child deserves their right to life. 
I truly believe my son will make a difference in the world, and he has most certainly left a positive impact on our family and all our friends.  He is a light and a beautiful soul. 
I am a mother of three, but I only have two on this earth.  After long awaiting, planning and excitement, I unexpectedly lost my sweet daughter, Savannah, at 40 weeks gestation.  After a perfectly healthy pregnancy, she was stillborn with the cord wrapped around her neck several times. It showed me again how precious life is and how fleeting.  You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. 
A few weeks later, we unexpectedly welcomed our foster daughter who was almost two years old, and her life is precious too. 
There are so many who desperately want to be parents, to be a mommy or a daddy.  There are so many people longing for a baby in their life, myself included.  We cannot disregard life, just based on how the life began. 
Despite how a life begins, that child’s life can truly turn into something beautiful.  My son is a testimony of that.  Even in the bleakest moments, there is always hope.  We need to change our mindset of fear to a mindset of hope -- that every baby deserves a chance, even in cases of rape.  Every child is a true blessing from God, and deserves to have a chance for a beautiful life.  It is up to us to save the 1%.

BIO:  Rose Duncan is a wife, a stay-at-home mom and student, and resides in South Carolina where she hopes to make a difference to end the rape exception in her home state.  She’s now a pro-life blogger for Save The 1.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

He Is MY Baby --The Child of a Rape Victim, and My Little Hero, by Kelly Dautel

This is something that has annoyed and angered me:  "I'm pro-life except in cases of rape." I can't stand it.  And the same old cliched, "It's still a baby" response either. To get to my point, I'm going to go a little off point.
I like Doctor Who. I watch it completely out of order and rewatch different episodes willy-nilly. One of those is "The Long Game" and in it the "Editor" has effectively kept the entire human population as unwitting slaves, and he says how easy it was by saying "It's just a matter of emphasis. The right word in the right broadcast repeated often enough can destabilize an economy, invent an enemy, change a vote."  And this is what the term "rapist's baby" is.
We all know the many factors of abortion, and those for and against, and this isn't the debate I'm bringing today.  My focus is on the victims of rape.  Now, the argument often said is, "they should be able to choose whether they want to carry a rapist's baby."  Do you hear it though?  The contempt?  The swaying of the mind?  Despite what the words are supposed to mean, the entrant, because of that phrase -- "rapist's baby" -- changes the entire meaning. 
Rape is a horrible act against a person, and when a woman becomes pregnant, a lot of assumptions enter the picture -- a lot of cruel and hurtful assumptions.  First, let's get a full view of what is said about pregnant victims of rape: "A woman shouldn't be forced to carry a child she doesn't want.  She didn't ask to be raped.  She shouldn't be victimized by having to carry a rapist's baby, or having to raise a constant reminder of her rape.  We need to think about the woman, and her mental state.  It would be too difficult for her to raise that child on her own, and have to go through nine months and labor to bring something into the world she can't take care of, that would cause her so much pain is horrible."
This is something I hear all the time, and it sounds plausible.  A lot of people agree and it could be easy to think, "Who wouldn't?"  Why cause a woman immeasurable pain?  Well, let's look at the truth. The entire basis is on that idea that the child is the unholy seed of a rapist.  But we are forgetting something: that child has two genetic parents.  And the raped woman is now a mother.  We are talking about the child of a rape victim, but making it sound okay to kill him or her because he or she is also the child of a rapist -- because of DNA.
At the same time, we are devaluing the rape victim -- that she can't be a mother.  We have made it clear that she is now damaged from the rape, she is mentally unstable and unable to take care of herself or a child -- that she just can't.  And that is a lie straight from Hell.
It isn't a matter of choice, it's a matter of perception.  You are telling a woman that, because someone raped her, she can't be a mother.  Because someone raped her, she can't seek counseling -- she now has to bottle it down and pretend it didn't happen.  Because someone raped her, she has to forget it, or else she can't go on. This isn't healthy at all. 
As a victim of rape, I am telling you the pregnant rape victim needs to be encouraged, she needs to seek help for her depression and anxiety and possible PTSD. Instead of ignoring what happened, she needs to be welcome to accept it, to report it, to understand that she is not defined by it, and that she can live her life without fear.
I say this for one simple reason:  I was raped. I lived a horrible life of abuse and trauma, far too much to explain it all here.  I was a broken little girl, with no way to take care of myself and no desire to do so. I was molested for the first time at the age of 6 and it continued for years by my father, my brother, one of my father's friends, a boyfriend in middle school, and strangers. Additionally, I was in a violent relationship which ended with me needing surgery to put my eye back in the socket, with a new eye socket having to be grafted onto my skull because mine was too shattered to be repaired. 
To make a long story short, after all the many times I had been raped, after all the years of abuse, I sat on a hospital bed and was told I was pregnant. I didn't have a real job, I didn't have a car, I didn't even have a driver's license yet.  I was anorexic, going days without eating or just eating one meal.  I was a recovering cutter, and had suicidal thoughts. I didn't have my own home, or anything. I had tried to apply for college, but I couldn't qualify for financial aid because I was a minor, and they would have to go based on my father's income, despite the fact I didn't live with him, and he didn't support me at all. I couldn't take care of myself, I didn't WANT to take care of myself, I just wanted my pain to stop, and wanted to die but was too much of a coward to kill myself. And now I was pregnant. 
This is when I began hearing two very different stories about myself and my unborn child. The loudest being that I was broken, I was worthless, I couldn't raise this child, it would destroy me.  And that it was my choice, and it would be best for me to kill my baby. 
The other narrative I heard was that I was valuable, that I didn't deserve what happened to me, that I can do what I set my eyes on, and if that included being a mother then, yes, I CAN.  I heard these words from my preacher, from my doctor, from my therapist, and from my few friends and family. While the world screamed that I was a wreck and this baby was going to be a burden, those I trusted most said I can, and that this baby was a blessing.
I saw my child as just that:  MY child. I got into college, for MY child. I began eating right and had a nutritionist help me overcome my anorexia, for MY child. I reported and followed with the District Attorney in the charges filed against the rapist, for MY child. I was in therapy, parenting classes, and worked hard to be a better person, for MY child. I didn't decide to save my son's life from abortion -- my son saved MY life. Because when I was told I was pregnant back in that hospital room, I was told I was carrying MY child.
Words are so powerful, and my son is not a rapist's baby, he is MY baby, the child of a rape victim, and my little hero.  My son showed me what unconditional love is, what family is supposed to be like, and what it feels like to have someone say "I love you" and truly mean it with no strings attached, and even more what it feels like to be the one to say "I love you" and know I would walk on broken glass for him -- for MY son.
I am posting this and encouraging everyone who reads it to stop giving the enemy fuel, stop calling these precious children what they aren't and call them what they are: joint victims of crime, not cases of rape.  Call them the children of rape victims, not the children of rapists. Tell a rape victim she can, she has immeasurable worth, and she can overcome anything. The pain, the guilt, the sleepless nights, may never go away entirely but they will be lessened. Just like me, these women will get through this, they will get better, they can take care of themselves and be a mother. Tell a woman she can raise her own child!


BIO:  Kelly Dautel resides in South Carolina with her husband Steven and three children, plus she's a mother to a precious one in Heaven who she lost through miscarriage. Kelly is a pro-life blogger for Save The 1.
Monday, October 30, 2017

When I Look at My Son, I Have Never Thought of Him as Being Born From Rape, by Alisha Weiler

I'm finally ready to tell my story about having become pregnant by rape because the more of us that tell our stories, the better chance we have of being heard.  This is hard for me, but we have to start somewhere first.
 
When I was 18, I was supposed to go on a double blind date with my best friend (who was pregnant at the time) and her boyfriend.  We were supposed to meet at the bowling alley, but supposedly my blind date’s truck didn't work and he was at his step-father’s bar, so we met there.  We drank quite a bit -- not my friend who was pregnant, but her boyfriend, me and my blind date.  I had never really drank before, so I was certainly naïve.  My blind date kept serving up shots of Tequila.  I know I was under the legal age to drink, and should have known better. . . .

I ended up really sick, throwing up on the bathroom floor, and was carried out by my blind date.  I remember being put in my friend’s boyfriend’s car.  I passed out, and then I woke up as I was being pulled out and carried to my blind date’s apartment.  There was only a couch and no lights. I thought that was odd.  My blind date put me on the floor in a room and I passed out again.  I woke up naked and in pain, with him on top of me.  I was groggy, but I knew what he was trying to do and told him “No!” and managed to roll over, but he continued his efforts of forcing himself on me, and I began screaming.  I couldn’t understand why my friend and her boyfriend had left me alone and why nobody responded to my screams.

After he raped me, he left the room, and I remember finding a pair of pants nearby and putting them on.  I just sat there, my knees to chest, head down in my arms, rocking back and forth crying and confused.  After a few minutes, he came back in the room and attempted raping me again.  He grabbed my arms and tried to push me back, but I fought hard.  He got angry and left, slamming the door behind him.

I quickly got up and opened the door and yelled for my friend because I was afraid he would come back again. She was in the next room crying.  I told her what happened and she told me he attempted to rape her too, and that her boyfriend and my blind date had planned the whole thing.  He didn't rape her, but he tried,  and they had a massive struggle which ultimately resulted in her losing her baby hours later.
 
Her boyfriend wasn't in the room with her at the time I walked in, and I don't know where they were, but eventually they came back in and her boyfriend decided to take us home.  

He dropped us off at about 3:00 a.m. on a road close by her house and made us walk home from there.  Her boyfriend told me that the guy who raped me said to tell me, whatever he did to me, he's sorry.  

The next morning, my friend lost her baby. I was too ashamed to tell my parents or anybody that I’d been raped.  

Eight weeks later, I found out I was pregnant.  When the nurses and doctors heard that I was pregnant by rape, they tried to convince me that aborting my baby or adopting my baby out would be the best thing for my baby.  I was in disbelief!  I was just traumatized, and now they want to do that again?  More violence, more trauma?  Why would I kill an innocent child?  Why would God give me a gift so I can say, “No, I don't want what you just gave to me,” and throw it right back at God like a piece of trash?  My child is human and he deserves to live!

My parents found out I was raped and pregnant when they overheard me tell a friend on the phone.  Of course, they were upset that two months had gone by and I had not told them, but they were extremely supportive of me and my baby. They had raised me to be pro-life, and I knew it was never okay to kill a baby.

Once my parents knew about the rape, we proceeded to report it, as well as my girlfriend reporting her attempted rape and loss of her unborn child.  We both got restraining orders against him.  This was all in Florida.  My parents moved us to Texas when my son was four months old, and the wheels of justice were turning slowly. 

My biggest concern was making sure he could not have parental rights to my child.  At the time, Florida law did not protect me and my son.  However, a few years ago, the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act was passed in Florida to terminate the parental rights of rapists.  So, in order of us to be protected from the rapist, when my son was about six months old, a deal was made through his lawyer that he would agree to the termination of his parental rights in exchange for me dropping the charges against him. 

I felt guilty for not going through with the charges because he could just do the same thing to someone else, but my ultimate goal at this point was to protect myself and my son.  It was very difficult dealing with the whole situation and even just the thought of returning to Florida and seeing him again in court.

When I look at my son, I have never thought of him as being born from rape.  Life has
been good for me and my son.  He's smart and gets great grades.  He's in the 7th grade now.  He knows what happened and he's so thankful to be alive.  He will one day grow up and get married and have children and grandchildren.  My son deserved his right to life. 

He knows that people think that if a child is born from a rape, then that child should be aborted.  He told me that he’s glad I didn’t abort him and that he’s happy to be alive. My son still has not told anyone his story himself.  I’m sure he doesn’t want to be ridiculed for it.

I’ve told him that it can be a cold, hard world, but I am sharing my story now because people need to be aware that these babies don’t deserve to die for someone else’s crime.  I’d like to get the message across that there are more women like me who love our children who were conceived in rape, and like my son, who deserve to live – and without shame to them.  

Why would people think it's okay to take that right to life away?  It's time to speak out and up for these babies who should never be denied life!

For many years, I felt like I must be the only one who was raped and is raising her child.  I can't even describe how it felt to be so alone in this. But now, through Save The 1, I have met dozens of other mothers.  I want other women to know that there are others of us and we understand. 



BIO:  Alisha Weiler works in child care, is a mother of two, and resides in Florida.  She is now a pro-life blogger for Save The 1 and is available for speaking in Florida.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

I didn't become pregnant after rape, but my wife did. ..and I have an opinion by Jeff Christie (husband of Jennifer Christie)




I understand what women mean when they say that men don’t have as much of a right to talk about abortion after rape as it doesn’t have anything to do with them. That statement has some truth to it. Sometimes. But when it happened to my bride of 22 years, when she was raped, I was deeply affected. Our amazing 3-year-old was conceived on that horrific day. He is a gift that helped us both recover.


I’ve read the comments. I’ve heard the opinions. I agree that you don’t know what you’ll think or feel in such a situation unless it happens to you. That’s a terrible, stark reality and one I live with. I know that I can’t take away the trauma that my wife went through no matter how much I try. I recognize that I can’t and won't ever comprehend the depth of her pain.
She also won't understand mine. I’m supposed to be her protector. I’m the one who stood in front of our families and friends and, along with "for better, for worse...", silently vowed to make sure her heart and body stay safe. So where was I when she needed me the most? I live with constant “what-ifs” and “Why didn’t I” thoughts. 


I saw, before anyone else could, that the woman I knew from the time she was a bubbly, outgoing 14 year old whose quick wit made everybody laugh, that she was never going to be the same. I also recognized that our son had nothing to do with the horror she went through. I knew she would never forget what was done to her, regardless of whether he existed or not. It’s ignorant arrogance that brings about comments like “With a child, a victim of rape has to live with that reminder every day of what that monster did to her.” She doesn’t need a reminder. That kind of violation is forever imprinted in her memory.


What are children conceived in rape if not these terrible “reminders”? I can tell you from personal experience.
They are chances at redemption. They are opportunities for healing and a way to find meaning from nightmarish, meaningless actions. Isaiah 61:3 says that He provides those who mourn with “…beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”


My wife likes to say that our son gave her hope. A purpose. I SAW that spark light up in her heart, and I knew then that without having a purpose come from all the violence, without another soul to protect and nurture, she would forever feel alone in her victimhood. She might always wonder why this happened to her, a loving child of God. This evil rapist left behind two victims: The woman he violated, and the life that began with his heinous actions.


Full disclosure: I, too, began to heal with the news of our son’s conception. (I did say our son. My beloved and I are one. If she is pregnant, then WE are having a baby.) I spent the first few weeks after the rape, while being the bastion of strength and solidity that my bride needed, slamming my fists into the wall in the shower. In two decades of marriage, I hadn't ever questioned my effectiveness as her knight and protector. I was in anguish,not able to see past the pain that I couldn't help but feel responsible for...turmoil over what I couldn't protect her from. I am in no way trying to compare my experience with her torment, her loss of self, but I would be remiss to not speak up on behalf of men who have been tangentially impacted by sexual assault through a woman they love. We are wounded. The collateral damage is great. 


But the child..
He heals. He teaches. He encourages us. He forces us to focus on something outside of ourselves. He is an opportunity for us as parents to bring another loving, compassionate soul into the world. He is a blank slate, and the wonderful and humbling burden for his impact on the world is on us. He’s not our only child. He’s the youngest of five. Just like the others, he was placed in our lives by a God who entrusted all of them to our care. As with all our children, our love for him started the moment we knew he existed. We welcomed him into our fold with the same devotion and reverence as his brothers and sister. They all love each other-usually-as siblings, and none of them consider him different or lesser, they are all equal partners in their mission to survive our parenting . They know how he came about but it's evident that they just don’t think about it when they look at him. This child-like acceptance that their brother is just here in the world and he is innocent of how, encourages us as parents. Our kids have reinforced the mindset that a child’s life and impact start at conception-not a second sooner.


To the women who have aborted after rape, I tell you unequivocally that we cast no judgment. We understand more than most that the decision you are faced with in the early months after such a trauma, when you are still trying to make sense of the world, is overwhelming. The pressure to feel animosity towards the child you’re carrying is horrendous. We lived through that. We know how the future can feel so unstable that you want more than anything to reduce the turmoil in your head in any way that you can. In our case there really was no decision. Without discussion we knew we'd honor God and our beliefs and protect this little soul from harm. You may not have had such support. All we offer is the knowledge that God forgives and allows us to learn. It’s the beauty of human experience that we can continue to make changes throughout our lives. He can make us new. All we have to do is ask.


To those who have been assaulted and find yourself in the position of carrying new life, we offer comfort & support. Prayers and love. Reach out to us. We know that you will not forget, but over time you will heal. My wife likes to say ,“There is no going back, but there is moving forward.” There is acceptance of a new reality and learning how to live every day. I stress the fact that the person growing inside of you is unique. You are not alone. Yes, your life is different now, but that normalcy was stripped away by your assailant, not the child now growing inside of you. That child is also a victim of evil intentions. In almost 4 years, my wife’s body has not completely healed from the attack. You,too, may have long-lasting physical and emotional scars. A woman’s body should never suffer that kind of violation. But when you get down to the basics, that body WAS miraculously designed to protect and grow life.


What happens after birth is completely up to you; there are always options. ALWAYS people to help.  


I finish with a tribute to my amazing wife and the incredible women she has found along her journey since we began sharing this part of our life. True heroines. Hearing their inspiring stories of grit and courage always leave me speechless. I have to shake my head when I hear people say that not all women are strong enough to carry a child in this circumstance or after that trauma. I don’t agree.  I’ve seen my wife give birth five times. I’ve watched her hold her head high in situations that would make iron men crumble. The strength of women should never be underestimated. 


I didn't become pregnant after rape.. but my wife did. My life also changed forever that day. So don't tell me my opinion doesn't matter. It does. Don't tell me I can't argue for life in the womb. I will. And please don't tell me I have no idea what a woman goes through.
Because I do.