The Rape Exception

Many debates about the morality and legality of abortion focus on abortion in cases of rape. While roughly 99% of abortions are performed on pregnancies resulting from consensual sex, abortion in cases of rape obviously involves even more extreme emotional, psychological, moral, and legal factors than most circumstances surrounding abortion.  These circumstances warrant their own discussion.


The pro-life movement is divided on the issue, with 59% of self-described pro-lifers stating abortion should be legal in cases of rape.  


Some pro-lifers argue that the circumstances surrounding conception are irrelevant to the moral value of the fetus and that abortion should still be illegal in these cases.  Other pro-lifers argue that the moral value of the fetus is not the only relevant factor in abortion; factors such as bodily integrity and moral responsibility are very different for cases of rape, meaning abortion should be legal in these cases. 


Secular Pro-Life includes leadership and members of both mindsets. Read more about the different facets of this debate in the Related Articles box at right.


To learn more about issues of rape and sexual assault, see the links below:


Giving Birth to a "Rapist's Child" - analysis of the legal issues for women who become mothers through rape.

Start By Believing - public education campaign about responding to sexual assault.

National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey - 2010 CDC survey on rates of sexual violence.

RAINN - Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.

How rape survivors who conceive are re-victimized - All Our Lives blog post


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