Don’t get Matthew Warner wrong. According to him, supporting any type of exception allowing abortions means you are “just a pickier, more measured pro-abortionist.” But what really makes him confused is how you can support an exception for incest. After all, if it’s rape, it’s covered, but shouldn’t “consensual incest” mean you have to carry a pregnancy to term?
First, if incest occurs as a result of rape, then the abortion exception we’re talking about is really about the rape part (already covered above). But if the incest is just incest (and not rape), why is it that we should allow the parents to abort their baby? I’d like to hear somebody defend this.
Of course, if anti-choice politicians hadn’t been so busy trying to redefine rape to explicitly mean the forceful assault of a victim in which she physically fought back, we wouldn’t need to worry about whether incest is occurring “as a result of rape” or not. The fact is that the vast majority of incest cases involve females who are not yet adults, and who are being taken advantage of by someone she sees as an authority figure. Even if they believe they are in a “consensual” relationship, can they be? Via the Network of Victim Assistance:
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Victims of incest are often extremely reluctant to reveal that they are being abused because their abuser is a person in a position of trust and authority for the victim. Often the incest victim does not understand — or they deny — that anything is wrong with the behavior they are encountering (Vanderbilt, 1992). Many young incest victims accept and believe the perpetrator’s explanation that this is a “learning experience” that happens in every family by an older family member. Incest victims may fear they will be disbelieved, blamed or punished if they report their abuse.
Even the most adamant of the anti-choice leaders, such as Dr.. John “rape victims don’t get pregnant” Willke, who argue against incest victims being allowed abortions are completely clear incest is sexual abuse, not a consensual act.
What of incest?
Incest is intercourse by a father with his daughter, uncle with niece, etc. It usually involves a sick man, often a sick mother who frequently knows it’s happening (even if not consciously admitting it), and an exploited child. Fortunately, pregnancy is not very common. When incest does occur, however, it is seldom reported and, when reported, is hard to prove.
Most pregnancies from incest have a very different dynamic than from rape and must be counseled in a very different manner.
Even strongly pro-abortion people, if they approach an incest case professionally, must be absolutely convinced before advising abortion, for abortion is not only is an assault on the young mother, who may well be pregnant with a “love object,” but it may completely fail to solve the original problem. It is also unusual for wisdom to dictate anything but adoptive placement of the baby.
When pregnancy does occur, it is often an attempt to end the relationship. In a twisted sort of way, however, the father is a love object. In one study, only 3 of 13 child-mothers had any negative feelings toward him. H. Maisch, Incest, New York: Stein & Day Publishers, 1972
In incest, is pregnancy common?
No. “Considering the prevalence of teenage pregnancies in general, incest treatment programs marvel at the low incidence of pregnancy from incest.” Several reports agree at 1% or less. G. Maloof, “The Consequences of Incest,” The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, University Publications of Amer., 1979, p. 74 245
How does the incest victim feel about being pregnant?
For her, it is a way to stop the incest; a way to unite mother and daughter, a way to get out of the house. Most incestuous pregnancies, if not pressured, will not get abortions. “As socially inappropriate as incest and incestuous pregnancies are, their harmful effects depend largely upon reaction of others.” G. Maloof, “The Consequences of Incest,” The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, University Publications of Amer., 1979, p. 100
Warner may believe that “relationship between two close relatives… have occurred throughout history (including biblically) under all kinds of circumstances,” but when it comes to incest, perhaps he should avoid using the Bible as his handbook.