What should a woman do who is raped and becomes pregnant?

man in shadow

This paper was generated by an email from a woman who was raped, became pregnant, and bore the child. I have reproduced part of her email along with my email response.  Further comments follow.


Her email:

"I was raped 7 years ago. I now have a daughter from it. We both nearly died at her birth. I don't cope well at all with it and this will I am sure have a negative affect on her.  I wanted to ask you some questions. 1) Why did this all have to happen? I'm an agnostic. Do I therefore deserve such punishment?  2) Why must my little girl suffer? If all this has happened because of me then why must she suffer as well?   Does your god not recognize her pain?  3) Why is it that my rapist's life seems so blessed. He is now married, well-off and secure and can conceal his crime. Is God on his side? It feels like it."

My email response:

"First of all, thank you very much for writing me.  I deeply feel for you about this. I do not blame you for the effect it has had on you. It was wrong, very wrong what happened to you.  I wish I could answer with great wisdom, but I do not know why it happened. As a Christian who likes to answer difficult questions, I have little to offer. Sorry. But, sin is in the world and it rears its ugly head against everyone. I, myself, lost my son to a birth defect. He died in the arms of my wife and I. All I can say is that even though we did not understand why it happened, we kept our eyes on the Lord and were comforted by Him throughout the experience.

"I am not trying to make light of your situation. But, the truth is that I cannot give you any definitive answer except to say that the one who did this to you will suffer eternal consequences on judgment day.

"Yes, God recognizes pain. He knows it well since He came and died on the cross for us and suffered great pain on our behalf that we might be able to be free from the bondage of sin.

"I am married and I have thought about what I would do if my wife were raped and she got pregnant.  First of all, I would insist that the child become legally mine. I would love my wife and that child and consider the child as my own. I would raise that child with all the love I would give my own natural children. Why? Because it isn't the child's fault that my wife was raped. The child doesn't know the why's and how's.  The child only knows that he/she needs to be loved and be safe in the arms of loving parents. Why should I make the child pay for the sins of another? Why should I make the child any less important or loved than my natural children?

"Even though the child's arrival would be by pain and anguish (in more ways than one), I would extend the same love to that child as the Lord has extended it to me. He owes me nothing and has graciously saved me from my sins so that I can dwell with Him. Should I not do the same for others -- especially the innocent children?

"As far as God being on his side and not yours, that is not the case. The Bible (in Psalms) talks about injustice here on earth. The Psalmist asks God why the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer. God answers and says that in this life, the wicked may succeed, but their end is destruction.  He tells us to be patient.  It will all turn out right in the end, on Judgment Day.  In the meantime, God is gracious, even to the wicked. He lets them live, enjoy families, health, etc.  But, during their lives they are told the gospel many times so that they might repent of their sins and come to faith in Christ -- something we all need.  Should they not repent, they will be damned.  So, God is gracious to them letting them live in hopes of their conversion.  Sometimes, however, He allows them to be punished by going to jail.  Either way, they will get what is coming to them.

"I wish I could give you words of great comfort. The best I can do is tell you that Jesus is real and that He can comfort you in ways I never could. He can cleanse your heart and fill you with His love that will spill over to your child. All you need to do is trust Him as God, as the one who cleanses from sin. Throw yourself at Him. Give Him your heart, your anger, your helplessness, your questions, and trust Him.  I know it is hard.  But it is right.

"I know you're agnostic and I am not trying to preach at you. But, I too was agnostic and know the difference of life with Christ verses my old agnosticism.  In a world without easy answers to tough questions, sometimes the best answer is forgiveness and love.  You can't find that outside of the one who created forgiveness and love.

"Also, and I mean this sincerely, if you'd like to talk on the phone about this, I'd be happy to do that. I wouldn't preach at you or condemn you, but I can answer questions... if not this one."


It is unfortunate that this woman was raped and became pregnant.  Many people at this point would simply move to kill the child in them.  But this only compounds the problem by adding killing to the rape.  When an egg and sperm unite, life is continued, not created.  Both the egg and sperm are already alive.  Their union simply completes their purpose and the result is a new human life; after all, the fertilized egg is alive and its nature is human.  Therefore, it is a human life.  This new life exists irrespective of whether it was produced through rape or a loving union between husband and wife.  The life in the womb simply needs the same love as any other new baby would.

Of course, it is easy to write a paper encouraging a woman impregnated by rape to keep her baby and raise the child all the while incurring financial, emotional, and physical difficulties.  I wouldn't be the one going through the difficulties.  That's true, but regardless of that fact, the truth is that killing a child in the womb because of rape is just as wrong as the rape.  Besides, doesn't the cost of having and loving children cause difficulties to arise?  Of course.  But these difficulties do not negate the fact that the new life deserves love and comfort and has the right to live.  It is wrong to simply kill the child because it was conceived by rape.  It isn't the child's fault.