A teenager who decided to keep her baby after being raped has chosen to make a stand against abortion at a pro-life rally this year.
Ashley, a 15-year-old girl who was raped when she was 13, will attend a ‘March for Life’ run by US organisation Living Exceptions.
Her stand comes as Northern Ireland’s Department of Justice is considering a move to allow abortion in cases of sexual crime and fatal foetal abnormality.
Ashley made the decision to keep her child and now has a healthy 18-month-old son called Aiden.
The boy who raped her, a friend of her brother, was convicted of rape but returned to the same school as Ashley. However, after changing schools she is adjusting well to being a young mother.
Writing for the Christian Medical Fellowship last week, Head of Public Policy Philippa Taylor noted that: “Rape is commonly used as one of the ‘hard cases’ that justifies not having a blanket ban on abortion.”
She highlighted a survey of 192 women who became pregnant after rape or incest, which found that the great majority of those who had an abortion (80 per cent) regretted their decision.
Taylor said this is not surprising given that, “abortion is not an ‘easy solution’ to rape and cannot alleviate or undo in any way the crime committed”.
She added: “Research has found that those who had an abortion said it actually increased and compounded the trauma they had experienced from the rape.”
She attributes this in part to a lack of support because it is assumed that women will choose abortion “to ‘get rid of’ the problem”.
In contrast, out of all the women interviewed who decided to have their baby, not one expressed regret about her choice.
Taylor recognised that some women would feel unable to bring up a child adding: “The options of adoption or fostering provide a far more positive option for women to take”.
Taylor also argued that we should “never rank the value of people based on the circumstances of their conception”.
She continued, “the worth of children should not depend on whether their fathers were better people or not”.
“The child is not a despicable ‘product’ of rape but a unique and wonderful creation of God”, she added.
The Department of Justice recently came under fire from the Roman Catholic Church for attempting to exclude pro-life arguments from the abortion consultation which closes tomorrow.