Rapists, the Law, and their Victims
Analyn Megison was the victim of a senseless rape—a rape that resulted in the creation of a baby. Legally, she had a choice, but she knew the life growing inside her was a gift. She explains, “Love is stronger than fear. I became pregnant due to rape, and I chose to love and raise my child.”
Her testimony, “Hard Cases, Exceptional Choices,” gives us a window into the life of a woman who overcame a tragedy in her personal life in order to celebrate the life of a child given to her as a gift by God. The story tugs at our heartstrings, but is really only the beginning of her saga. You see, the man who raped Analyn was not convicted of the rape and he subsequently sued for custody of his child.
But Analyn is no passive victim. She has chosen to fight back and make a difference, for at the time the rapist came forward with his bizarre claim there was no state law in Florida to protect the rape victim in cases like this. She writes, “I recall the judge asking if there was any law to prohibit this—even a federal law—and me replying: ‘Not yet, but I am working on it.’”
So Analyn founded an organization called Hope After Rape Conception. Its members are committed to making sure that no rape victim is ever again confronted with the ugly truth that, if a rapist is not found guilty of his crime, he can come after the very child who was created from his violent act.
There was a bill introduced in the last Congress—US House bill HR 2772 and its companion Senate Bill S 2443—that addresses the problem by giving states a financial incentive to pass the needed legislation. Right now, with a new Congress in session, the first step is to get the bill reintroduced.
And this is where we come into the picture. Even though a law of this type is needed, some might ask: Why should those of us who fight to protect the innocent from the violence of abortion be interested in working to get this bill passed? For many years politicians have told us that the politically expedient thing to do is ensure that abortions in cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother are included in legislation. But such a position suggests the forgone conclusion that when a woman is violently assaulted by a rapist, her desire to get an abortion should pregnancy occur must be respected. And it assumes that she will want to have an abortion. Yet, this argument is inherently flawed because it eliminates an entire person. If a woman who is raped does become pregnant, we are dealing with two human beings, neither of whom is guilty of a crime and neither of whom should be killed because of the violence of a third party—the rapist. It is inconceivable to think that the very man who sexually assaulted his victim might then be permitted to legally work to acquire custody of the baby because he was not convicted of his crime. This is something that should concern everyone. And this is why we are obligated to do all we can to fight for the rights of both the mother and her baby. How could we do any less?
Analyn has written, “If pregnant rape victims know that their state protects them from the rapist having parental rights, they will be less likely to choose abortion. . . . Furthermore, it’s a prime opportunity for 100 percent pro-life legislators to show how much concern they have for pregnant rape victims—by protecting them from the rapist.”
Please pray that the bill is reintroduced in Congress this week or next.
In the meantime, talk about this to those you know. The average American has no idea that a rapist can actually use the legal system to fight for custody of a baby conceived in the aftermath of his vicious attack on that baby’s mother. In addition, spread the word about the magnificent, heroic work of Hope After Rape Conception. Of note is the fact that pro-life leader Rebecca Kiessling, another rape victim, is on the board at HARP. And stay informed about the bill’s movement by signing up today for American Life League’s Pro-Life This Week.
The outrage that stories like Analyn’s evoke in my heart cannot be adequately described with words. No rapist deserves custody of a child he fathered. It goes without saying that when one is genuinely pro-life to the core, one is obliged by God to defend all those victimized by the grisly results of a culture of hedonism gone mad. Let’s do something positive to end rapist rights.