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Q: I am pro-life, but find it difficult to insist a woman should bear a child resulting from her being a victim of rape. Does the Bible have any guidance for us in this matter?”
A: The circumstances under which a child is conceived, even in cases of violence, do not erase the protection God’s Word affords for the life begun in the womb. The unborn inside their mothers’ wombs are always treated as persons in the Bible. Most prominently, Psalm 139:13-16 speaks about the conception of human life as being a marvelous work of God: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. . . your eyes saw my unformed body.”
In Psalm 51 King David described himself as being a sinner not only from birth but even from conception: “Surely I have been a sinner from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (v. 5). The term “sinner” applies not to an animal, not to a piece of tissue, not to a potential human being, but to an actual human being. David therefore labels the life in the womb a human person.
When John’s mother, Elizabeth, felt his movement in her womb after being greeted by Mary carrying the Christ-child, she exclaimed, “As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby (BREPHOS) in my womb leaped for joy” (Luke 1:44). The Greek word BREPHOS carries the meaning “embryo, unborn child, infant, small child.”
God emphatically condemns rape (Gen. 34:2; Deut. 22:25 ff.), but rape is not a justification for taking the human life that God allowed to be conceived in the womb. Two wrongs—as the saying goes—do not make a right. Care and compassion must be offered to women who have been victimized by rape. Such Christian love, however, will not condone an abortion “solution.” “If you suffer,” says Peter, “it should not be as a murderer…” (I Peter 4:15).
Giving birth to a child resulting from rape falls into the category of “bearing a cross” while observing the Lord’s will for human life. Strength to bear such a cross is found in the verse, “God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted (tested) beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted (tested), he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (I Corinthians 10:13). One woman who kept her baby following a rape said, “Throughout this whole experience I’ve learned that God can bring good out of the most terrible situations, even something as terrible as rape.” If a Christian woman finds it hard to raise a child conceived by rape, then the adoption option should be pursued.
The case of rape is often brought up by those who promote abortion. They wish to play on people’s emotions to decide an issue which only God is to determine in his Word. But consider the facts: Only about 2% of abortions occur because of “hard cases,” such as rape, incest, fetal deformity or risk to the mother’s life. Less than 1% abort because of rape or incest. Pregnancy from rape happens in only 0-2.2% of the victims [-taken from WELS Lutherans for Life].