When a rapist impregnates a woman, she has to decide whether she will get an abortion to end the pregnancy. Does the fact that she was unjustly violated and impregnated justify her aborting the child that she now is carrying? Does the prospect of her suffering additionally if she were to have to carry the child, give birth to it, and possibly raise it justify an abortion?
Having recently had an animated discussion with some family members about this subject, I have been thinking a lot since then about what biblical considerations must be taken into account to answer these questions properly. Although I have come up with several truths that point to the right answer, considering God’s role in human conception seems to be a key truth that helps me further to answer these questions decisively.
God’s Role in Human Conception
Scripture records multiple instances when couples eagerly desired to have children but were not able to until God saw fit to bless them so that the women were able to conceive:
1. Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 15:3; 21:1-2)
2. Jacob and Rachel (Gen. 30:2, 22)
3. Elkanah and Hannah (1 Sam. 1:5, 19)
4. Zacharias and Elisabeth (Luke 1:7, 13; 24-25)
These accounts make clear that human conception is not something that happens automatically or even randomly when a man and a woman have intimate relations. Whenever a woman conceives, it is because of the work of God in granting her conception (cf. Gen. 20:17-18).
Pregnancy Resulting from Rape
Based on the truth that conception takes place only when God wills that it be so, a woman who becomes pregnant through her being raped needs to consider carefully that God has allowed her to conceive the child that she is now carrying in spite of the horrific way in which she was impregnated. Apart from God’s willing that it be so, she would not have become pregnant even though she was raped.
Recognizing that God has granted her conception, she should consider prayerfully why He has allowed that to happen. Even though it will mean additional suffering for her to carry the child, she can be confident that God has purposed that she do so (1 Pet. 4:19).
A Christ-like Delight to God’s Will for Her Life
When she struggles greatly to accept what God has allowed to take place in her life, she can look to Jesus as her perfect Example of One who by the grace of God suffered unjustly at the hands of many wicked people because God willed that it be so (Acts 2:23; 4:27-28; Heb. 2:9; 1 Pet. 2:21; 3:18). Through His perfect acceptance and submission to God’s working in His life, Jesus was able with delight to offer His body to God to do God’s will for His life (Heb. 10:5-10).
Similarly, by the grace of God, a woman who is impregnated by a rapist may yet delight to yield up her body and life to God to bear the child that He has allowed her to conceive. By willingly accepting and enduring the additional suffering that doing so will bring, she will come to understand and appreciate what Christ has done for her in a special way that other people will not.
What’s more, by choosing to love the innocent child that God has allowed her to conceive, she will experience the joy of choosing to yield up her life to God as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2) for the good of another whose life God has entrusted to her for His glory. Through submitting in this way to God’s will for her life, she will become more Christ-like in delighting to do God’s will for her life.
May God use these thoughts to spare the lives of innocent children who were conceived through their mothers being raped. May He profoundly bless women who have become pregnant in this horrible way by directing them to choose to be Christ-like in choosing life for their unborn children in spite of the awfulness of how they were conceived.