19% pregnant rape victims had abortions
Almost a fifth of women and girls who became pregnant from rape had abortions, newly released 2011 figures on survivors who attended rape crisis centre have shown.
Two thirds of the pregnant survivors of sexual violence brought a baby to full term, the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland data on 2,036 survivors has found.
Of the 90 girls and women (4.5 per cent of all female survivors of sexual violence) who became pregnant as a result of rape in 2011, 17 terminated the pregnancy, 60 went to term and 11 miscarried or had stillbirths.
A fifth (12) of those who carried the baby to full term had their child adopted or fostered. Two survivors of sexual violence became pregnant more than once as a result of rape, the results found.
Figures are based on women and girls who attended all 15 rape crisis centres in the State in 2011.
RCNI executive director Fiona Neary noted that in the current abortion debate there has been some mention of women raped and pregnant as a result.
It was important the debate was informed by “best available facts” and “compassionate understanding” of realities facing the women, she said
Ms Neary noted that the women and girls in the survey represented “one part of the picture” because not all rape survivors access rape crisis centres.
The numbers do not tell the circumstances behind the outcome such as a survivor’s age, resources, support and relationship to the rapist, she said.
Pregnancy from rape can cause additional trauma and complexities for women, she said. When the example is used assumptions can be made that decisions are simplified and ethical complexities “largely nullified” by conception through rape, she added.
She urged commentators to “remember this when they reach for the example of rape victims in the abortion debate.”