Quarterly scientific journal

Abortion after rape: moral perspective and debate

Dimitrios Theofanidis



The purpose of this paper is to examine the ethical dilemmas presented in the decision for abortion after rape.  In the case of rape, the woman is forced to suffer further psychological harm by carrying the ‘product’ of violence rather than consent. However, in the event of rape, any subsequent abortion essentially punishes the unborn child who has committed no crime. Instead, the perpetrator should be punished, not the foetus.

In the case of incest, the woman who becomes pregnant by her relative is very likely to deliver a monstrous fetus, which will suffer throughout its life. Abortion is therefore suggested as a 'therapeutic solution'. Yet, there is a risk (to a lesser extent) of genetic abnormalities even for consensual pregnancies. So by the same token, should all fetuses with genetic abnormalities be killed?

In conclusion, in the case of rape, the fetus or the child, it is not the symbol of an act of love, but the aftermath of a violent act, a living reminder of the inhumane event and a hindrance to the victim's mental redemption. The option of abortion seems to be the way that the victim can continue with her life. But from an ethical point of view, abortion after rape is not justified because the innocent victim is actually 'punished' and not the perpetrator.

Keywords: Abortion, rape, ethical dilemmas

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