By Hilary White
August 12, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - When sixteen year-old Elizabeth Cameron found she was pregnant after being brutally gang raped, "practically everyone" in her life said she had every moral and legal right to kill her daughter by abortion. But Elizabeth defied the world's wisdom and says, now that her daughter Phoebe is a toddler, that she could not imagine life without her.
"Every time I look at Phoebe, I know I made the right decision. I never wanted to end my baby's life just because of how she came to be," she told the Daily Mail this weekend.
In the Mail's extensive human interest piece on Saturday, Cameron, now 19, talks about her hopes to marry and her plans to attend university. So great was the pressure on Elizabeth, a regular churchgoer, to have an abortion, the Mail's Angela Carless wrote, "That Phoebe exists at all almost defies belief." Only Elizabeth's mother, Sarah, suggested the alternative to abortion.
"Everyone, save for mum, thought I should have an abortion," she said. "My dad even made an appointment at the clinic, and they showed me the little blob on the scan, I presume, to convince me that it was just a mass of cells and the whole thing would be over quickly."
Elizabeth confided that none of her friends at school could understand why "anyone my age would want to have a baby rather than an abortion." She said that the few she told of the rape were "even more horrified" that she would refuse an abortion.
"But," she said, "I did. And I don't regret it for a moment."
Elizabeth's mom Sarah, 53, said of Phoebe, "Having her in my life is such a joy. From the first time I held her in my arms, I have had this fierce bond with her, a connection which started even before she was born. She looks like me when I was her age, and I feel strongly that she was meant to be a part of our family."
In Britain there are few meaningful legal restrictions on abortion and the possibility of a conception during a rape is commonly offered as one of the strongest justifications for legal abortion. Elizabeth told the Daily Mail that even though she had "strong views" on the wrongness of abortion, she might have once have shared this opinion about the justifiability of abortion in cases of rape; but her mind was abruptly changed, she said, when she was shown the "mass of cells" on a scan at an abortion facility that was her child.
Elizabeth said that despite the disapproval of most of her family and the open scorn of people in her village and church, it was "surprisingly easy" to love Phoebe as she was growing in the womb. "While it was terrifying, knowing that I was going to be a mum made me look forward and focus on something else. I suppose I have tried to look beyond what happened, to the life that was created."
Most countries, even some who have otherwise strong legal protections for unborn children, allow abortion for pregnancies due to rape. Some even in the pro-life movement report feeling at a loss as to how to react to the emotionally charged insistence on legal abortion in cases of rape. But American pro-life apologetics trainer and lecturer Scott Klusendorf says the appeal to the "hard case of rape" is a dishonest tactic used by the abortion lobby to undermine the comprehensiveness of the pro-life position.
Klusendorf, the author of "Pro-Life 101: a Step by Step Guide to Making Your Case Persuasively" writes, "How should a civil society treat innocent human beings that remind us of a painful event? May we kill them so that we can feel better? Put differently, can you think of any other case where, having been victimized yourself, you can justly turn around and victimize another completely innocent person?"
As part of his training seminar for aspiring pro-life apologists, Klusendorf reminds that, simply put, two wrongs do not make a right. "If the unborn is a human being, she should not be killed to benefit her mother. Hardship does not justify homicide. Hence, we are back to the one question that trumps all others in the abortion debate: What is the unborn?"
Rebecca Kiessling, a Michigan woman who was conceived in a rape and who has taken up pro-life advocacy, wrote that as soon as she realised the relevance of abortion to her life, she "heard" the echoes of people who support the so-called "rape exception" as though they were judging her very existence.
"It was as if I could hear the echoes of all those people who, with the most sympathetic of tones, would say, 'Well, except in cases of rape. . . ,' or who would rather fervently exclaim in disgust: 'Especially is cases of rape!!!' All these people are out there who don't even know me, but are standing in judgment of my life, so quick to dismiss it just because of how I was conceived. I felt like I was now going to have to justify my own existence."
Read Elizabeth's story in the Daily Mail:
See related LifeSiteNews Reports:
Abortion in Cases of Rape: Why Not Kill the Guilty Rapist Before the Innocent Child
Rape and Incest Victims Don't Want Abortion, Say It Doesn't Help Women
Rape Victim: My Child "No Different Than a Child Not Conceived in Rape"
Vatican: Abortion in Rape Cases is "Violence Answered with Further Violence, Murder with Murder"