I get to use this image again!
For whatever reason, whether or not women should be allowed to get an abortion is a political issue, and some people believe there is absolutely no reason abortion should be legal, even in cases of rape (fortunately, even the craziest people think an abortion can sneak by when the pregnancy will kill the mother, but if not that would be condemning a woman to death).
But all this got me wondering: what would I do if I were raped tonight and forced by law to carry a resulting pregnancy to term? For the sake of depression, and because the thing that started this was a presidential hopeful suggesting women view babies conceived through a rape as a "gift from God," which you surely wouldn't return, I'll include raising a baby bestowed upon me by the gift of rape.
First, going through a rape (something I fortunately have never experienced and hopefully never will) is one of the most traumatizing things a person can experience. Some statistics say between 15-20% of the population have been raped, but I'd be willing to bet it's more than that because men who are raped almost never report it and women who are raped are often too afraid, too traumatized or don't believe it's rape because the criminal was someone they knew. Even still, at least 15% of the population has been traumatized by rape. First off, if this were to ever happen to me I'd be at the police station and hospital to report it and have any evidence collected to catch the son of a bitch. But I would be devastated. I would replay it in my mind again and again, trying to come up with something I did wrong, some way I could have prevented it or stopped him. It would depress me intensely, most likely affecting my sleep, my day to day activities, and most certainly my relationship. As much as I can say now I wish I were stronger than that, sex would be entirely different after a rape, and there's no way that wouldn't be an issue. And if the rape resulted in a pregnancy and I was forced to carry it?
I currently make about enough to pay rent, utilities, car payments, car insurance, cell phone, food and gas with just enough left over to put aside for taxes in April and car insurance in July. Other than what I'm currently saving, which is already ear marked, I have no savings. I would have to keep my current job, even though it does not provide any benefits whatsoever, because no company would hire a woman about to need medical leave in 9 months. This would mean that any time I needed to go to the doctor or felt too sick to work would be unpaid, and my eventual maternity leave would be 1-3 months of no income. Plus, I would likely lose my job during the leave (they would have to replace me) and finding a job that paid decently or maybe even one that provided benefits would be next to impossible as a brand new, single mother who will need flexibility to care for her baby.
In addition, I have no health insurance so all those required doctor's visits would be debt under my name. Of course, I would have to have health insurance for myself and my baby once it's born, but I couldn't exactly go get pre-natal insurance after I got pregnant, now could I? My credit limit is $5k, which isn't anywhere near enough to have a healthy baby in a hospital. Actually having the baby would cripple me, and if there were any complications whatsoever I would never recover from the debt. Diapers, a car seat, baby clothes, and whatever else you buy for a baby (even Target maternity clothes are expensive) would be beyond my current budget, which would change to zero once I became unemployed.
I could cash out my stock, but it would only be a temporary fix and only enough to cover basic doctors visits or maybe the time I would be unemployed, if I somehow found a job soon enough. Plus, cashing out would affect me at tax time, so the benefit would be further diminished.
(Should I decide to give the baby up for adoption and happen to actually find a couple willing to adopt my rape baby, they would most likely pay for my medical bills and giving birth. However, they would probably not pay for sick days when I was puking or at the doctor or for maternity clothes. And they definitely would not pay for a gym membership so I could work on getting my body back and try going back to my normal life.)
I would be forced to move out of my current apartment and find a studio or 1-bedroom apartment, which is already something I can't afford, much less after at least a month of unemployment and thousands in medical bills. I could probably move back to my hometown and rent out a room in my mom's house, but I would still need a job to pay for rent (which wouldn't be much cheaper than a place in San Diego) and baby stuff (and like I said, I have no savings). Plus, it would involve leaving my friends, my boyfriend and my life in San Diego.
Speaking of boyfriend, that would most likely end. I feel fortunate to be with someone who feels the same as I do about having kids, but unfortunately for this hypothetical situation that's that we don't want them. Even if my boyfriend wanted to be supportive and helpful, I could never ask him to stay when I have a baby that belongs to a rapist, not to him. Being pregnant is enough of a strain when the baby belongs to both people in the relationship, but a rape and a pregnancy together would be too much.
Things I Would Give Up:
All hope of getting my Master's degree (student debt on top of medical debt? Yeah right.), my dream job (taking any job without considering the flexibility, the benefits, the day care), possibly freelancing, traveling, having a horse, spending any time taking care of animals for a living, and having anything else that goes along with the somewhat exotic lifestyle I want.
My whole life would be living so that a baby I never wanted would have a chance at a decent life because, despite it just being the right thing to do if you bring a child into the world, it's against the law to neglect it. I suppose I could just go on welfare. Let all the other taxpayers pay for me and my baby, and just not work. God, this is depressing.
I might also have to let go of what I hope a marriage would be like. Dating wouldn't be for me anymore, it would be to find a husband who would be a good father for my rape baby, who would not have a father. Not to mention, between working and raising a baby I'd never have time to actually date. Meeting a man who already has a child (and probably an ex wife) would most likely be my only option, and then date nights could be movies at home with the kids. Lounging in bed for hours, making brunch and mimosas on Sunday at noon, hanging out writing this blog, spending time on Reddit, and staying out late at a bar will be things of the past. And forget reading. Well, forget reading anything at my reading level.
Should I ever be raped (which I'm just going to hope never happens... keep my wits about me, stay out of creepy dark alleys...) I really hope the criminal wears a condom. Fortunately as far as pregnancies go I'm already on birth control and have access to Plan B, so the chances of me becoming pregnant are pretty slim. But there's sexually transmitted disease and the trauma to worry about, one of which I will most assuredly have to deal with. The bottom line is rape is something so truly awful and should never happen to anyone, but that's unfortunately not the world we live in. I just hope I'm never forced to bear the consequences of someone else's criminal actions.