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Victims of rape must be given option of abortion

Two years ago I wrote a letter to this newspaper. It was in response to remarks made by Jim Wells in regards to denying abortion to rape victims.

Maybe I'm naive, but I really hoped my words would make him think.

Two years on and Mr Wells is our Health Minister and it's obvious his opinions haven't changed.

Well, let me spell it out for you and those who share your blinkered views: rape is not an act of love, it's not lust, nor even sex - it is a violent, sadistic attack.

No woman asks for it. It is a criminal offence. Recovery will either be slow - mentally and physically - or non-existent.

To add a pregnancy to the mix is akin to salt being rubbed into a deep, bleeding wound. Nine months of carrying a monster's baby, the birth itself and adoption aside, the ever-present fear of that child tracking her down some day and reopening old wounds.

I believe abortion on demand is wrong, but I put that belief on hold for cases like this because, as a Christian, I also believe in compassion.

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I ask what Jesus would do and I can't imagine a loving God forcing a woman (or, indeed, a frightened child) to go through such a hellish experience. For the pro-lifers who blithely say they would "reach out" and "support" her, I ask this: will you still be there for the rest of her life, as she lives on her nerves, waiting for that knock on the door (and I don't just mean the child - what if the rapist decides to exercise his parental rights)?


Coleraine, Co Londonderry