By Cian Molloy - 05 March, 2017
A woman who was conceived when her mother was raped was due to testify this weekend before the Citizens’ Assembly, which among other things is preparing to advise the government on whether or not the Constitution’s protection of the unborn child should be preserved, repealed or amended.
Repeatedly, pro life groups have complained that the Citizens’ Assembly has been biased in how it has set the agenda for discussions about the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution and the sanctity of life from the moment of conception.
In response, the organisation Youth Defence has decided to use the time allocated to it to allow Rebecca Kiessling the opportunity to address the Assembly.
Many of those who believe the deliberate destruction of life in the womb should be legalised cite pregnancies resulting from rape as occasions when the ‘compassionate’ thing to do would be to allow the mother to abort her ‘unwanted’ child.
Rebecca was just such a child. Her mother was raped at knifepoint and subsequently became pregnant following the assault. Counsellors advised her mother to have an abortion, but she decided against that option. Instead, she carried her child for the full term of her pregnancy, and when Rebecca was born she was given up for adoption.
Rebecca is now a mother herself, with five children, and she is a US attorney. She founded the ‘Save the 1’ organisation to minister to women who chose to reject abortion despite being pregnant from rape. “Women need support and compassion after rape,” she says. “Children conceived in this way are also innocent human beings who are deserving of the same protection as any other child.”
She says: “I am not a ‘rapist’s child’. I am a human being. I am so thankful to my mother for my life, and all children should be protected however they were conceived. None of us are deserving of the death penalty.”
Íde Nic Mhathúna of Youth Defence said: “Rebecca’s powerful testimony has previously changed the heart of presidential candidates and many legislators across the US, Canada and Europe. She has also helped pregnant rape victims all around the world to choose life for their children, and helped rape victims to share their stories and lobby for better protections under the law, including the right to deny rapists custody of children.
“The imbalance of the Assembly to date has been sharply criticised, especially the decision to give a platform to abortionists from Britain and the US, while failing to hear from abortion survivors or from whistle-blowers in the abortion industry. This is why Youth Defence has decided to use the time allotted to us to share Rebecca’s testimony.”