Unplanned Pregnancies in the Military on the Rise

The epidemic of sexual assault on women in the military has far-reaching effects beyond just harming the victim. It damages the military’s reputation, discourages potential female recruits from joining, and creates an atmosphere of hostility and repression. Perhaps the most conflicted consequence of sexual assault is the potential for unwanted pregnancies.

In CNN‘s article on a recent study, authors Dr. Daniel Grossman and Kate Grindlay note that the 11% unplanned pregnancy rate in the military is 50% higher than the average across the United States. The article focuses mainly on the role of contraceptives and education efforts. However, the study’s authors note that “sexual assault could be playing a role in the military’s high number of unplanned pregnancies.” Due to an estimated 80% of sexual assaults going unreported, the number of unplanned pregnancies resulting from sexual assault would be nearly impossible to quantify.

Christians, while mostly united in their pro-life efforts, are at odds over the issue of abortion in the case of rape. Only the most rabid and unsympathetic among us would feel no twinge of pain or uneasiness when discussing this issue. But is a full-throated defense, however empathetic, of the value of pregnancies resulting from rape really necessary? After all, couldn’t we be focused on the more egregious acts, like late-term abortion and gendercide?

This past fall, we saw plenty of attention paid to the issue of pregnancy resulting from rape (e.g., Rep. Mourdouck’s comments and the subsequent he said/she said). Rather than changing hearts and minds about the value of the unborn child, we end up victimizing the victim: the woman who has been horrifically abused is now the pawn of a partisan debate.

Instead of ferociously discussing the evils of abortion to a rape victim, let’s go to the source. We have a duty to identify the inbred misogyny that leads to servicewomen being assaulted in such appallingly high numbers. When rape ends, then pregnancy from rape will end.

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  • “Instead of ferociously discussing the evils of abortion to a rape victim, let’s go to the source.”

    It is Both/And not Either/Or. To stop talking about rape-caused pregnancy and the sanctity of the life it includes is to truly victimize the victim. The ostrich approach is rarely the way of prudence and never the way of valor.

    The issue can, by the way, be discussed non-ferociously.

  • Tye

    Trent- I’m not sure I understand how the article is advocating the ostrich approach. The sancity of life and rape-caused pregnancy is recognized by the author as a legitimate issue. She is simply saying that Christians tend to focus all their efforts on the abortion issue. This is well and good, but aren’t we missing something if we go straight to the abortion issue without recognizing and dealing with the cause for much of the problem: the legitimate victimization/raping of women in the military. This a big problem that many are unaware of and as thoughtful Christians I think we would do well to focus more of our energy on seeing that legitimate action is taken to protect women in the military.