Standing before the throngs at the March for Life on Jan. 25, Ryan Bomberger admitted that he was the poster child for one of the most difficult aspects of the abortion debate: his mother had been raped.
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"I'm the fringe case that even pro-lifers have a hard time embracing," said Bomberger, an anti-abortion activist whose mother chose to continue the pregnancy and put him up for adoption.
Forty years after the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion, children who were conceived through rape -- and women who were raped and chose to end the pregnancy -- are speaking out, opening a new front in the often-fraught discussions of a decades-old culture war.
While Bomberger, 41, considers himself a warrior on the front lines of the anti-abortion movement, Jason Lovins sees himself as a worship leader more than an activist.
When he performs with his contemporary Christian band, the 31-year-old shares his testimony of being born after his mother was raped at age 15; he still remembers her high school graduation on his third birthday.
"I was so loved that it never became an issue for me that I was a product of rape," said the singer, whose Jason Lovins Band has performed with Michael W. Smith and for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
From campgrounds to churches, he has shared his story to encourage women who find themselves in the same situation as his mother to make the same choice she did.
But adult children who were conceived by rape are not the only ones revealing their pasts.
The 1 in 3 Campaign, a project of the abortion rights group Advocates for Youth, has introduced 40 women's stories in a new book to mark the Roe v. Wade anniversary. Among the stories is one from "Stefanie," a 51-year-old minister and stepmother who ended up pregnant twice after she was raped at the ages of 18 and 21.
"I chose abortion over suicide. Twice," she wrote. "Those were the most difficult decisions I've ever made. I commemorate them each year with great sadness. But, also, with tremendous gratitude for having had the freedom to make those decisions for myself.''
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SOURCE: Religion News Service
Adelle M. Banks