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Exceptions: Rape and Incest

by Don Costello  
5/21/2008 / Bible Studies

Rape and Incest

All the restrictions on abortion which I traditionally supported that have come down from the Federal and State levels had the exceptions of rape, incest and the life of the mother. I supported them and did not give much thought to the exceptions. Within the last couple of years I have begun to rethink my views and face the "hard cases". My wife Melissa was already against the exceptions and we would discuss them occasionally, but I was clueless and felt I had no foundation to speak about rape or incest. I was wrong; the Word of God is the foundation even in the hard cases. Then I discovered there are people who were conceived in rape and/or incest and they are not only very pro-life, but are against the rape and incest exceptions in abortion restrictions.

One of those individuals is Rebecca Kiessling, who introduces herself on her website, as a product of rape and a child of God. "I was conceived from a rape at knifepoint by a serial rapist." Mrs. Kiessling is insulted when the exception of rape is used in the abortion argument because she would have been put to death. She is the exception. On her website, Mrs. Kiessling writes, "I know that most people don't put a face to this issueabortion is just a conceptwith a quick clich, they can sweep it under the rug and forget about it. I do hope that, as a child of rape, I can help put a face and a voice to this issue."

Rebecca Kiessling is a pro-life speaker and writer, and a (semi-retired) pro-life family law attorney. She has appeared as a guest on Good Morning America, CNN Talk Back Live, CBS News, and the nationally syndicated program "Extra" aired a story about her and her birth mother. "Glamour Magazine" included her in their story "My Father is a Rapist" and she has also been the subject of more than a few newspaper articles telling her story. Feminists for Life recently honored her in their publication "The American Feminist's" special edition "Remarkable Pro-Life Women". As a pro-life speaker since 1995, she has spoken at churches, schools, and rallies, many of those instances in association with Right to Life of Michigan. Her most important accomplishment, though, is being a Christian wife and mother. Only God knows how many lives have been changed for the glory of God by her testimony. Mrs. Kiessling ends her bio on her website with these words:

"Most importantly, I've learned, I'll be able to teach my children, and I teach others across North America that your value is not based on the circumstances of your conception, your parents, your siblings, your mate, your house, your clothes, your looks, your IQ, your grades, your scores, your money, your occupation, your successes or failures, or your abilities or disabilities these are the lies that are perpetuated in our society. In fact, most motivational speakers tell their audiences that if they could just make something of themselves and meet this certain standard, then they too could "be somebody." But the fact is that no one could ever meet all of these ridiculous standards, and many people will fall incredibly short and so, does that mean that they're not "somebody" or that they're "nobody?" The truth is that if you really want to know what your value is, all you have to do is look to the Cross because that's the price that was paid for you life! That's the infinite value that God placed on your life!

In closing, I believe that if I could have had one prayer from my mother's womb as an unborn child, it would be something like Psalm 59: 1-4:

Deliver me from my enemies , O God;
protect me from those who rise up against me.
Deliver me from evildoers
and save me from bloodthirsty men.

See how they lie in wait for me!
Fierce men conspire against me
for no offense or sin of mine, O LORD.
I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me.
Arise to help me; look on my plight!

Incest, like rape, is another sin that inflicts its own unique pain and suffering on its victims, but even incest is subject to God's omnipotence. There are two instances of incest in Scripture. The first is between Lot and his daughters in Genesis 19:30-38. The Biblical record not only shows both of Lot's daughters were pregnant by Lot, but it shows the elder daughter bore a son named Moab, while the younger daughter bore a son named Ammon. Both of these sons became nations and both became bitter enemies of Israel, and both were subject to curses by God because of their behavior toward Israel. In Deuteronomy 23:3 God declares a Moabite or Ammonite unto the tenth generation could not enter into the congregation. Zephaniah 3:8-10 declares they would be annihilated as nations because of their reproach and pride toward Israel. Yet Ruth in the Book of Ruth is a Moabitess and because of her faithfulness to the one true God, ends up marrying Boaz. A son came out of that union whose name is Obed, grandfather to David, and part of the Messianic line, Ruth 4:13-17.

The other incident of incest is in Genesis 38, between Tamar and Judah. Judah's oldest son Er marries Tamar; because of his evilness the LORD kills Er. As a result of his death, the second son is to marry Tamar and provide a son for his oldest brother. Onan, though, just has sex with Tamar and causes his seed to be spilt on the ground. As a result of that act, Onan is also killed by the LORD. Judah then promises Tamar that when the youngest is grown he would give him to Tamar to raise up children. When that doesn't happen Tamar dresses as a prostitute and tricks Judah into getting her pregnant. When Tamar is found to be pregnant, Judah commands her to be put to death. Tamar then reveals Judah to be the father and Judah reverses the order. Tamar ends up having twins, Pharez and Zarah. The fascinating thing about this is Pharez in Ruth 4:18-22 is listed as the great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather to David and is included in the Messianic line to Jesus.

The important lesson in both of these incidents is that God can turn around any tragic human condition into a blessed condition that gives Him glory. He doesn't sanction the behavior that causes the tragedy but he can turn it around into a blessing.

The bottom line in any argument about abortion is regardless of the circumstances of the conception, whether the loving union of husband and wife, a brutal rape, or the product of incest, the baby is being formed by God. He has placed talents and abilities within that child to be used for the glory of God. In life's most tragic circumstances, God demonstrates His omnipotence. It is there the power of Romans 8:28 is revealed; "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Only God can turn hopeless circumstances into glorious lives, without exception.

My name is Don Costello. Ever since I received Christ in November of 1976 I have had a passion to study and know God's word.My wife Melissa and I have 5 children.

My e-mail address is

I have a blog located at:

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