Listen to Jacqui’s deeply personal and moving story as she shares the courage of her grandmother and mother, who chose to allow a pregnancy to continue that was the result of rape and the difficulties to reconcile her life with the violent act that her mother had suffered.
“Over the years, I’ve come to realise [that] it’s actually not the child’s fault that their mother may have conceived against her will. It’s almost like a punishment to abort that child.”
Today’s challenges come in the form of pushback given around the abortion issue. “Oftentimes the pushback is ‘Oh, but what about women who have been raped?’
“The challenge that I face when I hear comments like that is like, ‘Should I be alive?’ But I am reconciled and grateful. I am reconciled that I am alive and that’s OK. And yes, my conception didn’t come about in a romantic, pretty way… I value that… I value life. I have just as much right to be alive as anyone else.”
Jacqui wanted to make an oral submission to the select committee regarding the proposed changes to abortion law but was declined. When she asked why not, they were unable to provide a clear answer.
“Eventually they said they had heard from lawyers, doctors, teachers… Basically everybody better than me.” Given the opportunity, she would have told them the same as what she would tell any woman who had been raped, ‘Please consider carefully the ramifications of this Bill that you are trying to pass because the premise of aborting due to rape, you’re basically saying that I – and women like me, children, you know – shouldn’t be alive. And to be honest, I find that very arrogant.’
“I don’t believe that we should be deciding who lives and who dies. I find it arrogant that someone would be saying, ‘You shouldn’t be alive, Jacqui.’ … I’m still a human being.”
Jacqui concludes her story with a message to others who have been conceived in similar circumstances, but the same would apply to anyone who’s life was threatened with the ‘offer’ of being aborted.
I would encourage you to stand up. Be proud. Live your life. It’s a cheesy statement but take each day and make it yours. You have every right to life – just as much as everyone else.