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Q Is abortion always wrong, at every stage of conception? About 15 years ago, when I was a college freshman, I was raped. I told no one at the time, other than my best friend and her doctor. He recommended what was known as the “morning-after pill.” Eventually I told my parents, and they were very supportive. Lately, however, I have been wondering and feeling guilty about what I did.

A Such a personal and invasive assault has the capacity to cripple emotionally, even years after it happens to someone. The most important message you need to internalize is this: you did the best you knew to do under extremely difficult circumstances. Living in guilt is not the answer.

Keep in mind that the experience of rape cannot be equated with the experience of consensual sexual intimacy. When consensual sex results in a pregnancy, both parents bear the responsibility for deciding how this new life will develop. Allowing the baby to develop to term would seem to be the only choice consistent with a faith in our God of life.

But you were raped. You somehow had to come to terms with having been violated and with having lost, at least temporarily, a sense of control over what happens to you. You then also had to decide whether to immediately terminate a potential pregnancy or not. But this would not have been a real choice if your only choice, as a Christian, was to wait and see, and if pregnant, to carry the child to term.

In hindsight, your present maturity in years and faith might have led you to a different decision, but it is unfair to judge yourself—and create guilt—on that basis. Be reassured that God, as affirmed by your parents’ support, does not judge you either.

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