Darrow Miller and Friends

Rape, Abortion, and the Miss USA Contest

abortion after a rape?What is the value of the life of a woman conceived in rape?

Does making a political statement justify a mother aborting her baby? A career opportunity? A pregnancy as a result of a rape?

In the last few months, national or global news has included stories about three pregnant women who made significant choices related to the life of another human being.

Josie Cunningham, 23, of Leeds, England is, according to her Facebook page, “an aspiring model looking to break into the world of glamour modeling.” Cunningham discovered she was pregnant, and at the same time had an opportunity to be part of the British reality TV show “Big Brother.” She announced to the public her plan to have an abortion. She did not want a baby to interfere with her career. “I’m finally on the verge of becoming famous and I’m not going to ruin it now … An abortion will further my career.” (See more here.) For Cunningham, her career was more important than the life of her baby.[1]

On July 1, Jenny Kutner, an assistant at Salon magazine made a unique announcement. It had two parts: “I’m pregnant. I just found out.” That was part 1. Part 2, “I’m having an abortion on Saturday at 10 a.m.”

Ms. Kutner said that most abortion stories are about the aftermath. She looked for stories about prologues to abortion, but couldn’t find one. So she wrote her own and published it the day before her abortion.

Mostly we only hear about a procedure in its aftermath. Right now, I do need to hear about the aftermath. I need to be reminded that on Saturday I will wake up pregnant and on Sunday I will not; I need to be reminded that my life will go on once I carry out this decision that is totally and completely right for me.

For Ms. Kutner, having a baby would be harder than having an abortion. “What I definitely, definitely don’t want, immeasurably more than I don’t want to have an abortion, is to be pregnant or have a child.” Making a political statement was more important than the life of her baby. Being unpregnant (in other words, most like a male) was certainly more important than the life of her baby. For Jenny’s story, go here.

The third woman, Theresa Gaugler, was a 19-year-old-college student on her way home from work in Pittsburgh. She was attacked, pulled behind a building and raped at knife point by a stranger. When the headlights of a passing car interrupted the attack, Ms. Gaugler fled from her attacker.

Theresa found out she was pregnant from the rape. She was faced with the same difficulties any woman with an unwanted pregnancy would face. Having a baby would interrupt their schooling, their career, their life. And for Ms. Gaugler, the child would be a reminder of the violence that would forever shape her life. Most people would have encouraged her to have an abortion. Even many pro-lifers, who make exception for rape and incest, would have supported Gaugler having an abortion.

Ms. Gaugler had a difficult choice: abort the baby or let the child of a violent rape live. She chose life. She carried her baby to term, planning to put it up for adoption. But after her baby was born, she made another difficult choice. With her parents and grandmother, she and her family chose to raise her daughter, Valerie Gatto.

As Valerie grew up, she was involved with her family in church and volunteer work helping people less fortunate than herself. After graduating from North Hills High School, she went on to the University of Pittsburgh and earned a degree in business administration, graduating with honors. Today she is working as a freelance marketing director while she pursues a career in acting.

Valerie is now 24 years old. She is a compassionate, talented, and beautiful young woman. The 5’5” blue-eyed brunette was recently crowned Miss Pennsylvania USA 2014.

Miss Gatto has not been afraid to tell the world about her mother’s horrendous ordeal, and the circumstances of her own conception. She says that her family understood that her life was more valuable than the event of her conception. She says of her family, “They never looked at it as something negative.” What kind of courage does this take?

Valerie says: “I believe God put me here for a reason: to inspire people, to encourage them, to give them hope that everything is possible and you can’t let your circumstances define your life.” Indeed the God who created the universe can turn things meant for evil into good.

Gatto’s website states: “With the title, she hopes to inspire people of all ages and to teach others how to defy the odds and achieve their dreams. She hopes to educate young women about protecting themselves and preventing sexual assault. As an advocate, she hopes to create a stronger society of women.”

Of the three mothers, two were self-absorbed, thinking more of their circumstances than they did of the life of their child. Another mother, whose circumstances were horrendous, chose the life of her child over the horror of her circumstances.

What would Josie and Jenny’s children have become? What might they have contributed to their communities and the world? We can weep for these mothers who have believed the lie of the culture of death. As a result, they have objectified their own lives. They have deprived their children of their lives. They have deprived the world of the contributions those children would have made.

– Darrow Miller

[1] Since her original announcement, perhaps because of the public outrage, decided to carry her pregnancy to term and sell tickets to the public to witness her delivery.


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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).