“It’s very frustrating to just be summarily dismissed like this. [This] is my life that you’re talking about,” she said.
Speaking at a Capitol Hill Ambassador’s Luncheon in Washington on Thursday, Kiessling complained that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed “by using the rape exception,” which led to wider taxpayer funding of abortions, as a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealed.
Kiessling was conceived when her mother was raped at knifepoint by a serial rapist in Michigan during the late 1960s.
She related that her mother sought an abortion at two different back-alley abortion clinics, but because of the safety and legal risks associated with the then illegal procedure, Kiessling’s mother decided not to go through with it.
“I was almost aborted, but I was legally protected, and she made it quite clear to me for the first six years that I knew her that it was her body, her choice, and that [aborting me] should have been her right, and that ‘you don’t know what it was like’ - which is true,” Kiessling said. ”But now today she and I are both thankful that we were both spared the horror of abortion.”
Kiessling emphasized that “it was pro-life advocates, activists, [and] legislators who, without knowing of my exact existence yet, recognized that mine was a life worth saving. I really owe my life to the law being there to protect me,” she said.
When she first heard that the ACA had passed, Kiessling said she knew that President Obama’s executive order promising to extend the protections of the Hyde Amendment was “a joke that holds no weight.”
She spoke out against the rape exception in the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of any health-care plan that includes coverage of abortion. The amendment has “reverberations where it’s really causing damage,” she said, adding that Obamacare is funding abortion “on a large scale,” breaking the promise the president made in his executive order.
However, Kiessling, pointed out that even with the president’s initial promise of Hyde Amendment protections, it was already “a lie” that there was going to be no funding of abortion under the ACA because the executive order contained the rape exceptions, which are “stated like it’s just standard.”
Kiessling says that the rape exception “does serve to demonize, stigmatize, marginalize, and discriminate against” those like her who were conceived in rape, telling them that "yours is not a life worth saving.”
She cited a Centers for Disease Control statistic that about five percent of rape victims become pregnant, which is an estimated 32,101 pregnancies from rape per year. In a study of rape victims, 38 percent of the women opted to either keep the baby or put it up for adoption, compared to 50 percent who underwent an abortion.
Kiessling also called out those who stigmatize children conceived through rape, including Baptist Bishop Paul Morton, who called them “demon seed” at the 2013 Pastors and Ministry Workers Conference in Nashville when he was explaining why a woman should not have to carry a child conceived through rape to term.
“Really, so I’m Satan’s child?” Kiessling asked.
She also criticized conservative talk show host Sean Hannity for explaining his difficulty with forcing a rape victim to carry the baby to term in an April interview with pro-life advocate Lila Rose, saying, “It’s almost like an evil seed.”
Kiessling called the comment “really hurtful."