Tag Archives: rape

Surprise Visit with my Mentally Ill Birth Mother

My mother was raped; many would say I am the rapist’s baby.  Those mothers who have been raped will quickly say their child is their baby, not the rapist’s.  In my case, I was never the rapist’s baby, nor my mother’s.


Mothers whether you love them or hate them, they are always yours.  Deep down you know that when trouble comes, your mom will be there for you.  She may give lots of unwanted advice at times, but at least she is there to give it.  For women who are mentally ill like my birth mother, who is schizophrenic, correct motherly responses are almost impossible.  When I was born, Michigan still had state mental hospitals, and she had many visits there.  While she was finishing a stay in the mental hospital after I was born, a local couple cared for me.  When she got out, they tried to teach her how to care for me. Under her care, I would go all day not being fed or changed; when the crying would not end, her husband would call for help.

The local couple, Ursula and Zara Hunter, continued to step in to help when asked.  When I was five years old I was legally adopted by the couple. Before this, I was an orphan.  My biological father discarded me the moment I was conceived through his horrible act forced upon a mentally and physically defenseless woman. Though it’s possible that on her good days, my biological mother wanted me, she was not capable of caring for me.  Through no fault of her own, a mental illness robbed me of a relationship with her.

When people hear that I’m adopted, the first thing they ask is, “Do you know who your ‘real’ parents are?”  My response is always the same: “Yes, their names are Ursula and Zara Hunter.”  But I know what they are really asking.  After visiting my biological mother and her husband almost 15 years ago, I didn’t go back for a long time.  My mother seemed quiet and, at times, indifferent about the visit but answered the basic questions I asked.  After this visit, bizarre behavior surfaced.  I was told by her legal guardian at the time, not to visit again.  I continued to visit her husband when I could and sent pictures of my family.  He explained that if she got to the mail before he did, she would rip up the pictures explaining that she did not have a daughter or grandchildren.

When her husband died, she acknowledge me at the funeral.  Afterwards, I made more of an effort to write and would occasionally ask if I could stop by for a visit.  She did not respond to the requests.  However, a few weeks ago I received a response to my most recent attempt to connect.  Her written response to, “Can I stop by to visit?” was, “I don’t care what you do. Make your own decision. Sincerely, your Mother.”

What to do?  Stop and hope it’s a good day, or always wonder if she was having a bad?  Since we were going through the area that evening, I decided to stop.  I must admit it’s difficult to see how she lives, and her behavior.  The visit was short and my family stayed in the car.

My hope is to visit again but I know that it will never be a normal situation.  So does that mean I should have been aborted?  What if my traumatic conception and birth always cause her pain? Would having an abortion have made that pain go away?  I have heard so many women tell me that they regret the abortion they had after being raped-that the abortion made it worse not better.  What about the grandchildren she doesn’t want to see? Are they not real because their mother was conceived in rape? Of course not! Their lives matter as does mine.  Yes, the memories will last a lifetime, but the pregnancy only lasted nine months. But an abortion would not have ended the memories, only my life.  I may not have the fairy tale ending many who have been adopted dream about. The reality of that makes me even more grateful I was adopted and not aborted. I was never given away, I was given a family!

Mary Rathke learned of her conception at the age of 32 yrs, she is a licensed minister, Pro-Life Speaker and is on the board of Save the 1.

Edited by Shawn Spry


I don’t deserve death!

Because of the circumstances concerning my conception–by RAPE–I, and all those who will be conceived in the same manner have been marked for death by a great number of people. We are called the “demon seed,” who are unable to contribute to society, unable to bring our mothers joy. Unprotected, sadly, even by some individuals and organizations who refer to themselves as “pro-life”. How sad that so many who purport to champion the cause of the unborn, consider me “an exception”. But I’m NOT an exception…I am a human being, just like any other preborn human being.

I am here today, because my mother–despite the fact that she was mentally ill AND raped on her way home from work one night–decided my life had value, that no matter how I was conceived, I was valuable and worth protecting. I am far from “demon seed”.  I am a beautiful licensed minister who volunteers to help the homeless, a wife, mother and friend. Yet, like so many minorities in America, I am the target of hate. My people group (those conceived by rape) are not protected by law like many other minority people groups. Instead, every time a law is passed with a rape exception, a clear message is broadcast that my life has no value.  (Current bill being debated with a rape exception is the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act)

What if a certain amount of the population–say a specific racial group, were to be considered  “demon seed?” Wouldn’t there be outrage!?  What if a law was proposed to limit abortions for everyone except the 1% of those minority, would you support it? Ninety-nine percent are worth saving, but not that one percent? This is blatant prejudice.

For someone who was conceived in rape-like me, I see this as a prejudice issue. Similar to a hate crime, we are often referred to “demon seed.” I have received hate mail stating my mother made the wrong choice and should have aborted me. I have friends who, because they were conceived in rape, were spit on. So sad.


If you are Pro-Choice you believe it is the mother’s choice and any child may be aborted. However, if you are Pro-Life you have a decision to make. Are you Pro-Life “except in the case of Mary Rathke, conceived in rape, or Kristi, conceived in rape/incest?” Can you look me in the eyes and tell me my mother should have had the option of legally aborting me and that my life is not worth fighting for?

cropped-rathke-482cp-web-3.jpgThose running a race don’t settle for 99%, they want to finish the race, they don’t train and plan on stopping yards from the finish line, happy they made it that far. Too many have lost focus on the big picture here. The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) does not have exceptions, it does not leave out those who are albino or have vitiligo because they may appear “white” to some. Why do Pro-Life people have exceptions? If you fight for life, I implore you, fight for mine as well.

During World War II the American soldiers did not go into the concentration camps and only liberate the Jewish captives and then deny the gypsies release. They fought to release them all, and so must we!

Please find out who your legislators are by typing in your zip code (click here) and call their offices. Ask them to support Congressman Paul Broun, MD’s amendment to remove the Rape Exception from the “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act.” Let us not allow taxpayer money to be used to target a specific people group for abortion. If the law goes into effect with a rape exception, we are abandoning the one percent, leaving those babies and women in a more vulnerable position, prone to more violence, harm and regret. Their life is worth fighting for!

Legislators do not go back later and remove the exceptions, instead they set precedent that exceptions are okay. Please speak out for these so-called “exceptions”. If you don’t, who will?

Edited by Shawn Spry