Rebecca Kiessling (born July 22, 1969) is an American anti-abortion activist and attorney. Her advocacy is focused toward ending abortions, especially in the case of rape.
Kiessling was born on 22 July 1969 in Michigan. She was raised in Detroit by a Jewish family and had her bat mitzvah as a teenaged girl. She graduated from law school at age 23.
During the 1960s, Kiessling's mother was raped at knifepoint, and she became pregnant following the assault. She was then advised by her rape counselor that she obtain illegal abortions from back alley clinics since abortion was illegal by Michigan law, and consulting a legal physician for the procedure would have been costly. However, she was deterred from having an illegal abortion due to the unsanitary area and practices there. After she had given birth to Kiessling, her mother gave her up for adoption.
At age 19, Kiessling met with her birth mother, Joann, who has told Kiessling that her biological father was a serial rapist, whom she described as a "Caucasian and of large build". Additionally, she told Kiessling that if abortion had been legal at the time she fell pregnant with her, she would have had an abortion. But six years later, Kiessling's mother has since recanted her earlier pronouncements, saying that she was glad that Kiessling had been born.
Kiessling became involved with the anti-abortion movement after she found out she was conceived from rape and was almost aborted by her birth mother. She has described her mother's near abortion experience as her "life changing, near-death experience". She has since advocated for restrictions on abortions, including in cases of rape and incest. Kiessling has been critical of anti-abortion legislations that did not include a rape exception, citing her personal experience. Such include the Hyde Amendment that bans taxpayer funding on abortion, and the "Obamacare" which she has described as "a joke that holds no weight". She has also criticized the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act introduced by Republican New Jersey Representative Chris Smith.
Kiessling was critical of then Republican Senator Rick Santorum for having referred to children conceived through rape as a "gift from God" in one of his presidential campaigns in 2012, as well as then Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock for his recent comment that rape in the context of abortion is "something that God intended to happen". Mourdock clarified to have been misinterpreted the following day.
Kiessling founded "Save The 1", a pro-life organization that serves as a ministry for women who chose to reject abortion despite being pregnant from rape. She also serves as co-founder of "Hope After Rape Conception" and "Embryo Defense".
In March 2017, she spoke for the Irish far-right, anti-abortion group Youth Defence at the Citizens' Assembly which as of March 2017 is debating Ireland's constitutional ban on abortion. The majority of Kiessling’s presentation differed from the script she had submitted to the assembly in advance, and she spoke of graphic descriptions of terminations.
Kiessling has been married to her husband Robert Kiessling since 1998. They have five children: three biological daughters named Carina, Coralie, and Contessa; and two adopted sons, Caleb and Kyler. At age 23, Kiessling, who had been raised in the Jewish faith was invited by a friend to attend Mass after suffering from an abusive relationship with a boyfriend she went to law school with, which led to her conversion to Christianity.