South Down MLA Jim Wells made the remarks on BBC Radio Ulster, in response to the latest information on the number of abortions carried out in Northern Ireland.
He described incidents of pregnancy as a result of rape as "a tragic and difficult situation", but added that the ultimate victim was the unborn child.
"Should he or she be punished for what has happened by having their life terminated? No," Mr Wells told the Nolan Show.
"In Northern Ireland, there are hundreds of married couples who would love to adopt children - a child, a baby - and who could give support in that situation."
Termination of a pregnancy shouldn't be the first option.
Jim Wells, DUP
Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland, but can be carried out in some cases if the pregnancy puts the mother's life at risk or if she may suffer long term mental and/or physical damage.
"Jim Wells has pointed out that the law in Northern Ireland does not permit abortion in the case of rape per se," a DUP spokesman said on Friday.
"The DUP has consistently opposed the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland - a view which has been endorsed by the Northern Ireland public and is shared by almost all main political parties in the province.
"We would like to see as few abortions carried out as possible, but recognise that a small number of abortions are legally carried out in Northern Ireland and victims of rape may be included within this."
Reacting to Mr Well's comments, Alliance MLA Anna Lo said she was "sickened by the labeling that people who are opposed to abortion put on women who have had an abortion".
Speaking in a personal capacity, she added: "It is an extremely sensitive and delicate issue that can be made worse by the words used by those who oppose abortion.
"Women have the right to choose what happens to their body in the circumstances of an unwanted pregnancy."
Ms Lo also raised the issue of equality for women across the UK, as women can choose to have an abortion in England, Scotland and Wales.
"It does not make sense that we force women here to travel to another part of the UK to have an abortion. The undue pressure that this causes is completely unnecessary," she said.
"Jim Wells will soon be the health minister and I would urge him to be more considerate of his comments. We have all seen what happened with the controversy of the American politician who stated that a woman cannot become pregnant if she is raped."
US Congressman Todd Akin, a Republican candidate in the Senate race in Missouri, sparked outrage when he claimed pregnancy as a result of rape was rare.
"If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," he said, before later apologising.
Male politicians should definitely not be dictating what a woman can and cannot do.
Anna Lo, Alliance Party
In a statement released on Thursday, Mr Wells welcomed that the number of abortions in Northern Ireland was "previously over-estimated" and said it would be a relief to pro-life supporters.
He said that he and party colleagues were concerned about "the basis on which some terminations are taking place" and called for the reasons to be recorded to ensure the law is upheld.
A review of abortion statistics by the Department of Health clarified the different terminology used - "medical abortion" and a new subset "termination of pregnancy", which does not include abortions carried out due to miscarriages.
The new figures revealed that of the 73 medical abortions carried out in Northern Ireland last year, 43 were counted as "terminations of pregnancy".