Some alarming studies have shown that many abortions are coerced. Often, women are pressured into making hasty decisions. This adds to the danger abortion poses to their psychological well-being. Here are some statistics:
Up to 64% of abortions involve coercion. A study published in a major international medical journal found that 64% of American women who had abortions felt pressured by others.(1) Coercion can include loss of home, job or family, and even violent assault.(2)
Up to 83% wanted to have the baby. In a survey of women who sought help after abortion, 83% said they would have carried to term if they had received support from the baby’s father, their family, or other important people in their lives.(3)
In 95% of cases, men play a central role in the decision to abort according to a survey of women at abortion clinics.(4)
Husbands and boyfriends threaten women at the clinic. A former abortion clinic security guard testified before the Massachusetts legislature that women were routinely threatened and abused by the husbands and boyfriends who took them to the clinics to make sure they had abortions.(5)
Dangerous consequences if she resists. Coercion can escalate to violence and even murder.(2) Homicide is the leading killer of pregnant women.(6)
The “Forced Abortion in America” report includes examples of molesters posing as fathers to procure cover-up abortions and women being fired, beaten, shot, stabbed, tortured or killed for refusing to abort.(2)
Not being given enough information
** 67% said they received no counseling beforehand.
** 84% reported they received inadequate counseling beforehand.
** 54% were not sure about their decision at the time, yet ** 79% were not counseled about alternatives.(1)
Many women may be making hasty, ill-considered decisions for abortion, according to journal articles by the National Abortion Federation. (7) One in five women served by their clinics are philosophically and morally opposed to abortion.(8) A recent study found that 52% needed more time to make their decision.(1)
Deception and sales tactics. Many who sought answers and help, instead encountered pressure from “counselors” trained to sell abortions in profit-driven clinics.(9) In a survey of women experiencing problems after abortion:
** 66% said counselor’s advice was very biased
** 44% hoped to find an alternative
** 60% were uncertain of their decision
** 71% felt their questions were ignored or trivialized.(3)
Health complications after abortion:
** 31% suffered health complications.(1)
** About 10% suffer immediate complications; of which one-fifth are life-threatening. Hemorrhage, endotoxic shock and anesthesia complications are among the many potential problems.(12)
** Women also risk infertility or problems with future pregnancies, such as ectopic pregnancies, labor complications, miscarriages, stillbirths or premature births, the leading cause of birth defects.(13)
Trauma and suicide
** 65% suffer multiple symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.(1)
** 62% increased risk of death from all causes, including suicide.(10)
** Suicide rates are 6-7 times higher if women abort vs. giving birth.(11)
** 60% of women who had abortions said they felt that “part of me died.”(1)
Increased awareness and declining abortion rates
Majority of women oppose abortion on demand. A poll by the Center for the Advancement of Women, which supports abortion, shows more than half of American women oppose abortion on demand. Legal abortion was the next to last priority for women.(14)
Abortion rates steadily dropping. There has been a slow steady drop in abortion rates over the last 15 years, in part because of raised awareness that abortion is not a “quick and easy” solution.(15)
77% of Americans now realize that abortion takes a life, including one-third of those who describe themselves as strongly pro-choice.(16)
Few regret keeping unintended babies. Studies of women who sought but did not have abortions show that few, if any, later regret their decision or suffer psychological problems from having an unintended child.(17)
Even in hard cases, women often don’t want abortion . ..
Victims say it only intensifies the trauma. In a survey of women who became pregnant through rape or incest, many only aborted because they felt pressured to do so and said abortion only increased their grief and trauma.
** 70% had their babies, and none regretted their decision.
** 78% of those who aborted had regrets and said that abortion was the wrong solution.(18)
Petition for Hearings. An Ad Hoc Committee of Women
Pregnant by Sexual Assault has put together a Petition to Congress and State Legislators to request hearings on this issue. (For a copy of the petition, see the “Hard Cases Booklet” at http://www.unfairchoice.info/resources.htm).
Americans want more research into abortion’s impact on women. The majority of voters surveyed believe government funded research on women’s emotional reactions to abortion should be a high priority.(15)
Impersonal clinics. More than 80% of all abortions are done in non-hospital facilities, at clinics devoted solely to providing abortions and contraceptive services. Most abortions are done by a stranger who has no relationship with the patient, either before or after the procedure.
Often women do not return for post-surgical care.(19)
Low standard of care. The standard of care is often poor. Some abortionists move from state to state to avoid investigations and patient complaints.(20)
Failure to screen for known risk factors. (Screening would eliminate 70% or more of all abortions.)
Most abortionists don’t screen for risk factors or determine whether abortion will benefit their patients. Proper screening would eliminate 70% or more of all abortions.(21)
Profit-driven clinics, high-pressure “counseling.” Many abortion “counselors” are not licensed counselors. Some are trained to “sell” abortions and ease women’s concerns so they will be more likely to abort, thus increasing clinic profits.(9)
The journey toward healing
In the U.S., over 50 million women and men have lost a child to abortion. Many are realizing they are not alone and finding that hope and healing are possible. Experts estimate that post-abortion healing programs have already served as many as 20 million women and others impacted by abortion.
1. VM Rue et. al., “Induced abortion and traumatic stress: A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women,” Medical Science Monitor 10(10): SR5-16, 2004.
2. See the special report, “Forced Abortion in America,” at www.unchoice.info/resources.htm.
3. D. Reardon, Aborted Women, Silent No More (Springfield: IL, Acorn Books, 2002)
4. M.K. Zimmerman, Psassages Through Abortion (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1977)
5. Brian McQuarrie, “Guard, clinic at odds at abortion hearing,” Boston Globe, April 16, 1999.
6. I.L. Horton and D. Cheng, “Enhanced Surveillance for Pregnancy-Associated Mortality-Maryland, 1993-1998,” JAMA 285(11): 1455-1459 (2001); see also J. Mcfarlane et. al., “Abuse During Pregnancy and Femicide: Urgent Implications for Women’s Health,” Obstetrics & Gynecology 100: 27-36 (2002).
7. U. Landy, “Abortion Counseling” A Component of Medical Care,” Clinics in Obs/Gyn 13(1):33-41, 1986.
8. J. Woo, “Abortion Doctor’s Patients Broaden Suits,” Wall Street Journal Oct. 28, 1994, B12:1.
9. Carol Everett with Jack Shaw,, Blood Money (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Books, 1992).
10. DC Reardon et. al., “Deaths Associated With Pregnancy Outcome: A Record Linkage Study of Low Income Women,” Southern Medical Journal 95(8):834-41, Aug. 2002.
11. Gissler, Hemminki & Lonnqvist, “Suicides after pregnancy in Finland, 1987-94: register linkage study,” British Journal of Medicine 313:1431-4, 1996; and M. Gissler, “Injury deaths, suicides and homicides associated with pregnancy, Finland 1987-2000,” European J. Public Health 15(5):459-63,2005.
12. Frank, et.al., “Induced Abortion Operations and Their Early Sequelae,” Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners 35(73):175-180, April 1985; Grimes and Cates, “Abortion: Methods and Complications,” in Human Reproduction, 2nd ed., 796-813; M.A. Freedman, “Comparison of complication rates in first trimester abortions performed by physician assistants and physicians,” Am. J. Public Health 76(5):550-554, 1986).
13. T. Strahan, Detrimental Effects of Abortion: An Annotated Bibliography with Commentary, TW Strahan, ed., (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2002) 188-206. See also “Physical Risks of Abortion” in the “Research and Key Facts Booklet,” p. 5-6, at www.unfairchoice.info/resources.htm.
14. “Is Your Mother’s Feminism Dead? New Agenda for Women Revealed in Landmark Two-Year Study,” press release from the Center for the Advancement of Women (www.advancewomen.org), June 24, 2003; and Steve Ertelt, “Pro-Abortion Poll Shows Majority of Women Are Pro- Life,” LifeNews.com (www.lifenews.com/nat13.html), June 25, 2003.
15. “National Opinion Survey of 600 Adults Regarding Attitudes Toward a Pro-Woman/Pro-Life Agenda,” proprietary poll commissioned by the Elliot Institute, Conducted in Dec. 2002.
16. J.D. Hunter, Before the Shooting Begins: Searching for Democracy in America’s Cultural War (New York: The Free Press, 1994) 93; see also Los Angeles Times Poll, March 19, 1989, question 76.; and “Many in Survey Who Had Abortion Cite Guilt Feelings,” George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, March 19, 1989, p. 28.
17. H Soderberg, “Urban women applying for induced abortion: studies of epidemiology, attitudes, and emotional reactions, 1998,” Dissertation, Dept. of Ob/Gyn. & Community Medicine, Lund University, Malmo, Sweden, 1998.
18. D. Reardon, J. Makimaa, and A. Sobie, eds., Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions, and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2000).
19. D. Reardon, Abortion Malpractice (Denton, TX: Life Dynamics, 1993).
20. M. Crutcher, Lime 5 (Denton, TX: Life Dynamics, 1996).
21. David C. Reardon, “The Duty to Screen: Clinical, Legal, and Ethical Implications of Predictive Risk Factors of Post-Abortion Maladjustment,” The Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy 20(2):33-114, Spring 2004.
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