The Coerced Abortion Epidemic
64% involve coercion. Pressure can become violent.(2) 67% not counseled.(1) 65% suffer trauma.(1) Suicide 6-7 times higher.(3)
Intense pressure to abort can come from husbands, parents, doctors, partners, counselors, or close friends and family. They may threaten or blackmail a woman into abortion. These are not idle threats. Coercion can escalate to violence. Women who resist abortion have been beaten, tortured and killed. One husband jumped on his wife’s stomach to force an abortion. A mother forced her daughter at gunpoint to go to the abortion clinic. A woman was forcibly injected by the baby’s father with an abortifacient drug.(2)
Unwanted Non-Choice … Their Choice, Not Hers.
Reasons women give for having abortions:4
*** Forced by mother
*** Father opposed
*** Husband or boyfriend persuaded me
*** No other option given
*** Would have been kicked out
*** Loss of family’s support
*** Lack of support from society
*** Clinic persuaded me
*** In 95% of all cases, the male partner played a central role in the decision.(5)
*** 45% of men interviewed at abortion clinics recalled urging abortion, including 37% of married men.(6)
*** In the above study, men justified being the primary decision maker, regarding the abortion.(6)
*** 64% of women who aborted felt pressured by others.(1)
Coerced Choice … Taken to the Clinic to Make Sure She Keeps the Appointment
A former abortion clinic security guard testified before the Massachusetts legislature that women were routinely threatened and abused by the boyfriends or husbands who took them to the clinics to make sure they underwent their scheduled abortions.(7)
Many women are also pressured by clinic staff financially rewarded for selling abortions.(8)
Forced Choice … Threats Can Escalate to Violence or Murder …the Leading Killer of Pregnant Women
The pressure can escalate. Many pregnant women have been killed by partners trying to prevent the birth, and being pregnant places women at higher risk of being attacked.(9)
Murder is the leading cause of death among pregnant women.(10)
92% of women surveyed list domestic violence and assault as the women’s issue that is of highest concern to them.(11)
Uninformed Non-Choice … .When I learned the truth, I can’t tell you how betrayed I felt…
*** 54% were unsure of their decision, yet 67% received no counseling beforehand.(1)
*** 84% received inadequate counseling beforehand.(1) 79% were not told about alternatives.(1)
*** Many were misinformed by experts about fetal development, abortion alternatives or risks.(12)
*** Many were denied essential personal, family, societal or economic support.(12)
Unsafe Choice … American Voters Concerned About Coercion and Risks; Support Research and Screening.
Nearly half of voters believe coerced abortion is common. They’ll support candidates who advocate legislation holding abortionists liable for failing to screen for evidence of coercion.(13)
Nearly 80% of abortions take place in non-hospital facilities, ill-equipped for emergency care.(14) Americans are kept in the dark about unwanted abortions, risks and risk factors.
The Aftermath. Women Pay a High Price. Trauma.(1) Injury.(1) Grief. Death from All Causes.(17) 6-7 Times Higher Suicide.(3)
*** 31% had health complications afterwards.(1)
*** 65% suffer multiple symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.(1)
*** 65% higher risk of clinical depression.(15)
*** 10% have immediate complications, some are life-threatening.(16)
*** 3.5x higher risk of death from all causes.(17)
*** Suicide rates 6-7x higher if women abort vs. giving birth.(3)
Young Women Forced to Abort
By Parents, Husbands, Molesters . . . Even Pastors and School Officials
Mother Charged with Forcing 15-Year-Old at Gunpoint into Clinic
In Florida, Glenda Dowis was charged with forcing her daughter at gunpoint to go to an abortion clinic, where clinic workers called police. According to a staff member, Glenda Dowis said that if Brittany did not have the abortion, “I’m going to blow her brains out.” Police said Glenda Dowis told staff to perform the abortion even though her daughter “may seem a bit teary.”
Molester Buys Abortion. Twins Get Seven More Years of Rape
In New Orleans, a 41-year-old man received two life sentences for raping his girlfriend’s twin daughters and using abortion to cover up his crimes. The victims testified that the assaults began when they were 10 and continued for seven years. One of the girls said she had two abortions after she became pregnant from the man when she was 15 and 17. She said the man paid for one abortion, unbeknownst to the mother. Her mother, who was told that the girl was raped by a date, paid for the second abortion.
Lawsuit: School Counselor Bypassed Parents, Law to Arrange Student’s Abortion
Howard and Marie Carter accused Pennsylvania school guidance counselor William Hickey of coercing their 17-year-old daughter into undergoing an abortion, which was done out of state to avoid parental consent laws. The suit noted that when the teen expressed doubts, Hickey told her, “someday you’ll look back on this and laugh.”
13-Year-Old Returned to Molester After First Of Two Abortions
In Arizona, a judge found Planned Parenthood negligent for failing to report an abortion performed on a 13-year-old girl who was sexually abused by her 23-year-old foster brother. Shawn Stephens took the girl to the clinic, but Planned Parenthood did not notify authorities until the girl returned six months later for a second abortion. A lawsuit alleged that the girl was subjected to repeated abuse and a second abortion because of the clinic’s failure to report suspected abuse. Stephens was sentenced to prison and lifetime probation.
School Employees and Boyfriend’s Mother Charged in Teen’s Coerced Abortion
In Oregon, investigators found that Dorothy Carr, Colleen Fettig, and Cynthia Frye took 18-year-old Lea Huber for an abortion without her parents’ knowledge. Lea accused Frye, her boyfriend’s mother, and Carr and Fettig, who worked at her school, of coercing her to abort by “threatening to turn her in for sex abuse” of her teenage boyfriend.
Judge Restrains Parents in Daughter’s Forced Abortion Case
In Jackson, MS, a judge issued a temporary restraining order against the parents of a 16-year-old girl after they allegedly tried to force her into having an abortion. The girl said she pleaded with her parents to let her have the baby but they made an appointment for her at a local abortion clinic.
Mother Helps Son Use Abortion to Cover Up Statutory Rape of 12-Year-Old Girl
Pennsylvania mother Joyce Farley began campaigning for a federal law to prevent anyone from taking a minor out of state for an abortion in order to circumvent parental consent laws after her 12 year-old daughter was taken out of state for a secret abortion by Rosa Hartford, the mother of the 18-year-old who had impregnated her. Joyce learned of the abortion after her daughter began experiencing complications, including severe pain and bleeding. Hartford’s son was later convicted for interfering in the custody of a minor.
Parents Use At Least 10 Abortions to Cover Up Repeated Sexual Abuse of Daughters
The parents of three teenaged girls pleaded guilty in Baltimore Circuit Court to three counts of first-degree rape and child sexual abuse. The father had repeatedly raped the three girls over a period of at least nine years, and the rapes were covered up by at least ten abortions. At least five of the abortions were performed by the same abortionist at the same clinic.
Juvenile Prison Sued Over Sexual Abuse, Coerced Abortions of Young Girls
Nine women who had been detained at a state detention facility for juvenile girls in Chalkville, Alabama, filed a lawsuit alleging that male guards at the facility watched them take showers, strip-searched them, pressured or forced them into having sex, beat them, and pressured those who became pregnant into having abortions. More than three dozen girls reportedly made similar allegations, and attorneys said they received additional complaints from women who had been held at Chalkville up to 20 years earlier.
Men Charged With Molesting Several Girls; One Victim Testifies She Underwent Abortion at 13
Two Indiana men: Billy Banks, Sr., 67, and his son, Jimmy Lou Banks, 40, were arrested and charged with sexually molesting several young girls. A 42-year-old woman told police that Billy Banks began molesting her in 1965 when she was 5 years old, and that she had an abortion at 13 after she became pregnant by him.
Woman: Abuser Punched Her in Stomach After Forced Abortion Doesn’t Work; Causes Miscarriage
Augencia Jasso of New Mexico was charged with physically and sexually abusing a young girl over a number of years, beginning when she was seven and living in Mexico. The woman told police that the abuse continued when she moved to New Mexico and that Jasso repeatedly threatened to kill her and her family if she told anyone. She also said that when she became pregnant, Jasso took her to a Planned Parenthood office for an abortion, but after finding that the office was closed, he punched her in the stomach, causing her to miscarry.
Abuser Poses as Father of 16-Year-Old Girl in Order to Obtain Abortion
David A. Gillis, 36, was sentenced to 18 months to two years in prison for felony child abuse after he posed as the father of a 16-year-old girl whom he was sexually abusing and signed consent forms for an abortion at an Omaha abortion clinic. Gillis claimed he was remorseful about the situation, but prosecutors said he continued to write to the girl while in jail and filed frivolous protection orders against her parents.
Man Sentenced to Prison for Ten Years of Sexual Abuse; Victim Had Abortion Out of Fear
Michael Paul Weber of Philadelphia was sentenced to 20-40 years for raping and physically abusing a young girl in his care over a period of ten years, beginning when she was 8 years old. The girl said that when she became pregnant, she had an abortion out of fear of being further abused by Weber.
Women Blackmailed into Abortion
Homelessness, Humiliation, Solitary Confinement or a Push Down stairs
Homeless Woman Reports Being Denied Shelter Until She Submits to Abortion
Shontrese Otrey won a $25,000 settlement from Emergency Shelters, Inc., of Richmond, VA, after she was coerced by staff members to get an abortion. Shontrese said she was told that the shelter did not provide services for pregnant homeless women. She stated that a staff member drove her to the bank to withdraw money for the abortion, then took her to the abortion clinic.
Actress Fired For Being Pregnant; TV Producer Wonders Why She Didn’t “Just Abort.”
Actress Hunter Tylo won a pregnancy discrimination suit against the producers of the Fox TV show Melrose Place after she was fired from the cast because she was pregnant. Her lawsuit alleged that one of the show’s producers remarked, “Why doesn’t she just go out and get an abortion? Then she can work.”
Woman Sues Prison After Forced Abortifacient Drug Kills Her Child
In Hawaii, Ann Hose sued the Oahu Correctional Center for forcibly aborting her child. According to the lawsuit, a nurse injected a birth control drug into her abdomen, even though Hose informed them that she was pregnant. Hose had been imprisoned on a bank fraud conviction. She said she was told she would be put in solitary confinement and labeled a troublemaker if the intake process did not go smoothly.
Medic Says She Aborted After Boss Threatened to Fire Her
Three paramedics accused Washington, D.C. Assistant Emergency Medical Services Chief Samanthia Robinson of pressuring them into having abortions by telling them they could be fired if they became pregnant their first year on the job. One woman told authorities she aborted despite her beliefs because she was afraid of losing her job. She said Robinson told her “she had a choice to make.”
Law School Grad Uses Sex Videotape in Attempt to Blackmail Girlfriend into Abortion
Nicholas Griffin, a Florida law school graduate, was sentenced for trying to force his ex-girlfriend to have an abortion. He hired friends to blackmail his girlfriend by threatening to mail copies of a videotape the couple had made of themselves having sex to the woman’s family, friends, and employer unless she had the abortion. The woman later gave birth to a girl.
Basketball Coach Accuses School of Firing Her for Refusing to Have an Abortion
Sharrona Alexander won a settlement against the University of California at Berkeley, accusing the head coach of firing her after she refused to quit or to have an abortion. Sharrona later gave birth to a son. She sued for sexual discrimination and breach of contract for forcing her to choose “between her child and a paycheck.”
Restaurant Sued for Terminating Employee Who Became Pregnant
Jennifer James filed a lawsuit against a Long Island restaurant, alleging that she was terminated when she became pregnant. Jennifer said she was told to “consider her options” when she told a supervisor she was pregnant. She later gave birth to a girl.
Elite Model Agency Founder Accused of Sexually Abusing a Minor and Arranging Her Abortion
John Casablancas, founder of Los Angeles’ prestigious Elite modeling agency, was named in a sex abuse lawsuit. An aspiring model said he began sexually abusing her when she was 15 and arranged for her to have an abortion when she became pregnant.
Funeral Home Employee Wins Lawsuit Over Coerced Abortion
In Florida, Nikki Schmitz filed a lawsuit against Fisher-Pou Funeral Home, saying that her supervisor badgered her into an abortion because her baby was biracial. Nikki and three other former employees accused Deborah Flannagan of pressuring Nikki to abort, making financial arrangements and taking Nikki for the abortion. Nikki said she was later fired from her job for interracial dating.
Woman Files Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Against Maternity Clothing Retailer
In Philadelphia, Cynthia Papageorge sued Mother’s Work, a maternity clothing retailer, for firing her and other employees after they became pregnant. Cynthia, a former district manager, accused the vice-president of firing her during her 37th week of pregnancy after telling her she wouldn’t be able to handle her job.
Woman Wins Settlement After Accusing Boss of Coerced Abortion and Threats
Nicole Bergstrom Ek of Minnesota won an out-of-court settlement for an undisclosed amount from her employer, Duluth Little Stores, after her boss tried to pressure her to abort. Ek said her boss mistreated her while she was pregnant and threatened to push her down the stairs during her sixth month of pregnancy.
For More Examples These are only a sampling of the pressures faced by girls and women whose unplanned pregnancies inconvenience others. For more information and examples of coerced abortion and pregnancy- and abortion-related violence, visit:
These are only examples from court records of lawsuits that were won and abusers who were caught. How many women have gone through similar experiences without getting any form of justice?
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 www.unchoice.info for futher information and cases.
3. M Gissler et. al., “Pregnancy Associated Deaths in Finland 1987-1994 — definition problems and benefits of record linkage,” Acta Obsetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 76:651-657 (1997); and M. Gissler, “Injury deaths, suicides and homicides associated with pregnancy, Finland 1987-2000,” European J. Public Health 15(5):459-63 (2005).
4. Frederica Mathewes-Green, Real Choices (Ben Lomond, CA: Conciliar Press, 1997).
5. Mary K. Zimmerman, Passage Through Abortion (New York, Prager Publishers, 1977).
6. Arthur Shostak and Gary McLouth, Men and Abortion: Lessons, Losses, and Love (New York: Preager Publishers, 1984).
7. Brian McQuarrie, “Guard, clinic at odds at abortion hearing,” Boston Globe, April 16, 1999.
8. Carol Everett with Jack Shaw, Blood Money (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Books, 1992). See also Pamela Zekman and Pamela Warwick, “The Abortion Profiteers,” Chicago Sun Times special reprint, Dec. 3, 1978 (originally published Nov. 12, 1978), p. 2-3, 33.
9. Julie A. Gazmararian et al., “The Relationship Between Pregnancy Intendedness and Physical Violence in Mothers of Newborns,” Obstetrics & Gynecology, 85 :1031 (1995); Hortensia Amaro et al., “Violence During Pregnancy and Substance Use,” American Journal of Public Health, 80: 575 (1990); and J. McFarlane et al., “Abuse During Pregnancy and Femicide: Urgent Implications for Women’s Health,” Obstetrics & Gynecology, 100: 27, 27-36 (2002).
10. 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).
11. “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. 12. See Theresa Burke, Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2000) and www.unchoice.info.
13. “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.
14. D. Reardon, Abortion Malpractice (Denton, TX: Life Dynamics, 1993)
15. JR Cougle, DC Reardon & PK Coleman, “Depression Associated With Abortion and Childbirth: A Long-Term Analysis of the NLSY Cohort,” Medical Science Monitor 9(4):CR105-112, 2003.
16. 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).
17. M Gissler et. al., “Pregnancy Associated Deaths in Finland 1987-1994 — definition problems and benefits of record linkage,” Acta Obsetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 76:651-657, (1997). Another study found that, compared to women who gave birth, women who had abortions had a 62% higher risk of death from all causes for at least eight years after their pregnancies. DC Reardon et. al., “Deaths Associated With Pregnancy Outcome: A Record Linkage Study of Low Income Women,” Southern Medical Journal 95(8):834-41, (2002).
18. Elaine Hilberman and Kit Munson, “Sixty Battered Women,” Victimology, 2: 460-470 (1977-78).
19. “The Many Faces of Coercion,” The Post-Abortion Review, 8(1): 5-6 (Jan.-March 2000). See also R.M. Tolman, “Protecting the children of battered women,” J. Interpersonal Violence, 3(4): 476-483 (1988).
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