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Michigan Coming Closer to Passing Law to make it a crime to coerce women into having an abortion

by | May 3, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Step by step pro-lifers in Michigan are making headway in making it a crime  to force a woman into having an abortion, either through assaults or threats to her person or employment. Wisconsin has already passed its own version–SB 306–the Coercive and Web Cam Abortion Prevention Act.

The Coercive Abortion Prevention Act (HB 4799) is part of a five-bill package of anti-coercion bills that easily passed the Michigan House of Representatives in March. It establishes coercion to abort as a specific crime and spells out the many ways it would be illegal to coerce.

According to Right to Life of Michigan,

“Research confirms that a substantial number of women feel forced by boyfriends, spouses, parents and others to have an abortion against their will. Women are coerced through threats of physical violence, withdrawal of financial support, loss of housing such as being kicked out, and violation of employment contracts or other legal agreements. Furthermore, numerous studies have confirmed that women presenting for abortion are substantially more likely to be suffering domestic violence.”

Other parts of the package establish penalties, require abortion clinics to screen for coercion and domestic violence as well as post a sign informing women that coercion to abort is a crime, and give a woman the right to bring a civil suit against any person who coerces her to abort.

The state Senate heard testimony April 24 as well as a remarkable personal story from state Sen. Rick Jones. Following the testimony of several women about having been coerced into an abortion, Jones spoke about a 19-year-old’s unplanned pregnancy. According to mlive.com

“He said the father’s parents brought the girl ‘into a restaurant and did everything they could to coerce this young lady into an abortion. Offers of money; offers of all kinds. She resisted that, got an attorney and got full custody of that baby.’

“’She then stayed in college, became a great special education teacher and adopted two special needs children that nobody wanted. The baby in question that they wanted aborted was reading thick books like ‘Harry Potter’ by age 6. At age 7 he tested at ninth-grade level, at age 12 at a college level.

“’He’s my 14-year-old grandson.’”

How widespread is this coercion and what forms does it take? Right to Life of Michigan says

“As many as 64% of women who have abortions report feeling pressured. This pressure often rises to the level of coercion, as housing, university athletic scholarships, and other financial support are used as leverage to force women to abort. Further studies reveal that in an alarming number of cases, coercion escalates into physical violence and even murder. In fact, homicide is the leading cause of death among pregnant women. These bills will give women the legal backing they need when being coerced to abort, and help prevent the tragedy of physical assault and murder of pregnant women.”

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Categories: Legislation