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Coerced abortion is much more widespread than we think

by | Apr 16, 2024

By Dave Andrusko

Oft times when words or phrases are set inside of parentheses, it’s a signal that the reader is not to take them seriously. For example, “Bills related to ‘abortion coercion,’ ‘trafficking’ advance in Republican-led legislatures.”

Adding “Republican-led legislatures” —as Kelcie Moseley-Morris does—strongly suggests that only Republicans believe abortion coercion exists and therefore—of course—it’s all hype.

Moseley-Morris talks about one such bill, which is on the desk of the governor of Kansas, which tells us the legislature takes coercion seriously:

House Bill 2436: This bill addresses “abortion coercion,” making it a felony to pressure someone into an abortion, including doctors, family members and partners. After amendments in the Senate, penalties increased to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine for all offenders, but a $10,000 fine if the person charged was the father of the fetus. In the case of coercion that happens in conjunction with rape, stalking, blackmail, human trafficking or other criminal offenses, the court could impose a sentence of 25 years, according to Kansas Reflector.

But how often are women coerced into an abortion, which makes a mockery of “choice”?

Tessa Longbons and David C. Reardon did a scholarly examination and found that coercion is anything but rare. (The underlining is mine.)

Abortion pressure and coercion constitute one of the most widespread but hidden epidemics in America, and one of the least covered by the media. Our latest research shows that these insidious influences are tragically far more common than most people realize.

 

Recently, we conducted a survey of more than 1,000 American women between the ages of 41 and 45, including over 200 women who acknowledged having had abortions. The results show that close to 70 percent of the women who had abortions described them as coerced, pressured, or inconsistent with their own values and preferences. A majority experienced pressure from other people in their lives – belying the dangerous assumption that abortion is strictly a matter of “a woman’s choice.”

Chemical abortions—induced by the “abortion pill” —are ripe for abuse. NRL News Today has run many stories of boyfriends and husband who unbeknownst to the women in their lives have abortion pills sent to a home address.

As Longbons and Reardon explain

The FDA’s approval of mail-order abortion pills has only heightened the risk of coercion. Under this distribution model, prescribers of abortion pills can’t tell whether an abusive boyfriend is hovering in the room during a phone call, or whether a trafficker is really the one filling out the online order form. With mailed pills, they have no way of knowing where the abortion pills ultimately end up – or who takes them.

Longbons and Reardon remind us in their conclusion

No matter our opinions on abortion, Americans can agree that no woman should have to endure an abortion that, in her heart of hearts, isn’t actually what she wants.

Alas, I’m not as sure as they are that “Americans can agree.”

Categories: Abortion