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Pro-“Choice” Politicians Block Law Protecting People From Forced Abortions

by | Jun 11, 2024

To protect men who divorce wives who won’t abort, they denied legal protection to abused and sexually trafficked people.

By Sarah Terzo

An Attempt to Ban Forced Abortion

A bill passed in Kansas would’ve made forced abortion a crime, had it not been vetoed. Bill 2436 banned:

Threatening to harm or physically restrain an individual or the creation or execution of any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause an individual to believe that failure to perform an act would result in financial harm to, or physical restraint of, an individual;

Abusing or threatening abuse of the legal system, including threats of arrest or deportation without regard to whether the individual being threatened is subject to arrest or deportation under state or federal law;

 

Knowingly destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating, or possessing any actual or purported passport or other immigration document…

 

Facilitating or controlling an individual’s access to a controlled substance…

Sex traffickers whose victims are undocumented couldn’t use their lack of citizenship status to blackmail them into unwanted abortions.

Examples of “financial harm” in the bill included predatory loans with unfair interest, illegal conditions placed on wages, extortion, or “any other adverse financial consequence.”

Many women have come forward with stories of coerced abortion.

Inspired by Her Own Story of Attempted Forced Abortion

Kansas Rep. Rebecca Schmoe introduced House Bill 2813, a precursor to 2436. Her own experience inspired her. Her doctor spent an hour trying to bully her into an abortion when she was pregnant with her son, who is now 21. The doctor told her the pregnancy would kill her.

Schmoe says, “I was called selfish at least 10 times, then I stopped counting.”

In her testimony before the legislature, she says the doctor told her:

Why are you being so selfish? How dare you make your parents watch you die?… Your selfish decision to even try to carry a baby will result in your parents having to pick out a coffin for their own daughter. Why would you do that to them?…

 

It’s not even a big deal, just an outpatient appointment. Don’t your parents deserve that? No one even has to know. You’ll never even have to think about it again. Or you can go ahead and die a slow painful death and destroy your parent’s life.

 

The baby is half dead already. You aren’t saving anyone. The baby is going to die inside you and take you with it. It is selfish to put your family through this.

 

You have to make the appointment right now. You can’t leave the office without making the appointment.

Schmoe survived the pregnancy and her son is a healthy 21-year-old today.

Women Forced into Abortion by Clinic Workers

One woman described a forced abortion at Planned Parenthood. She changed her mind on the abortion table:

…I told them that I did not want to do this. I had changed my mind … The doctor began to tell me that I didn’t need a baby and that I had my whole life ahead of me.

 

I began to cry harder, and they strapped me down. I asked them to please unstrap me and let me leave. The anesthesia was administered, and I fell asleep to the sound of their laughter.

Catherine Glenn Foster, former president of Americans United for Life, was 19 when she endured a forced abortion:

I said “please let me up. Let me off this table, out of this room. I don’t want this anymore.” I said, “I can’t do this. This is wrong and I feel really bad about this. Just let me go. You can keep the money.”

 

And they shouted for more people, and I had four people holding me down. One—a nurse—and a staff member on each armThe doctor aborted my child. I’m screaming.

Crystal wanted her baby, but her boyfriend insisted on an abortion. She says, “I was never asked what I wanted to do about the baby, he decided for me.”

On the operating table, Crystal changed her mind and told the abortionist to stop, but he ignored her:

As I lay back on the bed, I started sternly saying no several times. That’s when the doctor had the nurses hold me down…

 

I yelled, “STOP! I can’t do this!” That is when the doctor told me, “Don’t scream, you’ll scare the other patients.” I felt violated and threatened, both physically and emotionally.

 

She said the abortion was “excruciating.”

Pressured into an Abortion by Others

In other cases, parents pressure teens. Layla was 15 and wanted to keep her baby. But when her father learned about her pregnancy, she said, he “went ballistic”:

[T]he father who had once called me his little princess relentlessly beat me down…My father never let up day in and day out. I was in a torture chamber. Only the prison cell was my home…

Her father told her he’d commit suicide unless she aborted.

This terrified Layla. She said, “I was being asked to make a horrific choice: the death of my child, or the death of my father.”

Layla gave in and aborted. She suffered years of trauma and regret after her forced abortion.

Lorijo Nerad and her husband were poor when she became pregnant. She didn’t want an abortion. He did and threatened to leave her. But the most serious coercion came from her caseworker at the welfare office.

The caseworker berated Nerad and threatened her, then called Planned Parenthood and made her an abortion appointment. Afraid of losing her benefits, Nerad had the abortion.

Mary was the victim of three coerced abortions. The first time Mary became pregnant, she was happy and wanted to keep the baby. But when she told her abusive boyfriend, he “flew into a terrifying rage.”

He demanded she abort and ignored her pleas. She agreed to go to an abortion facility and speak to someone. She said:

I was crying my eyes out … I knew it was impossible for me to stand up to my boyfriend on my own, but I thought that this “counselor” could support me and perhaps help him see reason.

 

Instead, she sided with him. I now had two people haranguing me. I was saying over and over that I wanted to have the baby, but the two of them just bulldozed over me completely. I felt cornered. I was sitting down, and they were both standing over me. I had once received training in how to close a sale, and I felt that this “counselor” must’ve been to the same sales training seminars.

She finally gave in.

The abuse escalated after the abortion. Pregnant again, she was “so conditioned to being under his control” that she didn’t resist a second abortion. She had one more abortion before breaking free from her abuser.

Opposition to Protecting People from Forced Abortion

One would think a law against forced abortion wouldn’t be controversial. After all, aren’t pro-choice people, well, pro-choice? Nevertheless, so-called pro-choice politicians opposed the law.

Representative Jo Ella Hoye worried about husbands who threaten to divorce their wives if they refuse abortion. She speculated these men could be convicted, even though there is nothing in the bill to indicate this. She says:

If you don’t agree on a pregnancy outcome for abortion, I do think that should be able to be cause for divorce. I don’t think that we should create a crime that would charge somebody if they just said, ‘Hey, if you don’t get an abortion, we’re going to get divorced.’ I think that does go too far.

Hoye is fine with men threatening their pregnant wives with divorce and wants to protect those men. She voted against the bill, denying protection to all coerced women, because these men might get into legal trouble.

Keep in mind that this bill would’ve made it illegal for an abuser or pimp to steal or destroy someone’s passport, threaten them with legal trouble, call the police and turn them in for real or imagined crimes, use their immigration status against them, dock their wages or fire them, threaten them with physical violence, or blackmail them to force them to have an abortion.

Threats of physical abuse are already technically illegal, though they often aren’t prosecuted or taken seriously by police. But Foye was willing to allow the rest of these things to remain legal, all because of the mere possibility that men who divorce their wives when they refuse to have abortions would be prosecuted.

She, and the other politicians I will mention, were so concerned about coercive men’s rights that they were willing to deny pregnant people any protection against abortion coercion.

Rep. Ford Carr, a Wichita Democrat, also defended men who leave their pregnant partners when they refuse to obey them about having an abortion. He says:

Quite honestly, oftentimes they’re scared at the sound of, you know, ‘There’s going to be another life that is going to be a part of this and I’m not ready for it. I had dreams, and I had aspirations, and this wasn’t part of it. Then, you’re welcome to go that direction on your own, but I don’t want to.’

 

Could a vindictive mother, could she then enact this and say that this was a definition of coercion? I think this is just a bridge too far.

Since in all cases, a defendant is innocent until proven guilty, a “vindictive mother” would still have to prove her case in a court of law.

Carr also said, “I just see how this could turn into a real, real sticky situation for a lot of young people.”

He doesn’t seem to care about the “sticky situation,” for the pregnant person. Not even the “sticky situation” of those who are turned into immigration officials, falsely accused of crimes, threatened with financial ruin, or who have their passports and documents stolen. He’s willing to let all that go unpunished to protect men who leave when they don’t get their way.

The bill was vetoed by Governor Laura Kelly.

According to the Kansas City Star, Kelly said that “threatening violence against someone else is already a crime.”

They quoted her saying:

… I am concerned with the vague language in this bill and its potential to intrude upon private, often difficult, conversations between a person and their family, friends, and health care providers.

 

This overly broad language risks criminalizing Kansans who are being confided in by their loved ones or simply sharing their expertise as a health care provider.

So-called feminist and pro-abortion activist Jessica Valenti called the veto “good news.” She claimed, “The language [in the bill] was so broad that even divorcing someone could be seen as financial coercion.”

Valenti isn’t basing this conclusion on anything in the law itself, it’s pure conjecture on her part.

But it makes it very clear where her priorities lie.

Not only do these “pro-choice” people see nothing wrong with a man who says “Abort or I’ll divorce you,” they consider protecting him more important than protecting victims of sexual trafficking and abuse.

Valenti, Hoye, Carr, and Kelly found a coercive man more sympathetic and worthy of protection than a victimized pregnant person (who usually identifies as a woman). And they call themselves feminists?

Unless the veto can be overruled, women in Kansas will continue to be prey to violent and abusive men. Minors will still be vulnerable to coercion by parents, and pregnant people will have no legal recourse if they are held down and forced into abortions at abortion facilities.

Editor’s note. This article originally appeared on Sarah Terzo’s SubstackYou can read more of her articles here.

Categories: State Legislation