Coerced Abortions in America

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lampadcropIldiko Curtis – Acting Director of Women For Life International

Ildiko was born in Budapest, Hungary. In 1963 she moved to Germany where she met her husband. She immigrated to the US in 1975. Ildiko studied Administration of Justice and holds a nursing license. Today she lives with her husband and three children in Texas. She travels with pro-life organizations as pro-life organizer and spokesperson. Her work has extended to Western Africa and Eastern Europe. She is also American Representative for Endeavour Forum Inc., a Non-Governmental Organization in Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the UN.

Notes on speech given June 3rd, 2016 at the International Conference on Life in Budapest, Hungary

There is a way to reduce abortions!

While listening to many heartrending post -abortive women’s stories followed by reading the research data on post abortive women,  I realized that in the US almost 2 out of 3 had been coerced, blackmailed, or forced into abortion and these numbers can be higher in other countries. Sadly, post abortive women’s narratives have been dampened down for many years, but now research validates their collective experience of coercion.*

Coercion includes: bullying, threatening, pressuring, intimidating, and forcing another to act in an involuntary manner. As it applies to abortion, it can be as subtle as omitting information, manipulating the terminology or providing insufficient data.   Pressure to abort can grow into violence and then even into killing; homicide is the #1 killer among pregnant women.

Coercion has continued because it is rarely reported. According to the United Nations, “Coerced abortion is explicitly recognized as a violation of basic rights and principles”. Coercion can be a direct or indirect pressure on a person, both of which are illegal.  Abortion providers have ignored the signs of coercion and this makes them complicit in forced abortion. This must change!   Forcing women to abort should have serious legal implications! *

The Elliot Institute for Social Science Research facility, an advocate for women and men seeking post-abortion healing,  explains that the pregnant body undergoing major hormonal changes leaves the woman more emotionally, mentally and physically vulnerable.  In this state any woman should be more protected, but sadly 64% of them felt pressured by others or even physically threatened to abort. The pro-choice side will not admit to these facts but many post -abortive women stated that it was not their decision to terminate the pregnancy.  Furthermore, decision-making while under crisis is compromised and many abortions are performed on crisis pregnancies. Moreover, to aggravate the situation, many of them were misinformed about fetal development and all the risk factors.   Raped teens, especially, are hurried into abortion.*

In one study 92% of post abortive women said that they were misinformed about fetal development and all the risk factors.  In this study 67% received no counseling beforehand, 79% were not informed about alternatives and 84% were not given enough information to make an informed choice. Most women felt rushed or uncertain before terminating their pregnancy.  Sadly, women are nearly 4 times more likely to die after an abortion from high risk taking activities stated the Finnish National Research And Development Center for Welfare and Health.  For example, a woman who engages in high risk behaviors such as drugs and alcohol is not only exposed to the direct effects of the substances, but also secondary risk such as motor vehicle accidents and dangerous social and relational circumstances.*

Another study revealed that 65% of those carrying a child suffered psychological trauma symptoms resulting in suicide rates of post abortive women being 6 times higher. What are psychological trauma symptoms?  They include: shame, anxiety disorders, feeling numb, depression, thoughts of suicide, panic, flashback/nightmares, self-hatred, rage, eating disorders, alcohol and drug use, behavioral changes, secretiveness, anguish, bonding with her children in unhealthy ways, etc. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 2010 study, reported that US women  had a 98 percent increased risk for any kind of mental health disorders compared to women who had not have an abortion. Also they suffered:

  • 59 percent increased risk for suicidal thoughts
  • 61 percent increased risk for mood disorders
  • 61 percent increased risk for social anxiety disorders
  • 261 percent increased risk for alcohol abuse
  •  280% heightened risk for any substance abuse!
  •  60% of all women with abortions said, “Part of me died”. *

The expectant woman’s coercers may be family members or friends who revert to manipulation; or partners who apply force; or social workers and abortion counselors who advise through their own pro-choice agenda; or pastors, teachers or doctors who pressure; or employers that exploit; or clinics that function in a dual -interest profit based agenda. *

  • 45% of men interviewed at abortion clinics stated they were pushing abortion which is a type of coercion; including 37% of married men and 95% of men overall played a central role in the decision. Teens are at higher risk of becoming victims of coercion.  Since abortion clinics neglect to screen for coercion, we can see a strong correlation between the 64% who coerced and the 65% who suffer mental trauma symptoms, including PTSD.  The trauma numbers could be reduced, if the abortion counselors screened for pressure to abort and other predictive risk factors before terminating pregnancy. *

Abortion does not help trafficked victims; it only leads to further exploitation. 70% of rape/incest victims decided to keep their baby and not one of them regretted it, but of those who went through with the abortion, 78% found that the abortion only intensified their trauma. Research also revealed that women who are pregnant have a 14% higher homicide rate over non -pregnant women. Domestic violence victims claim that the attacks during their pregnancy focused on their abdomen. *

The pressure on the pregnant ladies comes to abort mostly from the mother, father, husband/partner, missing social support and abortion clinic staff.*

Many women experience psychological trauma during and after their pregnancy.  As if that wasn’t enough, there is also the potential that the abortion could physically injure or kill them. Carol Everett, a former abortion clinic operator, stated that, “We are maiming at least one woman a month.”  In a research study on “How common is Coercion?” the Elliot Institute  reported on 3 different studies on abortion risk factors.  Sadly, most research studies on this topic have been done by those who favor abortions. *

  • The first study was done by Gutmacher Institute, which was named after former Planned Parenthood President Alan Gutmacher which states that 30% of women are being coerced into abortion. Their study tested for “perceived pressure from others” but it didn’t include deceptive, rushed or conflicted advising. Also their clients were interviewed on site at the abortion clinic with their male partner at their side who may very well be the one pressuring the mother into abortion.*
  • The second study was limited to women who cope with post abortions problems. Of these women seeking counseling 55% felt forced by others to abort, 61% thought others controlled their lives and 44% wished they would have been offered an alternative option to abortion.*
  • A third study was produced by the American Psychological Task Force on Abortion and Mental Health. The APA Task Force report on Mental Health and Abortion pages 5, 11, and 92 lists the identified risks factors*:
  1. terminating a pregnancy that is wanted or meaningful
  2. perceived pressure from others to terminate a pregnancy
  3. perceived opposition to the abortion from partners, family, and/or friends
  4. lack of perceived social support from others
  5. various personality traits (e.g., low self-esteem, a pessimistic outlook, low-perceived control over life)
  6. a history of mental health problems prior to the pregnancy
  7. feelings of stigma
  8. perceived need for secrecy
  9. exposure to antiabortion picketing
  10. use of avoidance and denial coping strategies
  11. Feelings of commitment to the pregnancy
  12. ambivalence about the abortion decision
  13. low perceived ability to cope with the abortion
  14. history of prior abortion
  15. late term abortion *

It is the duty of a physician to screen for these risk factors before a surgical procedure. Each person’s unique disposition determines the severity of the post-abortion injury produced by the abortion.*

There are several states in the US like North Dakota and Nebraska that have passed laws mandating abortionists and screen women before an abortion, insuring pregnant women are not being coerced. Doctors are to be held responsible for failing to screen for coercion. The legal group, Center Against Forced Abortions, offers resources that a girl or a woman can give to her parents or others informing them that she has a legal right to continue her pregnancy and outlines penalties they may face for forcing an abortion. It includes a letter to abortionists informing them that the girl or women is being forced to abort and can’t legally consent to the procedure and what the legal consequences of going ahead without her consent would be, said Allen Parker of CAFA, in an interview.*

The Elliot Institute reported a type of predictor for “greater abortion stress syndrome” if a woman enters the abortion facility with a male figure at her side.  Frequently women who bring along a man to the clinic do so, because she didn’t really want the abortion and therefore would most likely end up with “greater post -abortion stress syndrome”.  Either:

  • she might have been so unsure of the abortion that she needed to bring along support or
  • the male partner asserted some kind of pressure to abort and was there to make sure she was going to go through with it or
  • he failed her with his deficient commitment to their relationship. In none of these cases does she feel supported. *

According to post abortive women, the choice to abort came from the male partner’s attitude toward the pregnancy. If he was not truly excited about his baby and even supported her abortion, then the woman read this as a lack of commitment to their relationship, as stated in the Elliot research. *

Here are some examples of coercion:

  • “The doctor leaned across his mahogany desk and snapped, ‘It’s not a baby!”*
  • “Sandra Morean said, “My husband told me, “either you have an abortion or I’ll leave you.”*
  • “Julie Woodley recounts, “My parents told me I was to get an abortion. They locked me in the house and took the phone off the hook for 2 weeks. They told me not to tell anyone I was pregnant…Two weeks later they took me 240 miles to Spokane for the abortion.” *
  • “In New Orleans a 41 year old man received 2 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 7 years. One of the girls said she had 2 abortions after she became pregnant from the man when she was 15 and 17. She said the man paid for one abortion, unknown to her mother. Her mother, who was told that the girl was raped by a date, paid for the second abortion.”*
  • “My mother arranged my abortion. She didn’t like my boyfriend and wanted to protect my “reputation”…..Our pastor had assured her that having an abortion was fine. No one helped me…” Jane Crawford*
  • “A man pleaded guilty  to forcing his way into his girlfriend’s Buffalo apartment, N.Y, house and beating, kicking, and punching her after she refused to have an abortion. The victim, who was 3 months pregnant, told the police the man said to her, “I am going to beat that baby out of you.”*
  • “When his wife refused to abort, her husband jumped on her stomach until their baby died . . .”*
  • “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.
  • 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 six month of pregnancy.”*
  • “She told us it would be very difficult for us to have a baby. She said she had three kids herself and the financial aspect was difficult for her. She never gave me an alternative or asked if I wanted to keep the baby; she just kept playing on my fears and making me believe it would never work out. Kelly”*
  • “It’s not about choice when others decide.”*

In conclusion, there is research data which connects deficient pre-abortion counseling to post traumatic stress symptoms and we likewise must adjust our legislation to prevent unnecessary harm to women. To reduce the number of unwanted, pressured or forced abortions we need to introduce the previously mentioned pre-abortion screening test to identify those women who after their abortion could end up with serious psychological problems.

In addition, we need to provide pre-consent information about the different types of mental and physical problems women can encounter after their abortion. Followed by more intensive counseling to high risk pregnancies explaining to them in detail the potential risks and giving them alternative options. Also offer legal information on coercion. The CAFA legal aid can help for free.

Resources:

http://afterabortion.org/1993/identifying-high-risk-abortion-patients-2/

Abortion Four Times Deadlier Than Childbirth

Abortion Risks: A list of major psychological complications related to abortion

*http://thejusticefoundation.org/cafa/

*http://www.theunchoice.com/articles/cafainterview.htm

http://www.theunchoice.com/articles/howcommoniscoercion.htm

*http://www.theunchoice.com/pdf/FactSheets/ForcedAbortionFactSheet.pdf

*http://www.theunchoice.com/pdf/FactSheets/ForcedAbortions.pdf

*http://www.theunchoice.com/forcedabortioncitations.htm

*http://www.theunchoice.com/pdf/OnePageFactSheets/HardCasesSheet1.pdfmen-9

*http://www.theunchoice.com/pdf/OnePageFactSheets/PhysicalRisksSheet1.pdf

*http://www.theunchoice.com/pdf/FactSheets/ForcedAbortionFactSheet.pdf

*http://www.theunchoice.com/articles/howcommoniscoercion.htm

*http://www.theunchoice.com/pdf/OnePageFactSheets/HardCasesSheet1.pdf

*http://www.unfairchoice.info/intro.htm

*http://www.theunchoice.com/pdf/FactSheets/PortraitsOfCoercion.pdf

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