In the book, “Shout Your Abortion Too,” a woman named Katie shared her story of coerced abortion and abortion trauma at the hands of her boyfriend and Planned Parenthood workers.
She and her boyfriend went to Planned Parenthood for a pregnancy test, which was positive. While there, the Planned Parenthood worker asked them what they wanted to do about the baby. “My boyfriend spoke up, quickly and firmly, with one word, ‘ABORTION.’ It was the first time that word had been spoken between us,” said Katie.
According to Katie, “The counselor did not ask me if I agreed, or if we wanted any other information regarding what kind of support would be available to us if we decided to move forward with the pregnancy, nor did she mention the option of adoption.”
Instead of offering alternatives, the “counselor” encouraged them to abort. She told them that “abortion was the responsible choice to make since we were just college students without jobs or the means to provide a stable home for the baby,” said Katie. She told them they had their whole lives ahead of them with time to start a family later.
The Planned Parenthood worker also lied to Katie about the development of her preborn baby, and pressured her to decide quickly. Katie said:
She assured us by saying that at that point in the pregnancy, the embryo was just “undeveloped tissue” but then added an urgent warning that we would want to act quickly because after a few more weeks “it would get a little more complicated.”
A few days later, Katie’s boyfriend called and made an appointment for an abortion. Katie called and canceled it. She didn’t want an abortion, and she argued with her boyfriend. She said his responses to her questions about keeping the baby or adoption “became more desperate and threatening.”
“He was not ready to be a dad, he would not stick around if I had the baby, he assured me I would be on my own, he couldn’t handle his child being given up for adoption and knowing they were ‘out there’ somewhere,” explained. Katie.
When Katie didn’t give in to his pressure, her boyfriend resorted to emotional blackmail. She recalled his threat to kill himself:
And then came the ultimate threat: he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if I chose to keep the baby without him. He’d kill himself instead. My boyfriend was not budging. Planned Parenthood had presented it as the only reasonable and responsible choice.
After all of their friends also encouraged abortion, Katie gave in and went in for an abortion appointment. “The waiting room was full of young girls; a lot of them with their moms, a few with presumably their boyfriends,” she said. “No one talked and many were crying. It was the saddest and darkest place I’ve ever been.”
When she saw her baby on the ultrasound screen, she realized that this wasn’t just tissue. She said she had second thoughts:
When I saw the ultrasound, I was shocked that I could see an image of a baby, not tissue. I saw a heart beating but the sound was turned off. There was no time to process before I was ushered into the next room where a doctor and a nurse awaited me and told me to lay down and relax.
My mind was spinning. I had just seen my baby!!
However, the abortion workers didn’t give Katie a moment to object to the coerced abortion. They rushed her from the ultrasound room into the abortion room and didn’t give her a chance to stop to think. “Nobody acknowledged the tears streaming down my face,” she said. “No-one stopped to ask if I was sure about what I was about to do.”
During the abortion procedure, Katie heard the nurse say, “You got it. I just saw it come through the tube.”
These words made Katie realize what she’d done:
Those words were an absolute soul-crushing reality. They could see the baby. The baby was big enough to SEE. And they just sucked an innocent baby out of my womb with a vacuum, through a tube, and into a canister. My mind was screaming at me. What had I done?!?… I was overwhelmed with incredible regret. And the shame, guilt, and grief were unbearable.
After the coerced abortion, Katie’s boyfriend became verbally and physically abusive. The relationship “became toxic” and she suffered through years of abuse and “incessant fighting.”
Now, years later, Katie said, “There will always be an ache in my heart that wishes I had not taken the life of my child; that looks at each year wondering what their life would’ve looked like now.”
She said her grief will never go away “this side of heaven” and she will feel the pain of her abortion until she dies.
Like Katie, 73% of women who have experienced abortion and sought post-abortion care say they faced at least some form of pressure to undergo the abortion. “Over the years, many women have come to me with stories of how they were—blatantly or subtly—coerced into abortion they did not want and will always regret,” says PRI President Steven Mosher. Countless women and girls have undergone a coerced abortion at the hands of their partners and parents.
Emily Berning Shout Your Abortion Too (Fort Wayne, Indiana: Let Them Live, 2019) 134 – 135, 137, 138-139, 143
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