A 17-year-old in Gainesville, Georgia, has been charged with battery to an unborn child, misdemeanor battery, aggravated assault, and criminal trespass after he assaulted his girlfriend who refused to abort their child. According to The Times, Koa Barker is accused of punching the 18-year-old woman in her stomach “after having stated that he did not wish to have a child with her.” The woman was reportedly 15 weeks pregnant.
Reports also claim that Barker told the woman that he wanted to kill her as he choked her and slapped her. The condition of the woman and her preborn child is unknown.
This form of domestic violence and coerced abortion is far from rare. One study found that 64% of women report feeling pressured to abort. When the coercion escalates, it can lead to violence, as the study found that 65% of those coerced women suffered symptoms of trauma. In an article for the Hamilton Spectator, Lisa James, director of health for Futures Without Violence, says that it is often the partner’s fear of loss of control that leads him to violence. “That loss of control can be frightening and can spark a reaction of rage or resentment or anger,” she said.
This idea is verified by a 2007 Guttmacher Institute study, which pointed to previous research that found an increased risk of violence during pregnancy as the result of the partner feeling resentment towards his preborn child and his possessiveness over the mother of the child. Indeed, the University of California San Francisco reports that “[d]omestic violence is more common than any other health problem among women during pregnancy.”
READ: Georgia teen charged in deaths of stepmother and preborn child
Unfortunately, that violence sometimes escalates to death. Homicide is one of the leading causes of death of pregnant women in the United States, second only to car accidents. Live Action News has reported on many cases of pregnant women who have been abused or slain at the hands of the father of their child.
As these stories all show, women in domestic abuse situations need help. Abortion is not the answer for women in tragic situations, as it merely compounds the trauma and results in the death of an innocent child. An area crisis pregnancy center or a domestic violence shelter is a good place to start in helping a woman experiencing a crisis pregnancy to find local assistance.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline, or call 1-800-799-SAFE.
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