As an activist and writer, Joyce Arthur has worked passionately on behalf of the abortion industry. In 2000, she published anecdotes from industry members claiming to have performed abortions on pro-life women. Entitled, “When the Anti-Choice Choose,” the collection included this entry:
“I had a 37 year old woman just yesterday who was 13 weeks. She said she and her husband had been discussing this pregnancy for 2-3 months. She was strongly opposed to abortion, ‘but my husband is forcing me to do it.’ Naturally, I told her that no one could force her into an abortion, and that she had to choose whether the pregnancy or her husband were more important. I told her I only wanted what was best for her, and I would not do the abortion unless she agreed that it was in her best interest. Once she was faced with actually having to voice her own choice, she said ‘Well, I made the appointment and I came here, so go ahead and do it. It’s what’s best.’ At last I think she came to grips with the fact that it really was her decision after all.” (Physician, Nevada)
A few things stand out here. First off, despite being a “choice provider,” this doctor doesn’t provide too many options. Although his patient said she was “strongly opposed to abortion,” he never asked if she’d considered an alternative like adoption. Neither did he mention that there were organizations ready to help support her. Instead, he bluntly told her to choose between “the pregnancy or her husband.”
Second, it seems he had about as much concern for this woman’s safety as he did for her child’s. When she stated that her husband was “forcing” her, the physician didn’t ask how. Instead, he simply insisted that “no one could force her into an abortion.” Sadly, too many women know that just isn’t true.
Some studies suggest that more than half of those who abort do so under pressure, and that pressure can turn deadly: women have faced gunshots and fatal beatings when they’ve refused. Others have had their throats slashed, their houses bombed, and their bodies set on fire after they were suffocated.
Who would force a woman into a clinic visit? Abusive partners, for one. After all, a trip to the clinic is a lot cheaper than child support.
Sexual predators like abortion too. Baby bumps tend to draw attention–something abusers want to avoid. Gary Cross understood that when he coerced his thirteen year-old stepdaughter to abort at twenty-two weeks. He wasn’t alone, as you can find a list here of over fifty other men who used abortion to keep their crimes hidden and their victims suffering.
Pimps also find abortion useful, as it’s a great way to keep women and girls working the streets. The anti-trafficking group A21 Campaign has released a video in which a former victim named Nicole recounts her life of slavery, including how her pimp forced her into having two abortions.
Meanwhile, pro-life legislators are trying to defend women from violence. Last year in Michigan, Republican state senator Judy Emmons authored legislation to increase penalties for abortion related stalking and harassment. Similarly, Texas state Rep. Molly White has co-sponsored a bill requiring abortion clinics to provide a private room containing information about assistance programs as well as a telephone with which to contact law enforcement.
Why would anyone have a problem with measures like these? Ask Joyce Arthur’s fellow abortion proponents. According to NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Rep. White’s proposal is “creating a problem where none exist to push yet more abortion legislation in Texas that is not needed.” I’m sure that would come as a surprise to coercion victims.
You can help them by urging your representatives to get behind anti-coercion measures. You can also sign Live Action’s petition asking Congress to defund and investigate Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider. It’s available there, along with proof that Planned Parenthood staff have been willing to help pimps and sexual predators. Because while the abortion movement might be okay with enabling violence and abuse, the rest of us shouldn’t be so tolerant.