When Americans hear about coerced abortions, they tend to think of far off countries like China, whose notorious One-Child Policy (now Two-Child Policy) has resulted in countless forced abortions. But the reality is that forced abortions also occur right here in the United States. One disturbingly common situation for forced abortions in the United States is human trafficking. Current estimates suggest between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year.
A 2014 study involving 107 victims of human trafficking in the United States, published by Loyola University Chicago School of Law’s Annals of Health Law, highlights the serious health effects of trafficking in the United States on victims. Common health concerns for victims included sexually transmitted diseases, mental health issues, and physical injuries from violence suffered during the course of being trafficked. In the study, 99.1% of respondents reported at least one physical health problem during trafficking.
Over half of the victims in the study reported having at least one abortion during the time they were being trafficked. Out of that group, 34 victims responded to a question on whether the abortion(s) were forced on them. Over half of that group responded that at least one abortion was at least partly forced on them.
The study notes the need for health care workers to do a better job of recognizing and reporting such situations. While most cases likely represent failure to recognize, some represent failure to report. 19.5 percent of victims who chose to answer indicated that a medical worker was aware of the victim’s trafficking situation. “Survivors also had significant contact with clinical treatment facilities,” notes the report, “most commonly Planned Parenthood clinics, which more than a quarter of survivors (29.6%) visited.” Live Action’s Aiding Abusers docuseries reveals, most starkly, Planned Parenthood’s willingness to overlook sex trafficking:
As the study notes, “the phenomenon of forced abortion as it occurs in sex trafficking transcends the political boundaries of the abortion debate, violating both the pro-life belief that abortion takes innocent life and the pro-choice ideal of women’s freedom to make their own reproductive choices.”