A 24-year-old newly pregnant Brazilian woman named Tassila Kenha had just completed her firefighter training when she went missing. The young woman, whose megawatt smile shines from multiple photos in news stories, had shared with her family that the baby’s father was a secret, unnamed boyfriend who wanted her to have an abortion. So Kenha’s family members were immediately suspicious after she went missing, quickly reporting her disappearance to police and launching a search effort.
They were horrified to learn soon after that a female body had been found on a rural road on the outskirts of town, still burning after apparently being deliberately set on fire. Disastrously, their worst fears were quickly confirmed when the victim was confirmed to be their beloved missing relative.
Two days later, police apprehended 46-year-old Gilvan de Barros Pinheiro, a wealthy businessman with a background in real estate, in connection with Kenha’s murder. The suspect admitted to dating Kenha for the previous five months, and acknowledged that she was pregnant, though he claimed to be unsure whether or not the baby was his. Police discovered that he had transferred roughly $170 to her bank account, presumably to cover the cost of an abortion. Pipheiro remains under arrest and will face charges.
Kenha’s story ended in the loss of her life, and her experience of coercion and threats of force to undergo an abortion is far too common. Reportedly, over 60% of women undergoing abortions experience outside pressure to do so. Coercion may take the form of threats of job loss, as many professional female athletes, musicians, and actresses have reported. Other women are threatened if they fail to abort the illicit children of famous men, whose careers could be sidetracked by negative publicity.
But outside the sometimes high-profile cases associated with fame and fortune, there are countless more stories that never make headlines — of women pressured by partners or their own family members to end their preborn children’s lives. Domestic violence against pregnant women is ‘more common than any other health problem among women during pregnancy.’ Research suggests that unmarried women and women experiencing unintended pregnancies are most at risk of experiencing violence during pregnancy. In societies where abortion is not only legal, but culturally accepted, women bear the brunt of failing to get rid of children viewed by others as problematic or unwanted.
Tragically, the same pro-abortion movement that purports to trumpet women’s rights is deafeningly silent about abortion coercion. Industry leader Planned Parenthood routinely opposes abortion restrictions, even those specifically intended to prevent women from being pressured into abortions by sex traffickers, abusive partners, or incestuous family members.
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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