On her recent visit to China, Michelle Obama said nothing about the suffering of women who have undergone forced abortions there. Could part of the reason she did not venture to say anything be that unwanted, coerced abortion, though not as overtly sponsored, is becoming an increasing threat in this country?
Social mores change. Shotgun weddings have recently been declared a thing of the past, yet like a force-sucking vacuum, that void was filled by what amounts to shotgun abortions. Cultural expectations have morphed sufficiently so that fertility is now conventionally viewed as life-leaching. Rivaling the dictate to wed, this new dictate to abort employs subtle and not-so-discreet force. Coercion is used in legal terminology and in this case denotes abortions committed under duress, abortions done with a lack of informed consent, or those compelled by someone holding a position of authority or power. There are dozens of such cases.
“Don’t throw your life away”: teens most vulnerable to abortion steering
Teens are the least likely to be informed and the most impressionable, believing the success-requires-abortion mantra of those claiming superior wisdom from being older or in positions of authority. Conventional wisdom has it that teens will suffer inordinately unless they get an abortion. For them, there’s very little choice involved; 64% of abortions occurring in this country are unwanted.
This is especially striking since women under 30 account for the vast majority of abortions. Teens make up 18% of all abortions, while women in their 20s fill in 58%.
The examples of abortion steering fill headlines:
- Doctors who perform abortions despite a woman’s protestations
- Public school; government workers; university funding and promotion of abortion projects, internships,and exhibits; and Planned Parenthood marketing that targets college students
- Employers who threaten job loss if abortion not sought
- Parents or those posing as parents
- Boyfriends who initiate girls into sex and later force abortion to cover their tracks
In addition to the many cases of thinly veiled abortion steering, there have also been cases of outright violence toward the pregnant woman as well as cases of giving the woman abortion-causing drugs without her consent. The worst instances of shotgun abortions force women into terrible circumstances, even ending in the murder of both mother and baby.
One of the egregious effects of abortion steering is failing to secure any informed consent or to screen for coercion, leading to an increase in violence toward women and making forced abortion the unacknowledged backup of choice. Few are aware of the legal restrictions to forced abortion or have access to the necessary forms in time of crisis. No longer can Americans declare forced abortion a China problem without recognizing that coerced abortion is prevalent in this country as well.