Recently, accusations of coercion and abuse were brought against The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss by his wife, who claims he attempted to force her to abort their second child. Coerced abortions are a major problem for pregnant women, with one study showing that as many as 64% of abortions are coerced.(1) One abortionist who committed over 20,000 abortions described an example of coerced abortion in his memoir.
Don Sloan was involved in the fight to legalize abortion before Roe v. Wade and worked at an abortion facility as soon as it was legal. His friend Larry Porter was a fellow pro-choice activist. But when Larry’s wife got pregnant and wanted to keep the baby, Larry forgot all about “choice.” Sloan recalls Larry saying:
We agreed when we got married. Two. That would be it. Whatever they were. We had our two, and we were done. Now she wants to change the rules. Says she’s always wanted a girl, and this might be her last chance. She’s absolutely irrational on the subject.(2)
The conversation went on:
Larry: … I don’t want it. I don’t want any part of it. Two are enough. I’m not starting over. We’ve been all through it, and she will not budge.
Sloan: It’s her choice, Larry. You always said it was for the woman to decide.
Larry: Choice! I know all about choice. It sounds good. You make it sound good. But you’re not saddled with an unwanted pregnancy, twenty years of another kid!
Sloan: If it’s what she wants –
Larry: What she wants! How about me? Isn’t it my life too?
Sloan: It’s her body…
Larry: Right now. But in just a few more months, it’s going to be my bank account, isn’t it?… You think kids get cheaper as they get older? I’ll be in my sixties before this one is out of college…
Sloan then describes how Larry yelled at his wife, using “a torrent of the kind of words that don’t easily retract.” The wife, Dianne, still refused to have an abortion. Larry continued to hound her.
Perhaps because of the constant stress, Dianne started bleeding. Sloan says:
Maybe she could have kept the pregnancy, maybe not. Maybe she was just worn down with fighting over it. Acting on her own, she asked for, and got, a D&C. It was really a termination at that point. She knew – we all did – that she did it sooner than she had to.
Larry had won.
Sloan writes that Larry was very relieved:
In a day, he went from rage to denial – he could forget the whole thing. He was his old exuberant, upbeat self again. It was over….
But not for Dianne. She had thrown away a wanted pregnancy, experienced the death of her hopes. She would not or could not let it go. The gulf between them grew wider, until it couldn’t be bridged.
Unsurprisingly, the marriage fell apart. Sloan reflects:
[N]ot everyone who is pro-choice is a feminist. There are pro-choice sexists too… The pro-choice sexist sees women as slightly inferior material, prone to getting themselves pregnant at inopportune times. The pro-choice sexist says, in effect, “I give you the choice to abort, because it’s your body and your problem. We can have fun in bed, and if a pregnancy happens that we don’t want – or that I certainly don’t want- I will preserve the right for you to abort. Lucky you.” How was it once put? I take away the baby carriage, but I want to leave the playpen.2
Sloan is not the only pro-choice activist to discuss this problem.
Former president of Planned Parenthood Alan Guttmacher once said, “30% of women, almost one out of 3, have abortions because someone else – often the man involved – wants them to. Is this choice?” Guttmacher was, nevertheless, a lifelong abortion supporter.
Pro-choice activist Daniel Callahan said:
If legal abortion has given women more choice, it has also given men more choices as well. They now have a potent weapon in the old business of manipulating and abandoning women.(3)
Alexander Sanger, grandson of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and pro-choice activist, wrote:
Legal abortion has led to a situation where there is little community pressure for the man to marry the woman and he often disappears. … she is forced to have an abortion, even if it is her last chance to have children.(4)
So, Sloan is not the only pro-abortion activist to realize that women are coerced into abortions. Other pro-choicers admit this too.
- VM Rue et. al., “Induced Abortion and Traumatic Stress: A Preliminary Comparison of American and Russian Women,” Medical Science Monitor 10(10): 5-16, 2004
- Don Sloan , MD and Paula Hartz Abortion: A Doctor’s Perspective, A Woman’s Dilemma (New York: Donald I Fine, 1992) 164-166, 171
- Paige Comstock Cunningham and Clark Forsythe, “Is Abortion the “First Right” for Women?” in Abortion, Medicine, and the Law, 4th edition, Edited by J Douglas Butler and David W Walbert (1992) 154
- Alexander Sanger Beyond Choice: Reproductive Freedom in the 21st Century (New York: Public Affairs, 2004) 128