Coerced Abortion

Posted on

April 1, 2024

Often, when speaking about past abortion, we talk a lot about “the choice” that was made. Some women, however, never felt like they had a choice at all. At (UN)covered, we want you to know that coerced abortion is very real, the effects can be severe, and there is hope and healing for you, too.

The Unchoice reports that

  • 64% of women who aborted felt pressured by others.
  • The reasons that women provided for having an abortion include:
    • Forced by mother
    • Father opposed
    • Husband or boyfriend persuaded me
    • No other option given
    • Would have been kicked out
    • Loss of family’s support
    • Lack of support from society
    • Clinic persuaded me
  • In 95% of all cases, the male partner played a central role in the decision
  • 45% of men interviewed at abortion clinics recalled urging abortion, including 37% of married men. Many men even justified being the primary decision maker regarding abortion.

Amy Martin shares one women’s story about coerced abortion…

She was thirteen years old and remembers flying on an airplane for the first time. It should have been an exciting time, but she was dreading every moment. She knew that it would do no good to refuse to go, she had been told that this was the best choice. So, she stretched the seatbelt across her rounded belly and clicked it in as she fought back tears. It was 1968 and there was no one who would perform an abortion in her home state so her mother had told her that they would have to go to a place where abortions were being performed on a pregnancy as far along as hers. She doesn’t remember much more about the trip except the fear of having the procedure, the pain she endured during the procedure, the horrible emptiness and guilt she felt after the procedure. Although her life was completely changed that day at 13 years old, she and her mother never discussed what happened on that trip – it was like she was supposed to be able to go on with life like it hadn’t happened. Now, 55 years later she recalls that day as “the day when everything changed.” For 55 years, she has been mourning but has been unable to grieve. Her heart has been broken, but she hasn’t ever felt free to speak about it. For 55 years, she has lived with the consequences of a choice she didn’t make, because she had no choice.

It can be easy to wonder how someone can’t just say “no.” Saying “no” isn’t always as simple as it sounds, though. The person being coerced often perceives the person coercing them as an authority figure, as in the story shared above. Likewise, the person being coerced often fears threats of violence if they refuse. Tragically, reports show that coercion often escalates to violence.

If you see yourself in this topic, these statistics, or the story shared please know that there is hope and healing for you, even if you never made a choice.

Reach out, today.