For women, abortion is a choice; it’s just not always their choice.
Many women who abort do so under duress. Some are coerced by violent partners; others face financial threats or personal blackmail. There are studies suggesting that more than half of abortions are consented to under pressure, which would mean that while abortion doctors are offering “the right to choose,” it’s often not their patients who are exercising it.
In response, Texas state Rep. Molly White has co-sponsored HB 1648. Known as “The Coerced Abortion Prevention Bill,” it would compel abortion clinics to look for evidence of coercion. It would also require them to provide a private room containing information about assistance programs, help hotlines, and a telephone with which to contact law enforcement.
Given the legislation’s common sense provisions, who could possibly be opposed to it?
NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, for one. Their legislative counsel, Susan Hays, claimed that Rep. White is simply “creating a problem where none exist to push yet more abortion legislation in Texas that is not needed.”
I would suggest that Ms. Hays ask coercion victims whether this problem really exists. That’s not always easy to do, however: a lot of them aren’t around to answer.
Tasha Rossett was stabbed to death after refusing her boyfriend’s demands for an abortion. Shamari Jenkins was fatally shot for the same reason. So was Hawa Gabbidon. Joseph Minerd bombed the house of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Deana Mitts, when he couldn’t convince her to abort. Mitts was killed in the blast along with her three year-old daughter. Given cases like these, it’s not surprising that the CDC lists homicide as a leading cause of death among pregnant women.
Susan Hays should also talk to former abortion clinic director Abby Johnson. Johnson and six other former Planned Parenthood employees wrote an open letter to Congress stating that Planned Parenthood’s polices fail to protect women from violence and coercion.
Another good move would be to visit Life Dynamics’ website and look at the list of over fifty cases in which child sex predators used abortion to cover up their crimes and keep abusing their victims.
Finally, she should get in touch with The A21 Campaign, a group that seeks to end human trafficking. A21 can provide testimony from trafficking victims about how forced abortions were used to keep them in slavery.
Although NARAL calls itself “pro-choice,” its opposition to HB 1648 proves that the organization is anything but. Yet while NARAL may not be concerned about stopping coercion, pro-lifers are. One way to do that is to get behind “The Coerced Abortion Prevention Bill” and similar legislation in other states. Because unlike Susan Hays, we known that the threat posed by traffickers and abusers is all too real.