Analysis

Why don’t “pro-choicers” want to talk about abortion coercion?

Alex Zielinski of the San Antonio Current is not happy that pro-life lawyer and Justice Foundation president Allan Parker sent a letter to Texas school districts offering guidance counselors and nurses training and resources on state law against coerced abortions.

From Parker’s letter:

This important information deals with the laws concerning forced abortion and the legal responsibility of counselors and medical professionals to give the appropriate advice to students and report forced abortion to criminal authorities. Constitutional litigation against school personnel who were alleged to have participated in forced abortion has been upheld. If you haven’t yet dealt with this issue at your school, chances are good that you will.

Protect yourself against liability by knowing the laws and tools available so that you may correctly inform and give appropriate counsel to your students. If you learn of a forced abortion against a minor, you have a duty to report it to authorities. Forced abortion and actions leading up to it can constitute child abuse or other crimes that you have a duty to report. See attached letter to Mental Health Professionals which briefly explains the law.

Sounds like pretty routine fare to me—districts that already offer support to students pressured to abort can simply ignore the letter, and districts that are negligent in this regard desperately need a reminder. What’s the harm?

In Zielinski’s mind, there’s plenty of harm. But then, she is well-versed in finding outrage where none exists, such as calling Idaho biased against Planned Parenthood for leaving the organization off a list of free providers of a service Planned Parenthood doesn’t provide for free, along with declaring it racist to oppose banning race-based abortions, and twisting a case of a mom scarring her newborn for life via attempted self-abortion into “punish[ing] women for seeking abortion”.

Zielinksi writes in the Current of Allan Parker’s statements:

“Many teenage daughters and adult women have been forced to have an abortion,” [Parker] writes.

In an interview with the Current, Parker was unable to back up that sweeping—and terrifying—claim.

“There is no real data on this issue,” [Parker] conceded.

Don’t worry, Alex, I can provide you with the data Parker couldn’t. According to a 2004 study published in the Medical Science Monitor, 64 percent of women report feeling some sort of pressure to abort. There’s not a lot of hard data on the subject (largely because the abortion industry isn’t interested in the answer), but it’s worth noting that in addition to the many anecdotes Live Action News has covered over the years, there are also women who claim Planned Parenthood staff actually forced them to abort and ex-Planned Parenthood personnel who admit it. Zielinksi continues:

In Texas, a minor needs a parent’s sign-off before going through with an abortion. If their parents refuse, the girl can go to court to gain a judge’s approval, or a “judicial bypass,” meaning she must prove that she’s “mature” enough to have an abortion. Of course, no state or federal court has ever questioned if a minor is mature enough to give birth to a human being, let alone require a parent’s approval to do so.

Parker said this is because one of the options result in death. And that “Texas is allowed to have bias in their law to be pro-life.”

The Texas Supreme Court made judicial bypass even harder for teens last year, ruling that a minor can be denied an abortion if a judge simply waits five business days without ruling on the case.

Nonsense. As I explained back in January, the rule changes simply close loopholes that make it easier for minors to get abortions without actually proving that their parents deserve to be cut out of the decision. Zielinski’s reference to “five business days” is particularly misleading—what the court actually did was extend the amount of time a judge has to make a decision from two business days to five—which has the effect of increasing teens’ chances of getting a ruling at all. She goes on:

Parker’s work as a lawyer has been questioned in the past by at least one federal judge, who called him incompetent for filing “highly prejudicial and legally irrelevant” documents in court.

What were those “legally irrelevant” documents? The only one specified in the original report is a picture of an aborted first-trimester baby… that supposedly had no bearing on an ultrasound law. As in, a law all about imagery. Incompetence was definitely at work here, but not on Parker’s end. (Do you suppose the judge who berated him, Sam Sparks, also thinks Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was “incompetent” for discussing abortion imagery in his partial-birth abortion decision?) More from Zielinksi:

The Justice Foundation offers school counselors no information on how to work with a pregnant teen to get through school, access prenatal medical care, or understand her other legal rights. Instead, Parker said, he directs counselors to their local Crisis Pregnancy Centers—a name for the religious anti-abortion organizations that use junk science and guilt-tripping to talk women out of getting an abortion.

I don’t know what’s more pathetic: contrasting Zielinski’s condescension against the fact that she’s straight-up lying about pregnancy centers, or watching an abortion defender pretend to advocate for prenatal care while Planned Parenthood’s prenatal care dropped 53.8 percent from 2009 to 2013. Planned Parenthood’s most recent annual report reveals that prenatal care (categorized under “Other Women’s Health Services”) amounted to 17,419—less than five percent of the 323,999 abortions the organization performed (which is itself falsely claimed to be just three percent of Planned Parenthood’s business…meaning that by Planned Parenthood’s own standards, their prenatal care is positively minuscule).

Ultimately, neither is as pathetic as the big picture here: a movement that defines itself with the label “choice” recoiling against the suggestion that we should be aware when women are being forced into abortions against their will.

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