A woman seeking residency status in Ireland told a judge Friday that her Irish husband abused her and forced her to abort their unborn baby.
The Independent reports the 30-year-old woman from Mauritius, an island off the south coast of Africa, said she has suffered severe mental anguish since the abortion. After divorcing her husband, the woman is under threat of being deported back to her home country, according to the report. She is appealing a court decision that denied her permission to remain in Ireland.
Her lawyer, Barrister Shannon Michael Haynes, said authorities were called to the couple’s home twice because of the husband’s violent behavior before they divorced. The woman married him while in Ireland on a student visa, and her status later changed to the spouse of an Irish resident, according to court testimony.
When she became pregnant, Haynes said his client’s husband became violent and abusive and insisted that she abort their unborn child.
Here’s more from the report:
“He had arranged everything from the flight ticket to the clinic procedure because I wanted to keep my baby and had categorically refused to have an abortion,” the woman told Judge McDermott in a sworn statement.
The woman told the court her having an abortion was something she found difficult to talk about and was deeply ashamed of it to the present day.
She said her husband had continued to be hostile about it and threatened to end their relationship and have her immigration status cancelled. Her father in law was also abusive to her and often called her “a black bitch.”
On Friday, a judge gave the woman permission to stay in Ireland at least until October when the next hearing on her immigration status is held, according to the report.
Abortion activists present abortion as an important choice that women should be allowed to make, but strong evidence indicates many women feel pressured or coerced by someone else to abort their unborn child. Often it is a partner or parent who pressures the woman, sometimes with threats, violent behavior or denial of support.
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According to a 2009 study in the Medical Science Monitor, 64 percent of women say they felt pressure to have an abortion by a parent or partner.
Research indicates human trafficking victims also often are forced or coerced into aborting their unborn babies. A survey by the U.S. Department of State found that 55 percent of sex trafficking victims had at least one abortion, with 30 percent having multiple abortions. More than half said they did not choose to abort their unborn child; their traffickers ordered them to, according to the survey.
In addition, pregnant women face high levels of domestic violence. In the United States, one in six women is first abused during pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control.