Forced and Coercive Abortions an "Epidemic" for U.S. Women

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 5, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Forced and Coercive Abortions an "Epidemic" for U.S. Women

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
July 5, 2004

Springfield, IL ( — Forced abortions in the U.S. have reached epidemic proportions, according to a special report issued by an organization that studies the impact of abortion on the lives of women.

"The epidemic of coerced, unwanted abortions is rarely reported. Yet every week, thousands of girls and women face threats and abuse from people who want them to abort without regard for their own feelings or desires," the Elliot Institute said in a written statement promoting its 21-page report entitled, "Forced Abortion in America."

While the abortion lobby refers to abortion as a "woman’s choice," in many instances, women feel as if they have no choice but to abort.

The Elliot Institute cites some alarming cases.

In some of these instances, parents coerced their daughters into aborting. In one incident, a young woman was pushed into an abortion facility at gunpoint by her mother. In another case, three sisters raped repeatedly by their father were forced into abortions for nearly a decade. The girls were reportedly required to undergo a total of ten abortions by their
sexually abusive father.

In other cases, women are coerced by their husbands or boyfriends. One husband jumped on a woman’s stomach to force an abortion. In another, a girlfriend was injected with an abortifacient outside a parking garage.

According to the special report, pregnant women are sometimes denied shelter or are threatened with loss of income in order to be blackmailed into aborting.

A homeless woman, for instance, was denied a place to live until she underwent an unwanted abortion, while a basketball coach was fired from her job after refusing to have an abortion.

"Abortion is not about a woman’s freedom to choose according to her conscience–studies show that most women decide against their consciences. Their ‘decision’ is often based on the demands or threats of others–even when it violates their own moral beliefs and desire to
keep the baby," the report notes.

In some cases, the coercion takes the form of manipulation.

A worker at a Pensacola, Florida funeral home reported that a supervisor had badgered her into having an abortion because her child was biracial. In another instance, an aspiring model was forced into an abortion by John Casablancas, founder of the Elite modeling agency, which has represented supermodels such as Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell.

And, in a particularly ironic case of job discrimination, a maternity clothing retailer, Mother’s Work, fired employees after finding out they were pregnant.

In other cases, the coercion involves violence and abuse.

In fact, there appears to be a clear connection between abortion and domestic violence. Pregnant women who refuse to abort face the prospect of an escalation in abuse — violence which can lead to miscarriages.

The leading cause of death among pregnant women today is homicide.

The Elliot Institute cites dozens of cases in which women have been shot, stabbed, choked, burned, or bombed for refusing to abort.

Perhaps the nation’s most famous case of violence directed against a pregnant woman is the Laci Peterson case. Laci was eight months pregnant with her son Conner when she was murdered in California. Her husband, Scott Peterson, is standing trial for the crime.

Laci’s mother, Sharon Rocha, successfully lobbied for the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which ensures that unborn children are recognized as victims when federal acts of violence are committed against their mothers.

"Our grandson did live. He had a name, he was loved, and his life was violently taken from him .. there were two bodies that washed up in San Francisco Bay, and the law should recognize that reality," Rocha said.

The Elliot Institute report is part of a series of materials showing the ways in which women have been subjected to unwanted, unnecessary, and dangerous abortions. An estimated 30 to 60 percent of the women who have abortions feel as if they are being pressured to do so.

In fact, eight out of every ten post-abortive women say they would have given birth, if there had been someone around to support their decision.

Experts in the field note that, while the statistics included in the report are startling, some of the comments made my women who have been forced into abortion are absolutely heart-wrenching.

"When I told him (the father of the child) he was furious and insisted that the child be aborted as soon as possible," said Cynthia Greenwood, one of the women quoted in the report.

"I did not want to kill this baby, but my co-dependence and addiction to this man won out. I finally made an appointment with the abortion clinic," Greenwood said.

Another woman, Jane Crawford, said, "My mother arranged my abortion. She didn’t like my boyfriend and wanted to protect my ‘reputation’ … our pastor had assured her that having an abortion was fine. No one helped me."

Related web sites:

"Forced Abortions in America" can be downloaded from