by Steven Ertelt
September 22, 2004
LifeNews.com Note: Steven Ertelt is the editor and CEO of LifeNews.com, a news service for the pro-life community.
The double murder trial of Scott Peterson entered week seventeen on Monday and every week that goes by that I’m asked, "What’s the big deal?"
After all, don’t we viewers cynically point out the apparent mantra of today’s television news executive — "if it bleeds, it leads." What’s another murder case and why is this one any different?
For that matter, what’s new about a pregnant woman victimized and killed or injured? It seems as if every week we read about another pregnant woman somewhere across the country who is killed or assaulted.
But, that’s the point.
The mystery surrounding Laci Peterson’s Christmastime disappearance and Scott’s affair propelled the case to national prominence. However, the deaths of Laci and Conner Peterson, highlight the epidemic in our nation of women targeted for attack specifically because they are pregnant.
According to a 2001 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 20 percent of Maryland women who died during pregnancy were murdered, the leading cause of death.
Why are pregnant women often victims of violence? The answer is abortion.
When a woman gets pregnant and her husband (or, more typically, her boyfriend) doesn’t want the child, he can ask her to abort the pregnancy.
If she refuses, the request turns into a demand — explaining why the Elliot Institute has found that women in as many as 40 percent of all abortions say they felt coerced or pressured into the decision.
When demands don’t work, arguments about what to do can lead to violence.
Take the case of former NFL football star Rae Carruth. Not wanting to pay his girlfriend Cherica Adams child support after she refused to have an abortion, he arranged for his friends to murder her in a pretend drug deal gone bad.
Carruth’s friends shot and killed Cherica and her unborn son Chance, who survived the assault and will live with physical disabilities for the rest of his life.
In Arkansas in 1999, Shiwona Pace was just one day away from giving birth to a baby her boyfriend didn’t want when she was brutally attacked by three men. They had been paid $400 by him specifically to attack Shiwona and kill her unborn baby.
The thugs knocked her to the ground, pointed a gun in her mouth, and kicked her repeatedly as she begged for them to stop.
"Your baby is dying tonight," one of the assailants told her.
This is the kind of license to kill abortion grants to those fathers who would rather shirk their responsibilities. Sadly, for many women, the right to abortion become a duty to abort.
The Scott Peterson case, thankfully, has focused the spotlight on the phenomenon of violence against pregnant women.
As a result, Congress and state legislatures have passed numerous laws allowing prosecutors to charge criminals with two crimes when they attack a pregnant mom and kill or injure her baby.
More of these kinds of laws are needed to protect women. Yet, they’re just the beginning when it comes to addressing the intense pressure some women face when they refuse to have an abortion.
Alice Paul, an early women’s suffragist and the author of the Equal Rights Amendment, called abortion the "ultimate exploitation of women."
When it comes to the violence and coercion pregnant women face, she’s absolutely right.