by Steven Ertelt
May 8, 2006
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates have always claimed they’re "pro-choice" and not pro-abortion because they say they don’t favor abortions but back women choosing to have one. A Michigan abortion advocate is making it harder to defend the claim because she’s written an op-ed in the state’s leading newspaper opposing a bill to prevent forced abortions.
State lawmakers have introduced new legislation that seeks to help women avoid being pressured into having an abortion. The bill would require abortion practitioners to ask women considering an abortion if they have been coerced.
Women considering an abortion would be told that anyone pressuring them into having one is violating state law.
Supporters of the measure points to stats showing as many as 40 percent of women say after the fact that they felt pressured by a boyfriend, husband, parent or family member to have the abortion. The law would also help women who are victims of domestic abuse.
But Kary Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan, wrote an op-ed Monday in the Detroit Free Press newspaper opposing the legislation.
She calls the measure a "false campaign" designed to make it more difficult for women to get abortions and decried having women wait 24 hours before having an abortion if they have been pressured.
In her op-ed she claimed the bill was just part of an "agenda" by Right to Life of Michigan (RLM) and other pro-life groups seeking to limit abortions.
"In reality, this bill is part of a larger agenda to deny women access," to abortions, she said. "The bottom line is that the Legislature should stay out of private health care decisions."
Pro-life advocates say those who oppose the forced abortion bill don’t understand the pressures some pregnant women face to have abortions.
“Over the years I’ve received anguished calls and letters from women who were pressured to have abortions," RLM president Barb Listing said.
“Everyone agrees that no woman should be pressured to have an abortion. If we are all committed to truly protecting women’s rights and reducing abortions, then this initiative should be broadly supported by people on both sides of the abortion issue,” Listing explained.
Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life of America, a national women’s group which conceptualized the legislation, agreed.
"There is nothing pro-choice about having no choice,” said FFLA president Serrin Foster. “Women deserve better than an unwanted abortions.”
The five-bill package identifies very specific types of coercion from physical violence to financial blackmail. The bills will require abortion providers to expressly screen for these types of coercion and refer women who are under such threats to either a domestic violence shelter or local law enforcement.
The ACLU isn’t the first pro-abortion group to oppose the anti-coercion abortion bill.
Sarah Scranton, director of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan, told AP her group opposed the bill and said it was just another "barrier" to legal abortions.
"It seems to me this is just erecting more barriers to a woman’s right to choose an abortion," she said.
Yet, according to research from the Illinois-based Elliot Institute, which studies the effect of abortions on women, as many as 40 percent of women who have abortions say they have been pressured into having an abortion from parents, a boyfriend or others.