by Steven Ertelt
April 11, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The leaders of a national post-abortion group say they’re excited about a new Idaho law that helps prevent women from becoming victims of forced or coerced abortions. They say they hope other state legislatures will replicate the law and protect the more than 60 percent of women who say they feel pressure.
The measure, which may be the first of its kind, creates criminal penalties and civil liability for anyone who threatens or inflicts physical harm on a pregnant woman in order to force her to have an abortion.
Georgette Forney, co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, tells LifeNews.com this kind of statute "is long overdue."
Abortion is traumatic on its own, coerced abortion is beyond horrific," Forney, who had an abortion as a teenager, explained.
Forney believes an anti-coercion abortion bill is the kind of measure both sides of the abortion debate and women’s advocates should be able to get behind together.
"Those who oppose domestic abuse and those who seek to protect women and their unborn babies should unite to support this kind of legislation in every jurisdiction," Forney said.
Janet Morana, another co-founder of the group, says Its hard to imagine anyone opposing a bill against forced abortion."
If your concern is for women, you will want those who attack and threaten them punished," Morana added. "If your concern is for the abortion industry, though, you will oppose anything that puts womens lives ahead of abortion profits.
Dr. David Reardon, the head of the Elliot Institute, a research firm that examines the effect of abortion on women, says "there is no excuse for forced or unsafe abortions."
But he worries the abortion industry will resist such laws since they would cut into the number of abortions done annually.
"With over 60 percent of women who are having abortions reporting that they felt pressured to abort by others, there is obviously a lot of money to be made in forced or unsafe abortions," he says.
He says research he and other scholars have conducted show a "universal agreement" that there are "identifiable subgroups of women who are at greatest risk of emotional difficulties after an abortion."
"A major subgroup of these high risk patients includes women who are pressured, coerced, and in some cases literally forced by violent efforts into unwanted abortions," he concluded.
Reardon is working with the Missouri-based Stop Forced Abortions Alliance on a state initiative to prevent forced abortions there.