Massachusetts Woman Who Killed Boyfriend Was Victim of Coerced Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 16, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Woman Who Killed Boyfriend Was Victim of Coerced Abortion

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 16
, 2008

Danvers, MA ( — Kathie DeFelice is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of her boyfriend, William Olsen Jr. Though it only helps explain her actions rather than excuse them, DeFelice was the victim of a coerced abortion of a baby she wanted to have but Olsen never wanted.

DeFelice spent seven years with her boyfriend — most of them living in fear as he subjected her to physical and emotional abuse.

The relationship included five restraining orders against Olsen over its course, three domestic abuse charges and numerous death threats.

When DeFelice found out she was pregnant, "he told her to have an abortion," defense lawyer Edward Hayden said during his opening statement in DeFelice’s murder trial on Tuesday.

DeFelice wanted to keep the baby, Hayden said, according to a Daily News report, but she ultimately obeyed her abusive husband.

The case points out the problems that lead to and result from coerced abortions.

Dr. David Reardon of the Elliot Institute has previously said these kinds of cases are a part of a widespread problem.

Reardon is the co-author of a recent Medical Science Monitor study of American and Russian women that found that 64 percent of American women who had abortions reported that they felt pressured to abort by others.

His organization, which monitors the effects of abortion on women, has also prepared special research previously showing cases of violence against women who refused to have abortions.

Reardon said that cases of women being pressured, threatened, or subjected to violence if they refuse to abort are not unusual.

"In many of the cases documented for our ‘Forced Abortion in America’ report, police and witnesses reported that acts of violence and murder took place after the woman refused to abort or because the attacker didn’t want the pregnancy," he’s said previously.

"Even if a woman isn’t physically threatened, she often faces intense pressure, abandonment, lack of support, or emotional blackmail if she doesn’t abort," Dr. Reardon explained. "While abortion is often described as a ‘choice,’ women who’ve been there tell a very different story."

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