Man Who Tried to Force Abortion at Gunpoint Gets 13 Year Sentence

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 9, 2011   |   12:10PM   |   Columbus, OH

An Ohio man who police say allegedly tried to force his pregnant girlfriend at gunpoint to have an abortion has been charged under the state’s unborn victims law  and sentenced to 13 years in prison for the crime.

Dominic L. Holt-Reid, 28, was indicted on six counts including attempted murder, kidnapping, improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, carrying a concealed weapon and having a weapon under disability. Holt-Reid was arrested and charged after he tried to make his partner, Yolanda Burgess, 27, keep a scheduled appoint for an abortion she decided to go back on after further thought. The young woman has since delivered the child, who is healthy.

Police found him in the parking lot behind the Founder’s Women’s Health Center abortion facility in downtown Columbus.

The Associated Press indicates the sentence handed down today came after prosecutors informed the court that Holt-Reid lacked remorse. He was sentenced to five years for attempted murder, five years for abduction and three years for the involvement of a gun in the crime. The judge rejected arguments from Holt-Reid’s attorney that he was involved in far less involved crimes and that he should have received a lighter sentence.

Sgt. Rich Weiner, a Columbus police spokesman, told the Columbus Dispatch newspaper that Burgess and Holt-Reid have another child together. They said the couple were in a vehicle dropping their child off at school when Holt-Reid became angry after Burgess refused to keep the abortion appointment slated for this morning.

Holt-Reid reportedly removed a loaded .45 caliber Taurus handgun from the glove compartment and pointed it at his pregnant girlfriend — forcing her to drive to the abortion center. The Dispatch indicates Burgess passed a note to center staff, who called the police after receiving it. He was found in Burgess’ car with the handgun concealed in his pants.

Holt-Reid represents what research shows is the all-too-frequent phenomenon of coerced and pressured abortions. A report from the Elliot Institute, Forced Abortion in America, calls the problem a “widespread epidemic.” The report notes how research suggests most abortions are likely unwanted or coerced, with one survey of women who had abortions finding that 64 percent said they felt pressured by others to abort.

The same survey found 80 percent of women said they did not receive the counseling they needed to make a decision — even though more than half said they felt rushed or uncertain about the abortion.

The consequences for those who refuse abortion can be dangerous and even deadly, according to the report, which details cases of women and girls facing violent attacks or murder for resisting abortion.

Studies of death rates among pregnant women in the U.S. have found that homicide is the leading cause of death among pregnant women, the authors say.

The cases detailed in the report represent only a fraction of the more than 200 cases the Elliot Institute has on file of women and girls being attacked or killed with the intent of getting rid of the pregnancy. The updated report contains new cases as well as a new special section on teens and forced abortion. [related]

“Our files contain hundreds of stories from women and girls who were attacked or killed with the intent of getting rid of the pregnancy,” said Elliot Institute spokesperson Amy Sobie.

She told, “We’ve been collecting these stories for more than six years through mainstream media sources and pro-life organizations who have been diligently reporting on these kinds of cases. The information is out there, but many people aren’t aware of what might be going on in their own communities.”

Sobie said people might not immediately connect this with abortion because in many cases the woman or girl never makes it to an abortion center — she’s attacked or killed before she even gets there.

“In our opinion, the availability of abortion makes it easier for those around her to think that she shouldn’t be having this baby, and gives those with an interest in getting rid of the unborn child a justification for doing so,” she said.