Should a Father Have Custody if He Pressured His Partner to Have an Abortion?

State   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Dec 15, 2014   |   6:55PM   |   Jefferson City, MO

In Missouri, a new pro-life measure (HB 182) would allow a court to deny a father custody of his child if he attempted to coerce the mother into getting an abortion. In 2009, the Elliot Institute, an Illinois-based organization that researches abortion’s impact on women, found that as many as 64 percent of women say they have felt pressure to have an abortion; and in most cases, the pressure came from partners or spouses.

Tragically, there are countless stories of women being coerced into abortion and in some of these cases, the coercion became violent. For example, in February 2011, 24-year-old Tiffany Gillespie, was six-months pregnant with her third child when she was shot to death by her boyfriend. As Lifenews previously reported, the killing apparently followed an argument wherein Fitzpatrick tried to convince her to have an abortion and she refused.

proabort23Additionally, in 2013, an abortion coercion case out of Connecticut involved a man who allegedly hired a hitman to kill his pregnant girlfriend after she refused his request to get an abortion. Ultimately, the Missouri law is intended to protect both women and children from men who feel they have the right to coerce, force or hurt their partners because they refuse abortion.

Forced abortions do occur in the United States, as one court case in Texas brought the tragic situation to light. A brave 16-year-old girl, who is 10-weeks pregnant, won a case in Texas Family Court recently, which protects her from being forced by her parents to get an abortion.

The Elliot Institute, an Illinois-based organization that researches abortion’s impact on women, finds as many as 64 percent of women say they have felt pressure to have an abortion. That pressure, the group finds, most likely comes from spouse or partner but cal also come from a woman’s parents, friends, or employer.

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Elliot Institute director David Reardon, co-authored a Medical Science Monitor study of American and Russian women with the 64 percent figure.

“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 said in a statement LifeNews.com received.

“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. While abortion is often described as a ‘choice,’ women who’ve been there tell a very different story,” he added.

Along with the coercion bill, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the following pro-life bills have been pre-filed in Missouri in advance of the 2015 legislative session:

  • Prior to a minor undergoing an abortion, a physician would have to obtain notarized written consent of both the minor and a parent or legal guardian. (HB 81)
  • Prior to a minor undergoing an abortion, a physician would have to obtain written consent of both the minor and a parent or legal guardian, who then must inform any other parent or guardian in writing. Missouri also would have to protect the rights of alternative-to-abortion agencies assemble and engage in religious practices and free speech. Under the measure, no political subdivisions could pass or enforce any ordinance restricting these rights. (HB 99)
  • The Department of Health and Senior Services would have to create a video containing information that must be provided to a woman considering an abortion. (HB 124)
  • A physician could not perform or induce an abortion unless the child’s father provides written, notarized consent. (HB 131)
  • No public funds or governmental economic incentives could be used for a project involving abortion services, human cloning or prohibited human research (HB 151)
  • At least once a year, the Department of Health and Senior Services would conduct an on-site inspection and investigation of any center that performs five or more first-trimester abortions per month or induces second- or third-trimester abortions. (SB 33) (Alex Stuckey)