In the United States, one in four women are victims of domestic abuse, which is why some abortion advocates argue that women need “safe and legal abortion care.” In fact, they believe that abortion is a life-saving option because pregnancy can tether women to violent men.
Tragically, a recent example of this argument appeared in the article, “I Gave Myself an Illegal Abortion after My Boyfriend Forced Me to Get Pregnant.” A woman named Kaity shared that she had an illegal abortion after her abusive boyfriend forced her to get pregnant.
She writes, “Shane didn’t like to use condoms. He told me that he was a pro at the withdrawal method. At one point, I went on birth control pills. He told me they were making me fat and he “jokingly” flushed them down the toilet. He would talk about how “cute” I would look pregnant, and what our kids would look like, and what it would be like if I accidentally got pregnant. And sometimes he would have accidents, where he didn’t pull out quite in time but assured me it would be fine. I was 11 years younger than him and had been homeschooled; I knew nothing about birth control. I blindly believed him. I told myself over and over that he loved me and that he knew more about these things than me. One of those times, he got me pregnant.”
At the time of Kaity’s pregnancy she was living on a military base in Italy; and since military bases don’t provide abortions, she obtained the abortion inducing drug misoprostol from a friend.
She said, “I self-aborted at home, while my parents were sleeping. Some of the side effects of misoprostol include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and intense cramps and bleeding. I experienced all of these. I cried silently in my bathroom from the pain, trying to be quiet, listening to Portishead on my iPod and thinking in my head that I was almost sure I was going to die. I didn’t know how much bleeding was normal; every time I threw up in the sink I could feel a gush of blood push itself out of my uterus.”
Despite the traumatizing experience, Kaity believes that her abortion was one of the best decisions she’s ever made and now works at a Planned Parenthood facility as a registered nurse.
She explains her abortion like this: “My abortion was one of the best choices I’ve ever made and I would absolutely make the same choice again. However, I was not happy. I was in a nightmare situation with almost no one to turn to. I was sad. I cried. Those things are not universally experienced by all people choosing abortion, but they are normal and okay. While it was the best choice for my situation and I was confident in my decision, that didn’t mean the pregnancy meant nothing to me (although feeling nothing or negatively toward a pregnancy is also a normal experience and okay).
Sometimes in my dreams I’m walking on a road and holding a baby that I understand is my own, were I to have continued the pregnancy. These dreams don’t bother me; it’s my brain processing a memory. When I wake up I give a small nod to my 17-year-old self and go about my day. What if? thoughts are a normal part of decision-making and are not the same as regret or desiring to take back your action. The potential complexities of abortion decisions often make people uncomfortable, so the polar stances of “it’s like a full-term baby!” and “it’s a lifeless clump of cells” are presented as the only perspectives. This erases the middle ground where most people find themselves in their decision-making process.”
Although it is true that unintended pregnancy can multiply the complexities of an abusive relationship, ending the life of another human being will never bring an end to domestic violence. In reality, having an abortion to prevent domestic violence only compounds the heartache for the woman involved. After abortion, over 65% of women suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and post abortive women are six-times more likely to commit suicide then women who have given birth. And many women describe their abortion experience as ‘a nightmare,’ with 60% reporting ’Part of me died.’ The truth is no matter how you package it, abortion hurts women.
However, that’s not all; research shows that abortion actually increases violence in relationships. For example, a study published in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care found that women who seek abortions are seven times more likely to be abused than women who do not. The study was released in 2012 and involved 9,500 women. Additionally, a study published in the peer review medical journal, Public Health revealed that an abortion within a current relationship causes more arguing when discussing future children and more domestic violence — respective increased risks of 116% and 196%.
Furthermore, in 2014, the peer-reviewed medical journal PLOS Medicine published a study that showed about 25 percent of women who get an abortion face some sort of abuse beforehand. These publications uncover the real problem with abortion and domestic violence. Abortion only temporarily masks a deeper issue at hand; violent men are abusing women constantly.