Michigan Legislature Debates Pro-Life Bill Making It a Crime to Pressure Women to Have Abortions

State   Sarah Zagorski   Sep 25, 2015   |   11:21AM    Lansing, MI

In Michigan, lawmakers have reintroduced legislation that would make it a crime to coerce or force women into having abortions. Michigan Live reports that the legislation is an enhanced version of a 2012 law, which requires abortion facilities to screen for coercion prior to an abortion.

Right to Life (RTL) of Michigan supports the legislation and spoke before the House Criminal Justice Committee earlier this week. RTL public affairs associate Genevieve Marnon said, “Coercion comes in many forms: threats of violence, loss of employment, withdrawal of financial support, threats of deportation.” She added, “And coercion can come from various people, including the baby’s father, the girl’s parents, the guy’s parents, the boss, the coach.”

Additionally, a woman named Tammy Holly testified at the committee meeting and said her parents forced her to have an abortion when she was only 17-years-old. She said, “No one has the right to force, coerce or exert undue influence on any teenager or woman to have an abortion.”

Unsurprisingly, abortion proponents say the legislation is unnecessary and intends to put more restrictions on abortion. Mary Pollock, the government relations coordinator for the American Association of University Women of Michigan, said, “These bills are one-sided in that they criminalize only coercion to terminate a pregnancy rather than evenhandedly covering the whole array of reproductive coercion.”

Pollock also questioned the definition of coercion and said the legislation is too vague. She explained that her own mother told her when she was younger to not come home if she was pregnant. She said, “Is that a threat of coercion to abortion when my mother says that to me at age 20? I don’t think a parent who, in anger, says that kind of thing, and says it twice repeatedly to me over time, should be considered a criminal.”

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In 2014, similar legislation was approved by the Michigan Senate but not taken up by House before the end of session. In July, Reps. Amanda Price (R- Park Township) and Nancy Jenkins (R-Clayton) reintroduced the legislation. They said the aim is to “protect a woman’s right to continue her pregnancy in spite of heavy opposition from possibly a spouse, a partner, parents and even perhaps an employer.”

As LifeNews previously reported, according to the Elliot Institute, 64 percent of all abortions involve some kind of coercion, which is usually initiated by boyfriends, husbands, abusers and even parents. David Reardon, who co-authored a Medical Science Monitor study of American and Russian women with the 64 percent figure, said, “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 added, “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.”

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