An Australia man who allegedly hit his wife three times when she refused to get an abortion received a lesser punishment Thursday because of his immigration status, the Daily Mail reports.
The 31-year-old Brunswick man, who is not named in the report, is required to pay a $1,000 fine and attend behavior change counseling, according to a judge’s order.
Melbourne Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt did not convict the man of abuse, saying that a conviction would have brought a more severe punishment for the man than for most other individuals because of the man’s immigration status, according to the report. The man said he could have lost his job and visa if convicted.
The magistrate also said the man demonstrated that he has been working to improve his behavior since the alleged abuse last year.
The man and his wife now are separated. The report does not indicate what happened to their unborn child.
According to police, the incident occurred on Aug. 7, 2016 when the woman told her husband she was pregnant with their first child. The husband reportedly insisted that his wife have an abortion, but she refused. The next day, the woman said her husband again demanded that she abort their unborn child and then hit her three times when she refused.
Here’s more from the report:
He struck her across the face, causing her glasses to break, according to police.
It is alleged she then said, ‘Why did you hit me again?’ and he hit her again in the same place.
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She began screaming for help so he struck her a third time, this time causing her to become dizzy.
He told her to lower her voice so people wouldn’t hear, police said.
When she went to the police station, he followed her, apologising via text message and asking her not to report it, the court previously heard.
Violence against pregnant women and their unborn babies is common – even without counting abortion. In the United States, one in six women is first abused during pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Sometimes the abuse occurs after the woman refuses her partner’s demands to have an abortion. In a case in Pennsylvania, a man allegedly beat and choked his pregnant girlfriend after she refused to have an abortion in October 2015. LifeNews reported another case in September 2016 where police arrested a Tennessee man after his pregnant girlfriend accused him of kicking and hitting her when she told him that she would not abort their baby.
Several studies also have linked domestic violence to abortion. In these cases, some women were forced or pressured by partners into having abortions, while others believed having an abortion would help them escape abuse.
In a 2011 study in The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, one woman told researchers: “So when I found out I was pregnant he was like … oh go get an abortion, I don’t want no baby now and threatening me and he was trying to get [X] to come and beat me up, he was telling me he was going to stab me and slice up my face and kick the baby out of my stomach and like … it was really scary.”
The study found that almost 40 percent of the women seeking abortions had a history of physical abuse and relationship issues. However, a Canadian study found that half of the women who went to an abortion clinic said they were not screened for abuse.