Stopping forced and coerced abortions should be a cause that unites both sides of the abortion debate.
But in Indiana this week, Planned Parenthood and 18 lawmakers opposed a bill to do just that.
State House Bill 1217 passed the Indiana House on Tuesday in a 73-18 bipartisan vote. It now heads to the state Senate for consideration.
“This bill is straightforward and sets a series of events in place that could help rescue a woman from sexual coercion and even save her life,” said state Rep. Joanna King, R-Middlebury, the author of the bill, according to Indiana Public Media.
Her bill would make it a felony to coerce a woman into aborting her unborn baby. It would require abortion facilities to inform women that it is illegal to coerce a woman into an abortion and check to make sure that she is not feeling coerced. It also would create penalties for abortion facilities that fail to report coercion to law enforcement.
The bill passed with bipartisan support, but 17 Democrats and one Republican voted against it.
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“Sadly, 18 legislators voted against providing these protections for women,” Indiana Right to Life responded.
The pro-life organization pointed to research showing a strong need for such legislation, continuing, “According to a study published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, nearly 75 percent of the 987 American women who participated in an after-abortion survey admitted that they experienced ‘at least subtle forms of pressure to terminate their pregnancies.’”
One possible reason why the 18 lawmakers voted against the added protections for women is because the Planned Parenthood abortion chain opposes the legislation. In a statement, Lisa Humes-Schulz of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates asserted that the bill is “redundant” and “dangerous,” though she did not explain what harm it could do.
“Let’s be clear: HB 1217 puts people in Indiana in more danger, not less,” Humes-Schulz said. “If the legislature was genuinely interested in trying to improve the health and lives of people experiencing coercion, it would pursue protections against all forms of reproductive coercion, including coercion to become or stay pregnant.” Basically, Planned Parenthood wants it to be a crime for people to urge women not to abort their unborn babies.
Coercion is a prevalent but often ignored problem among women who have abortions.
A new study from Lifeway Research found that 42 percent of men whose partners had abortions said they either “strongly urged” or “suggested” that she have an abortion. In contrast, 27 percent said they “suggested” or “urged” her not to abort her unborn child.
Research by other groups also has found that, for many women, aborting their unborn babies was not really their choice.
In 2009, the Elliot Institute, an Illinois-based organization that researches the impact of abortion on women, found 64 percent of post-abortive women said they felt pressured to have an abortion, often from a spouse or partner.
Another 2014 study found that forced abortions are common among sex trafficking victims. In “The Health Consequences of Sex Trafficking and Their Implications for Identifying Victims in Healthcare Facilities,” researchers found that 55 percent of sex trafficking victims had at least one abortion, with more than half saying they were forced to abort one or more unborn babies.
Studies also have found high rates of violent abuse among women seeking abortions and pregnant women. Often, abuse also is connected to a mother’s refusal to abort her unborn child. LifeNews has recorded dozens of crime stories in which pregnant mothers were abused or killed after refusing to abort their unborn babies.