Elliot Institute Director Dr. David Reardon co-authored a Medical Science Monitor study of American and Russian women that found that 64 percent of American women who had abortions reported that they felt pressured to abort by others. He also pointed to Forced Abortion in America, a special report prepared by his organization, that documented cases of violence against women who refused to abort.
In the Maine case, Nicholas and Lola Kampf were charged with kidnaping after they allegedly bound and gagged their pregnant 19-year-old daughter and put her in their car with the intent of driving her to New York for an abortion. Police said Katelyn Kampf managed to escape from her parents in a store parking lot in New Hampshire and called police from a cell phone. Her parents could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
In Georgia, police arrested Rozelletta Blackshire after she allegedly forced her pregnant 16-year-old daughter to drink turpentine in an attempt to abort the pregnancy. The mother and two of the girl's cousins were charged with criminal abortion after the teen told a school counselor her mother had forced her to drink turpentine. The teen is three months pregnant and the health effects of the turpentine on her and her unborn child are still unknown.
Reardon said that cases of women being pressured, threatened, or subjected to violence if they refuse to abort are not unusual. He pointed out that studies have shown that homicide is the leading killer of pregnant women in the U.S. and that women in abusive relationships are at risk for increased violence during pregnancy.
"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. "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."
Reardon said the report underscores the need for legislation requiring abortion businesses and health care providers to screen women for evidence of coercion or pressure to abort and to direct them to people and resources that can help them.
"Too often, abortion clinics and others simply assume that if a woman is coming for an abortion, it is her free choice," he said. "This 'no questions asked' policy is especially harmful to those in abusive situations, including young girls who are victims of sexual predators. Women should not be forced into unwanted abortions and subjected to violence or pressure from others."