Every pregnancy is different. At close to three months pregnant currently, I’ve been reflecting upon this quite often. Whereas my first pregnancy with Olivia was uncomplicated, my second pregnancy with our son, Gabriel, resulted in a miscarriage late in the first trimester. While my pregnancy with Gabriel resulted in a miscarriage, this third pregnancy has been void of complications thus far.
Yes, every pregnancy is different. While my pregnancy with Olivia left me reflecting on the miracle of life that I was experiencing and the pain that it caused me to realize that my own biological mother had experienced these same changes and developments and was still led to abort me, my experiences in the last five years of Olivia’s life now leave me to be reflecting upon something very different during this pregnancy—not how my birthmother could still abort me after experiencing all that she did during her pregnancy, but how terrible it must have been for her to experience all that she did in her pregnancy and then be forced against her will to abort me.
Many of you who follow my ministry have heard me mention this some in the past six months, and for those who are new to my story and life’s work, or for those who just weren’t sure if you were reading correctly, now you’ve seen the words clearly written by me. It was just in the last six months that I have learned many incredibly painful truths about how I came into this world, and the fact that my birthmother was literally forced to abort me is one of them. As a mother, I can’t imagine going through over seven months of pregnancy like she did (or any month of pregnancy, for that matter), witness all of the growth and development of my child, and then be forcibly led to the procedure that I knew would result in the end of their life. As a pro-life activist, I know too much about how this force happens all too often and the consequences that it has on women’s lives long after the abortion.
Fortunately for me, the abortion that was forced upon my biological mother did not succeed in ending my life. Unfortunately, for tens of millions of children in our country alone, the abortion that they were subjected to did succeed in ending their life. Unfortunately, for many women in our world today, abortion is still not so much a choice, as it is perceived as an only option or a coerced or even forced choice, like it was in my birthmother’s experience. Recently, I came across information from Stop Forced Abortions (http://www.stopforcedabortions.org/docs/ForcedAbortions.pdf), and I wanted to share some of the highlights, or, in my opinion, the low lights, of the reality of forced and coerced abortion in our world today. Please visit the site to read the references for their statistics:
- 64% involve coercion. Pressure can become violent.
- 67% not counseled.
- 65% suffer trauma.
- Suicide 6-7 times higher.
Forced Non-Choice … I’ll blow her brains out.
Intense pressure to abort can come from husbands, parents, doctors, partners, counselors, or close friends and family. They may threaten or blackmail a woman into abortion. These are not idle threats. Coercion can escalate to violence. Women who resist abortion have been beaten, tortured and killed. One husband jumped on his wife’s stomach to force an abortion. A mother forced her daughter at gunpoint to go to the abortion clinic. A woman was forcibly injected by the baby’s father with an abortifacient drug.
Unwanted Non-Choice … Their Choice, Not Hers.
Reasons women give for having abortions:
• Forced by mother
• Father opposed
• Husband or boyfriend persuaded me
• No other option given
• Would have been kicked out
• Loss of family’s support
• Lack of support from society
• Clinic persuaded me
• In 95% of all cases, the male partner played a central role in the decision.
• 45% of men interviewed at abortion clinics recalled urging abortion, including 37% of married men.
• In the above study, men justified being the primary decision maker, regarding the abortion.
• 64% of women who aborted felt pressured by others.
• 54% were unsure of their decision, yet 67% received no counseling beforehand.
- 84% received inadequate counseling beforehand.
- 79% were not told about alternatives.
Yes, every pregnancy is different. Whereas mine have been supported and nurtured by a loving husband and extended family, my birthmother’s was not supported to the point that she was forced against her will to abort me.
I share all of this with you for two reasons. First of all, to educate you about the reality of forced and coerced abortion in our world today. It’s time to look beneath the surface of the world ‘choice,’ and recognize that when it comes to abortion, there isn’t so much choice for many women. Secondly, I share it because I encourage you to think about all of this before you judge someone for having an abortion. You don’t know what they’ve gone through or been threatened with. Instead of judging or condemning, how about trying to support and understand?
Looking at these statistics, it is clear to me just how little has changed for women’s lives in the areas of socioeconomic, educational, emotional and physical support and safety over the past 41 years of legalized abortion. This, unfortunately, is the true war on women. Every pregnancy is different, but every woman’s opportunity to be supported and her child’s life to be lived, should not be different based on the coercion, force, and lack of resources and support in her life.