It is often easy to forget in the ongoing debate over abortion that many of the women who actually end up getting them, don’t actually want them. In some cases, the abortion is sought out reluctantly, but willingly enough. In others, however, there is both subtle and overt coercion. Recognizing this ugly fact, however, may yet bring with it some good news for the pro-life movement.
In Minnesota there is a bi-partisan effort underway to pass legislation that would outlaw forced abortions in that state. The impact that this legislation may have on abortion rates would be truly impressive – a LifeNews.com article claims that studies show 64% of abortions involve coercion against the mother’s will. The bill’s objective would be simple:
The ban on coerced abortions would require abortion businesses to inform women before the abortion is done that no one can pressure them into having an abortion against their will.
To stop unwanted abortions from occurring, the bill would offer women help to remove themselves from dangerous situations where coercion exists and would establish civil and criminal penalties for anyone who forces a woman to abort.
In recent days, those of us who have argued steadfastly for the use of harsh language and images to convey the reality of abortions have come under fire from those who believe such techniques are ‘counterproductive’. Now is a good time for all of us to remember that there are many women who have abortion forced upon them, and many more who, while not quite forced, are pressured in many ways by parents and partners, and even employers, to have abortions.
Moreover, in theory this ought to be a bill that everyone on the political spectrum can support. Success in Minnesota would bode well for bi-partisan efforts in the future, perhaps transforming ‘abortion reduction’ rhetoric into a concrete reality.
In my view a campaign against forced abortion would be an excellent cause for the pro-life movement to prioritize valuable time and resources on. I would greatly prefer it to other legislative ideas being mulled around at this time, such as a bill that would ban sex-selective or even race-selective abortions, which I find both unenforceable and morally dubious. There can be no doubt, on the other hand, that forced abortion is or ought to be a serious crime, whether one is pro-choice or pro-life.
If implemented at the national level, it may well cut the abortion rate down by a significant margin, assuming rigorous enforcement, and possibly in conjunction with the kind of financial support policies promoted by the Democrats for Life. With broad political support such a lofty goal could easily be achieved. A united front against forced abortion may well be the stepping stone to other goals that have proven elusive for the past 40 years. And it would force the partisans of ‘choice’ to put their money where their mouth is.
I’ve been looking for a concrete, focused cause to get behind, and this may well be it. I’ve also been looking for good news on the pro-life front, and I think this qualifies.