“I was forced into several abortions and wish now that I was still running in fear. At least I wouldn’t be childless.”
A woman calling herself Mary included this sentence in a comment sent in earlier this week. It was a long paragraph full of information about how she had always wanted to be a mother, and she tossed this in like oh yeah, probably should mention this. Dear God, what was she running from?
It’s not the first time I have heard this. Although women cannot be forced by law into aborting a pregnancy, they frequently feel forced into it by disapproving family or partners who threaten everything from abandonment to physical harm if they keep the baby.
I was already shocked by this comment, and then I was shocked again by the statistics on abortions. The numbers vary, with anti-abortion groups reporting far more than government groups that I hope are unbiased. The U.S. Center for Disease Control’s most recent report says there were 623,471 legal abortions in 2016 in the United States, that there are 186 abortions per 1,000 live births every year, and that 91.6 percent take place in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. National Right to Life reports 874,100 abortions in the same period.
Let’s just say there are a lot and get back to the question of forced abortions.
Abortion, always a touchy subject, is particularly volatile right now, with the new president looking to topple Roe v. Wade and people marching both for and against a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body. I’ll say right now that I am Catholic and I’m not keen on abortion. But I believe governments should keep their hands out of our vaginas.
I was even more shocked when I read this article, “The Reality of Forced Abortion in America” by Kristi Burton Brown. Take a moment to read it, if you want, knowing that toward the end it gets a little anti-abortion preachy.
Okay, now. Why would a woman let anyone tell her what to do with the baby that is in HER BODY? Why wouldn’t she holler, “No!” if she really doesn’t want an abortion, if she always wanted to be a mother, and she wants this baby?
Think about the many situations we see here at Childless by Marriage where a person, usually the woman, does not have children because her partner says no. So many readers are struggling to decide whether to let their partner make that decision for them. This week, I got a comment from a woman whose husband was fine with kids until two weeks after their wedding. Suddenly he didn’t want any. Grrr.
But when there’s already an actual baby being created, maybe only the size of a grape now, but still a baby, isn’t a forced abortion the same thing at a more intense level?
I understand that the woman may be afraid to lose the guy and perhaps end up broke and homeless with a baby. Perhaps she’s afraid of a scandal or of raising a child alone. But does she want to stay with a man who would force her to have an abortion? Isn’t that some kind of abuse?
There are some situations where abortion seems almost necessary: when the mother is too young, when she has been raped, or when the pregnancy threatens her health, but when it’s just a partner who doesn’t want a baby, I cry bullshit. How can he do this to someone he allegedly loves? And where was his condom if he was so set on not having kids?
Perhaps my Catholicness is showing here, but I think the right to choose includes the right to choose to have the baby rather than ending its life and regretting it forever. If you both agree that you need to have an abortion, then that’s between you and God, but don’t let anybody force you into an abortion if you don’t want it.
And please don’t stop reading this blog because you disagree with me or hate Catholics. We’re all just trying to figure this out together.
So let’s have your comments.
8 thoughts on “‘He forced me to have an abortion’”
I too am Catholic, non-practicing other than within myself, but I know that God hears me whether or not I take the Eucharist each Sunday. I also consider myself agonistically Catholic. I went through CCD with lots of girls, some of whom became pregnant and had children before graduating high school. I’m not offended by your response in the least.
I say forced because, I had to do what I had to do at that time to survive. I don’t want to get into it publicly, but for your knowledge and study, he threatened to kill me, and his parents vowed to make mine and the baby’s life difficult, as they said.
I’m in therapy. I have depression, PTSD and mourn the consequences of what I did, but I had to decide, do I want to run and live in fear and bring this baby into this hate or just live with the fear I may never be a biological mother? I chose the latter.
There was abuse on all levels before and even more so after this tribulation. I stored away the completed papers to file charges against him in a bottom desk drawer, where they sit long after the statute of limitations has passed. I could have sent him to jail or forced him to take court-ordered anger management therapy, but I didn’t. I knew it would ruin his life and his parents’ lives because they are very proud orthodox people. He had ruined mine for the time being, but two wrongs don’t make a right. It took me three more years to get away from his brainwashing grip. And I had to do it alone. No family of mine knew because I wasn’t allowed to talk to them. Anyway, that was six years ago next week.
Needless to say, I am not married to the man that shared this with me. I am married to the wishy-washy man who decided two weeks after the wedding that he didn’t want more biological children other than the daughter he currently has with his ex-wife, who just popped out baby number two with the new hubby. So right now, the bullet has shifted a little and my heart is hurting again, as you so eloquently put it. It always takes a few months for me to find some peace and then I’ll be fine for a good while.
That’s how I stumbled upon your blog, because I’m sifting through this current fog.
Thank you for this comment, Mary. I am so upset that you had to go through all this. It’s just not right. Thank God you’re safe now, except for the wishy-washy husband. I pray all of this will keep making you stronger every day.
Thanks Sue. And as the world continues to slap me with happenstance and cowinkydinks, I am also a Portagee from the Bay Area. Good meeting you.
This is something overlooked by the majority of the pro-choice crowd. I recall the MTV abortion special a few years back. I didn’t watch but read about it. While pro-choice called them heroes I saw oppressed controlled little girls. One of them cried when the doc said the aborted child was just a clump of cells. Who was really wanting these abortions? Where was the pro-choice outrage? They also forget about abortion for gender selection, especially in male-dominated societies. Interesting enough, abortion was never about any rights. It was about keeping the race pure, or eugenics. Even presidents as late as Nixon sought funding of birth control to reduce births of how he put it “little black b****” It was a popular concept then even among feminists. Reducing abortion calls for access to birth control and education.
Right on, A. Thank you for sharing this.
I’m Catholic, too, and I’m generally pro-choice but with certain limitations. Ideally, it should be a last resort thing and the woman should be offered plenty of support. At the same time, I’m not going to make a decision for somebody else, if it’s what is right for them in their situation. The idea of forced abortions makes me really sad though! I can imagine there are women in abusive relationships who could get pressured into it and then regret it. Awful.
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