Springfield, IL (Sept. 17, 2010) -- Pro-life groups are raising concerns about coerced and forced abortions after a shooting threat outside of an abortion business that performs late-term abortions in New Mexico.
Operation Rescue reported that a man who was escorting his 16-year-old daughter for an abortion at Southwestern Women's Options, which performs late-term abortions, flashed what appeared to be a gun at pro-life sidewalk counselors and threatened to shoot them if they tried to speak to his daughter. Police reportedly confiscated a loaded gun from the man and discovered other weapons in his car.
“This raises an important question of whether or not this young lady held any fear for her armed father, and whether she was seeking an abortion of her own free will,” Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, said in a news release. “We know that there is a silent epidemic of coerced abortions and even forced abortions going on in this country.”
A similar case occurred in Florida when a woman was sentenced to two years' community service for taking her 15-year-old daughter to an abortion business at gunpoint. Police said the woman told clinic workers that if her daughter didn't have an abortion, "I'm going to blow her brains out," and told them to perform the abortion even if the teen was "a little teary."
Most Abortions Are Unwanted or Coerced, Report Says
While the clinic workers in Florida called the police, other women and girls have not been so lucky. There have been numerous reported incidents of threats and attacks -- some of them deadly -- against pregnant women and girls in order to prevent them from continuing their pregnancies.
Research suggests that most abortions are unwanted or coerced, with one survey of women who had abortions finding that 64 percent said they felt pressured by others to abort and nearly 80 percent said they did not receive the counseling they needed to make a decision -- even though more than half felt rushed or uncertain about the abortion.
The Elliot Institute's special report, Forced Abortion in America, documents cases of women and girls being attacked or killed for refusing to abort and exposes the widespread epidemic of unwanted, coerced and forced abortions taking place in the U.S.
"Our files contain hundreds of stories from women and girls who were attacked or killed with the intent of getting rid of the pregnancy," said Elliot Institute spokesperson Amy Sobie. "We've been collecting these stories for more than six years through mainstream media sources and pro-life organizations who have been diligently reporting on these kinds of cases. The information is out there, but many people aren't aware of what might be going on in their own communities."
Sobie said that people might not immediately connect this with abortion because in many cases the woman or girl never makes it to an abortion clinic -- she's attacked or killed before she even gets there.
"In our opinion, the availability of abortion makes it easier for those around her to think that she shouldn't be having this baby, and gives those with an interest in getting rid of the unborn child a justification for doing so," she said.
Teen, Late-Term Abortions More Likely to Be Unwanted
A recent study of women who had later abortions found that nearly 40 percent said they desired the pregnancy and only 30 percent said both they and their partner supported the abortion, while less than 14 percent said they received adequate pre-abortion counseling or information on alternatives or physical and emotional risks.
"In general, these results are indicative of more ambivalence and conflict surrounding the decision and the likelihood of less stable partner relationships among women who obtain later abortions," the researchers wrote. "Logically, women who are unsure about how to proceed with an unplanned pregnancy are more likely to put off the decision to abort, perhaps hoping their circumstances will improve and enable them to carry to term."
Research on teens who have had abortions also found that teens are more likely to feel pressured into abortion, to report being misinformed in pre-abortion counseling and to experience more severe psychological stress after abortion, along with other physical and psychological problems.