AUSTIN, TX, February 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Although feminist activists call themselves “pro-choice,” they have lined up to oppose a Texas state representative's bill to ban forced abortion in the Lone Star state.
Nearly two years after heated debate over a law that shut down most abortion clinics in Texas, Rep. Molly White has introduced HB 1648, which she says would help end the epidemic of coerced abortion.
“'The Coerced Abortion Prevention Bill' will protect women who are trafficked and forced to abort by their traffickers,” White said in a statement.
White's statement describes the three main components of the bill as first requiring staff at abortion clinics “to screen for coercion,” then “requiring the abortion clinic to post signs about coerced abortion.”
The third step is “providing women who indicate that they are suffering abuse or who are victims of coercion with access to a private room with a confidential phone line and a directory of law enforcement, help hotlines, and assistance programs to help protect her from the coercive situation.”
White also said that “the bill permits a 72-hour waiting period after a woman has indicated that she has been coerced before having an abortion. This gives law enforcement time to investigate the coercion and the woman time to look at her options.”
A staffer for White told LifeSiteNews that “an abortionist can be prosecuted, as well, under this bill.”
White's bill, which was introduced last week, was immediately opposed by Susan Hays, legislative counsel for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. On Fox 7 in Austin, Hays accused White of “creating a problem where none exist [sic] to push yet more abortion legislation in Texas that is not needed.”
Hays said that White's bill would be redundant when it came to protecting victims from outside pressure to abortion. “Abortion clinics for decades have screened for domestic violence and any other pressure on women, because abortion clinics are so dedicated to women exercising their own autonomy in seeking health care,” Hays said.
But White cited a 1986 survey that “found that 53 percent of 252 post-abortive women said they were forced to undergo an abortion.” Additionally, “the Medical College of Ohio conducted a study where one-third of the women reported that they were coerced to undergo an abortion,” and “in 1992, a study of the psychological consequences of abortion found up to 60 percent of abortions in America are coerced.”
A 2014 study found that one-quarter of all women who seek an abortion were abused.
A 2010 study “from three community health centers in lower-income Boston-area neighborhoods,” which surveyed 1,300 men, found that four percent of men admitted that they “sought to compel” a female sexual partner to have an abortion.
According to RH Reality Check, both of the study's pro-abortion co-authors used its results to push back against coercion laws – saying that forcible sexual intercourse is the bigger problem.
“Coerced abortion is a very small piece of the puzzle of a much larger problem, which is violence against women and the impact it has on her health,” said Dr. Elizabeth Miller. Her study showed that nearly one-third of study respondents engaged in some kind of physical or sexual violence against a female partner, and that one-third of the men were involved with a woman who had an abortion.
The Guttmacher Institute, long tied to Planned Parenthood, denies the problem, citing a 2005 study that found that less than one percent of women reported coercion being a factor in the decision to abort their children.
However, a great deal of evidence shows that coercion against women who consider abortion is prevalent, and that abortion clinics do not protect them from pressure. Numerous investigative videos from Live Action, for example, show Planned Parenthood employees admitting to covering up abortions for minors, victims of rape, and sex trafficked women.
A 2004 study of Russian and American women who had abortions found that 64 percent of American women and 37 percent of Russian women “felt pressured by others” to have an abortion.
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In addition to studies, anecdotes show that violent and/or illegal coerced abortion takes place across America. In her book Fallen, former prostitute and trafficking victim Annie Lobert described having several abortions while under the control of her former pimp. LifeSiteNews has reported on a number of cases where parents, boyfriends, and husbands trick or force a pregnant woman to have an abortion.