Research shows women are coerced into abortion, and this leads to emotional trauma

By Sarah Terzo 

Many women have described being pressured into abortions. One study found that up to 64% of women having abortions were coerced. According to another researcher, 45% of men interviewed at an abortion facility admitted to having urged their partners to have an abortion and justified being the primary decision maker. 

A Norway study on post-abortive women found that “[T]he strongest predictor of [post-abortion] emotional distress was “pressure from [the] male partner.” In the study, coerced women were the group most likely to suffer post-abortion trauma in the two years following their abortions. 

Coerced into an abortion they both regretted

Paula wanted her baby but agreed to an abortion after her boyfriend insisted: “Jerry and I were having terrible fights. He’d say, “It’s not a baby. It’s only this big.”

She regretted the abortion immediately: “I knew right away that I had made a mistake, that this was the most awful thing that could ever happen to anybody.”

Jerry also came to regret the abortion. 

Paula and Jerry got married, but the abortion led to conflict. Paula says, “There were times when I’ve thought, “I did this all for Jerry,” and I’ve almost hated him. There were even times when I wanted to hurt him back in the same way he hurt me.”

She cried frequently, often when she saw a pregnant woman, a baby, or even a diaper commercial on television. 

When she had her son, she felt even worse:

After I saw him, I could only think that he had a brother or sister somewhere who was only two years older than he was. How could I have done that? That never went away… We had two more children, little girls. With each new baby, the grief would start up all over again. 

She says to others who are considering abortion: “Don’t do it. You will regret it in some way for the rest of your life. The thought will always be there that you’ve done this to that little baby, and those babies are real.”4

He drove her to an abortion, then went out on a date with someone else

When Rhonda found out she was unexpectedly pregnant, she says, “I was kind of shocked in a way, yet also, in a sense, happy. I’ve always loved children; I’ve always wanted children.”5

But when she told her boyfriend, he insisted on an abortion. Rhonda says:

His response was to bring up the fact again of what my parents and our church would say. He sort of fed into my fears. He looked at it that I could have one or the other – him or the baby – but not both.

I had to make a decision about which one I wanted… He said that, if I went through with the pregnancy, I wouldn’t be able to go to school, and if my parents kicked me out, he wouldn’t be able to take me in.

Rhonda was 18, and there was no requirement to tell her parents. Today she wishes she’d been forced to tell them. Years later, when she did tell them about her abortion, they were devastated. They would’ve supported her and helped her have her baby. 

Rhonda recalls that even the abortionist seemed to realize she was suffering emotionally: 

I felt so alone. I think even the doctor sensed that because when I left, he asked if my boyfriend was with me. I said he was, and the doctor said, “When you see him, walk up to him, push him on the floor, and kick him in the stomach. Then tell him that he doesn’t begin to feel what you feel.” I will never forget that as long as I live.

The abortionist recognized the trauma abortion could cause, but still committed abortions. 

After Rhonda’s boyfriend drove her home, he left her and went out on a date with someone else. The relationship ended.  

Rhonda was filled with anger. Her hostility damaged her relationships with friends and family. She says, “There was a lot of tension in my family. I was impossible to talk to… They wanted to help me, but I wouldn’t let them.”8

Rhonda had a four-year-old godchild. After the abortion, she said, “I can’t enjoy her because every time I see her it drags me back into a depression.”

Today, Rhonda is alone and childless. She says, “I denied myself the one thing that really would make me happy. To this day, I would like to have that child.”

She felt she had nowhere to turn

Penney got pregnant while living with a man named Bart. Her mother struggled with mental illness, and they had a very troubled relationship. She couldn’t live at home. Bart said he’d leave her if she didn’t abort. She says, “I felt at the time that I didn’t have a choice. I couldn’t go to my parents. I couldn’t stay with him. So where does a pregnant 18-year-old go?”9

A pregnancy resource center would have given Penney support to keep her baby. Many of these centers regularly find housing for pregnant women. There are places all over the country for pregnant women to go and stay. But Penney didn’t know about them. After the abortion: 

Although she stayed with Bart, they fought constantly. Eventually, she became a Christian and found healing, but still says: 

I don’t think I’ll ever say I’m past the scars. I don’t think you can ever say that. You can’t take back killing your own baby. After you’ve had children and developed that bond with them, you realize that’s a scar that will always remain.

All these women suffered post-abortion trauma. 

Source: Kathleen Winkler When the Crying Stops: Abortion, the Pain and the Healing (Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Northwestern Publishing House, 1992) 36-37, 37-38, 41, 69, 69-70, 71, 76, 107, 108

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.