The Unwanted Abortion Crisis

David C. Reardon
Reproduced with Permission

New York Governor Kathy Hochul recently signed a package of bills designed to make New York an abortion safe haven and protect "a woman's right to determine and make her own decisions about her own body."

But how often is it really a woman's own decision?

The best evidence indicates that 64% of women who admit having a past abortion report that they felt pressured into abortion by others. Sometimes the pressure is subtle. Sometimes it is openly violent .

The pressure can come from parents, male partners, employers, friends, counselors or even doctors trying to avoid liability for a prescription that may have injured an unborn child. But it is far more common than most people realize.

I know this because I have gathered literally thousands of testimonies from women for peer reviewed medical studies. A common refrain is "I had no choice."

For example, Tracey wrote to me:

My family would not support my decision to keep my baby. My boyfriend said he would give me no emotional or financial help whatsoever. All the people who mattered to me told me to abort. When I said I didn't want to, they started listing all the reasons why I should. They said it would be detrimental to my career, and my health, and that I would have no social life and no future with men. Could I actually do it alone? I started feeling like maybe I was crazy to want to keep it. I finally just told everyone that I would have the abortion just to get them off my back.

Three months later, after a failed suicide attempt, Tracey was trying to trick her boyfriend into a replacement pregnancy. Easy access to abortion did not improve Tracey's life. It scarred her forever.

The pro-choice ethicist Daniel Callahan of the Hastings Center lamented the fact that most pro-choice advocates strictly maintain ......