With as many as 62% of post abortive women reporting that they felt forced into making the abortion decision, Massachusetts Citizens for Life’s legislative agenda for 2017 includes bill H.3119, the Protect Women from Coercion Act. This bill would require facilities performing abortions to inform a pregnant woman seeking an abortion that no one can force her to have an abortion against her will. It requires both verbal notification and the posting of a sign in the abortion facility notifying patients of these rights. Failure to post the required sign carries a fine. An individual injured by the failure to post the sign or to provide verbal notification to the pregnant woman may bring a civil action for damages.
Rep. Elizabeth Poirier, R-North Attleboro, is the bill's primary sponsor. It has been assigned to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.
This article from the MCFL member’s magazine from Fall 2017 highlights one woman's experience of coerced abortion.
The Back Door
What is a door, really? For most, it is just an architectural assemblage, a means of egress – either a way in, or a way out.
For countless millions of women in abortion clinics, however, it is both a physical and mental checkpoint. It is the intangible moment she leaves behind the world of carrying an unborn child within her womb; it is the solid structure that bars, then opens, the way to the abortionist. Passing through the door is a defining act that forever shifts the focus of the woman’s life, and never more so than when abortion is coerced.
Roe v Wade was supposed to be all about “choice”. But, what choice is there when the decision to abort is not that of the pregnant woman? When it belongs, instead, to parents who are ashamed their daughter is pregnant; or to a boyfriend who won’t have an unwanted pregnancy on his hands; or to a husband, who decides he does not want this child in his life?
For those in the “coercion camp,” it can all fade very quickly and conveniently into blackness, for a mere $450. But, what remains for the woman after those four hours spent within a space she will likely never re-enter and where she never wanted to be? The hidden but resoundingly statistical truth is this: the woman is never the same. Forevermore, there is only life before the abortion and life after the abortion. Daily, she lives with the shattered dreams of the child who is missing from her family, whose hugs she will never feel, whose cry she could not console, and whose laughter she will never hear.
Consider this personal narrative based on the reality of a woman caught between honoring her husband’s wishes and wanting to protect her unborn child. He demanded the wife abort because she refused to take a gender test at eleven weeks and the gender makeup of their family was not what he had hoped for.
Entering an abortion clinic, pregnant women are greeted at the main entry by a security guard, who comes from behind his bullet-proofed glass office window and immediately waves a metal-detector over the woman’s belly. Why? Because we have become a society where there is the greater concern for protecting the abortionist from potential, imagined harm than to protecting the woman and her unborn child from the real harm of coerced abortion.
The pregnant woman passes clearance. The wife makes her way into the waiting room. For those there of their own volition, it is the final decision zone – does she stay or go? But, for the woman who is seated within six inches of the one who has demanded the abortion, there is no option, and the waiting room takes on a surreal and utterly terrifying dimension.
She looks passively, yet very intently, at the room around her, surveying the women lined up in chairs around the perimeter of the room. Some alone, some accompanied. In these moments, she thinks to herself, “How on earth and in God’s name can I go through with this? Won’t anybody save me? Won’t my husband save me from what he is demanding I do?”
A social worker, a grey-haired woman with a fox-like expression, cautiously approaches the pregnant woman, witnessing her visible and palpable distress, and says to her, “You should not be here.” The pregnant female, looks up plaintively at the social worker, but not once does her husband raise his head from the Sports Illustrated magazine in which he is seemingly engrossed. The social worker’s words, acknowledging his wife’s very apparent distress, fail to register. He remains silent; he does nothing. The social worker, seeing him silent next to her, does nothing.
Herein lies the grotesque underbelly of Roe v Wade: because the coercer is present, next to the soon-to-be patient, this is not a “safe space” to voice her concerns. The woman cannot speak. She has no voice. No choice.
She wonders, “What brought each of these women here today? Was it by choice, or not?” She sits pondering. The universal truth is that these women are pregnant, but at that point, it does not even factor in. The sheer terror of entering an abortion clinic, for a woman who does not want an abortion, sends the body into overdrive. To simply live with herself at that moment, she experiences her own kind of amnesiac shock because she is acutely aware that these women are here for one purpose – to end a life.
Each waiting woman glances furtively as each new woman enters the waiting room and others pass to the next room through “the back door” - the door that marks the beginning of the end of her former life and the life within her. It is a door through which neither parent, nor boyfriend, nor spouse must pass. It is a door reserved for her and her unborn child.
Her heart races uncontrollably when it’s her turn through the back door.