The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Pro-Choice Movement Should Denounce Forced Abortion

In response to The Anglican Temper

Today at NRO we have an important piece by Colin LeCroy, unearthing the horrific stories of women who were forced into getting abortions. Colin rightly points out that this kind of coercion isn’t limited to the use of brute force — although that happens as well – but often occurs when women are pressured financially and emotionally by those around them, both in cases where the woman actively wants to keep her child or where she is still deciding what to do.

It’s worth reading his piece to understand how this type of coercion takes place. But the article also brings to mind something extremely troubling: how little most on the pro-abortion Left care about this coercion, and thus how little they truly care about choice. In fact, the pro-abortion movement almost uniformly ignores the reality that coerced abortions take place. Frighteningly, many of the most virulently pro-abortion voices on the left actively claim that this type of coercion never takes place at all. Whatever happened to “her body, her choice”?

Progressives unceasingly lament the fact that women are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, but almost never do the same politicians and activists decry coercion of the type Colin describes. Instead, they brush aside or attempt to discredit the many women who report being compelled to abort.

For example, Rewire News — one of the most prominent sites that disguises pro-abortion activism as reporting — published a story citing health experts who claimed that “there is not enough data to show [coerced abortion] being a pervasive problem.” The piece also attempts to cast doubt on the personal experience of Brittany Wilson, whose harrowing story inspired an anti-coerced-abortion law in South Dakota.

It is particularly telling that the pro-abortion Left immediately pounces on these stories, not to defend women’s reproductive rights, but to insist that coerced abortion never or rarely happens. It is nearly impossible to find examples of pro-abortion activists saying that such coercion is unacceptable and a violation of the all-surpassing “right to choose.”

Even if this coercion didn’t happen often, which is far from evident, anyone who claims to be pro-choice should care deeply about the possibility that it might occur. If those on the Left were truly pro-choice, they’d actively search for claims of coerced abortion and denounce them as flagrant violations of “reproductive freedom.”

Their refusal to do so reveals how hollow the rationale of “choice” truly is. In reality, the pro-abortion movement vehemently defends only the choice for abortion, not choice as such. Look at how quick pro-abortion feminists are to insult and ignore women who choose to be pro-life.

The Left is profoundly inconsistent on this issue. It’d be easier to comprehend a pro-choice movement that acknowledged coerced abortions and supported the right to choose life for one’s child. But the increasingly radical pro-abortion Left can never do that, because it would be tantamount to admitting that life has value and that abortion isn’t a fundamental good.

Highlighting this inherent contradiction might show those who are on the fence about abortion that the pro-abortion movement doesn’t truly support the rights of all women. It isn’t about women’s choice. It’s about protecting the right to choose abortion, at any cost, and even at the expense of women who experience the evil of coerced abortion.


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