Tuesday, March 30, 2010

April is Abortion Recovery Awareness Month

If you or a loved one is struggling after an abortion, please know you are not alone and that help is available and there is hope and healing for you or your loved one. The most important thing to realize is that you/they are not alone in your/their thoughts and feelings. Others have traveled the path to find healing and you/they can, too. If you or your loved one is struggling, please reach out for help. You or your loved one will receive lots of love and support and support in your/their journey to find healing and peace. You can find organizations which offer counseling services, websites on healing, books of diverse beliefs and practices, and more healing resources at the following directory: Abortion Recovery Resources

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Coerced Abortion: A Concerning Issue

Having spoken with and listened to post-abortion women for a number of years, especially at this post-abortion support website, I've learned that subtle to overt pressure and even coercion to have an abortion were a common factor for many woman in their abortion decision. This issue is concerning, however under-represented in discussions on abortion. A growing body of evidence shows that most abortions are unwanted or coerced. One study 64% of American women felt pressured by others. (1) More than half felt rushed or uncertain, yet 67% received no counseling.(1) 79% were not told about available alternatives.(1)

A survey of members at a poltically-neutral post-abortion support website of 5,714 active members, found 772 incidences of individuals in a member's life invovled in coercing her into the abortion(s) (source)

Pressure and coercion to have an abortion comes in many forms and from all sides. It may come from a boyfriend/partner spouse, parent, mentor, school counselor, employer, family planning clinic staff, or religious clergy. Coercion comes in many direct and indirect forms, overt or subtle.

Overt coersion often involves outright words or actions of threat --- such as someone saying to you --- "if you don't get an abortion..." then they will usually list dire consequences purposely to upset her and push her into doing what they want. These dire consequences and threats may include threats of ending the relationship, removing their other child(ren), kicking them out of the home, job termination, etc.

Subtle coersion often includes double-entendres, veiled threats, mind games, passive-agressive actions by the coercers, etc. These threats are not as blatant as the overt coercers, but are more subtle forms of emotional abuse, intended to make her doubt herself, for example, a double-entendre, "It's YOUR decision BUT you'll never finish school." or "It's YOUR decision BUT you wouldn't be a good mom."

Another method includes bribing, sweet talking, or making empty promises ... for example, a boyfriend may promise to marry her if she has the abortion, he may promise that she can have a baby later if she only has the abortion at this time, if she has the abortion everything will be okay and they will be together forever. However these relationships often don't last.

These are all real examples of coercion and these are all forms of emotional/psychological abuse. For those who say "the final decision was up to her," "she signed the consent form," "no one forced her to get up on that table" etc., yes, she ultimately made the choice to get on the table, but pressure and coercion strongly influenced her decision, it was not a "choice" completely made of free will. We need to consider the effects of what being in an abusive relationship can be like and what it can do to a persons free will when she's been emotionally worn down. If you have ever spent time at a woman's shelter or know of a woman who has been abused, know how quickly they feel dehumanized and have no choice and do things they wouldn't have normally chosen to do.

Some coercers have even gone as far as to actually call up and book an appointment at the abortion clinic for the coerced woman, either taking her to the clinic under a misleading guise or basically dragging her and forcing her to into the car and then clinic...using every threat and tactic they can think of to force her through the door and even to sign the form stating that she isn't being coerced. Unfortuantly, many of these women, under emotional duress from harassment and the fear of what will happen when they return home/back to work if they don't get the abortion, will sign the form. Coercion by abusive or otherwise controlling individuals can escalate to violence, forced abortion or even homicide - the leading cause of death for pregnant women.

Some coercers honestly think that by pushing her into having an abortion, they are doing what is right for her, often in the case of parents, who mistakenly believe it is their 'job' as a good parent to presure her into an abortion to protect her from ruining her life or embarassing the family, etc. However, this doesn't undo the emotional hurt or damage of being coerced into an unwanted abortion. "65% of women coerced into an abortion suffer symptoms of trauma" (1) This represents the need for better screening and pre-abortion counseling at hospitals and clinics and more dialogue on this issue from both sides of the abortion debate.

1) VM Rue et. al. "Induced abortions and traumatic stress: A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women," Medical Science Monitor 10(10):SR5-16 (2004).

For more information, please see:

Abortion: The UnChoice
Stories, research, and documentation of forced or coerced abortions

Forced and Coerced Abortions
Documentation of high profile cases of forced or coerced abortion.

Unwanted Abortions
Stories, research, and documentation of forced or coerced abortions

Women's Experience of Forced or Coerced Abortion
Shared experiences of women who were forced or coerced into having an abortion(s).

More Women's Experiences of Forced or Coerced Abortion
Shared experiences of women who were forced or coerced into having an abortion(s).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Incredible Photo Essay on Poverty and Young Mothers in Troy New York

At the following link, you will find an incredible photo essay on poverty and young mothers in Troy, NY. The issues surrounding poverty are complex, there are many layers and facets contributing to life in poverty: unstable relationships with partner(s) and family, domestic violence, partner's involvement in gang or drug activity, lacking a high school diploma or GED, lack of vocational or career skills, lack of reliable transportation, lack of safe housing, unemployment due to layoff or termination, underemployment at a minum wage or poorly paying job, underemployed but inelgibile for federal assistance programs, and mental illness or ongoing health issues, etc. coupled with the emotional state of hopelessness and discouragement that often accompny poverty, there are no easy solutions. Beyond the political arena of hot cotemporary issues such as welfare, abortion, and health care are the individuals living everyday lives in poverty.

Brenda Ann Kenneally: Upstate Girls

As a journalist and activist I have dedicated my life to exploring the how and why of class inequity in America. I am concerned with the internalized social messages that will live on for generations after our economic and social policies catch up with the reality of living on the bottom rung of America's upwardly mobile society. My project explores the way that money is but a symptom of self-worth and a means by which humans separate from each other. Poverty is an emotional rather than physical state with layers of marginalization to cement those who live under them into their place. The economic crisis as it is called has done some to take the moral sting out of being poor, though the conversation remains centered on economic rather than social stimulus relief. Thus indicating that the crux of the crisis is for those that are recently without money rather than Americans whose ongoing struggles left them unfazed by the headlines.

H/T to Keep Calm and Carry On

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pro-lifers Don't Care About the Born, Redux

If you're a pro-life individual and activist, you've probably heard it at sometime or another in a conversation on abortion or maybe as a pro-choice activist, you hold the view that we don't care about children once they're born, only fetuses.

However, keep in mind that many pro-lifers individuals volunteer on an individual basis in over 4,000 pregnancy resource centers in the United states and other countries, which provides parenting and childbirth classes; nutritional counseling; material items (see Earn While You Learn program below); and referrals to public and private agencies for assistance such as Medicaid, the Woman, Infants, and Child (WIC) program, Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF), homeless and battered women shelters, utility assistance, and for health care. Most centers feature clothing rooms, which are a department store-like resource center for supplementary material goods such as baby furniture, car safety seats, diapers, hygiene items, blankets and crib bedding, formula/baby food, and new and gently used infant/toddler clothes. are able to make purchases by using "Mommy Money" that is earned by attending 'Earn and Learn' classes. 'Earn and Learn' classes are provided for pregnant and parenting women and include pregnancy, prenatal development, delivery and postpartum care, the emotional needs and physical care of a newborn/toddler/school-aged child, first aid, foundations of discipline, financial management, job preparation and other life skills. Not only does this program provide clients with the material things they need for their infants and their other children, but also teaches them valuable life skills to help them rise out of poverty, and gives them independence and a sense of self-worth.

Also we act on an individual basis to provide, "We offer—and deliver—concrete, here-and-now help. Groceries, clothing, cribs, "safe haven" places to stay as long as they need (like my own home, for instance, in my guest room), baby supplies for their other young ones, even medical care for them and their unborn babies." - http://afterabortion.blogspot.com/2004/07/ive-gone-back-finally-as-some-of-you.html

One great example is when pro-lifers pitched in and worked together to help pay a 15 week pregnant woman's $1950/month mortgage payment when she couldn't work due to pregnancy complications and was at risk of loosing her home:

And on a personal note, my best and closest friend is a single mom to a school-aged child. I was there for her through her pregnancy and her daughter's childhood. I've been there to provide emotional support when she went to the hospital, provide transportation to doctor's offices and Medicaid appointments, provided childcare for her daughter while she was at work or needed an evening off, but most of all continue to giver her support and encouragement. Also, keep in mind that many pro-lifer individuals, such as myself, volunteer on an individual basis for a number community service and support agencies. I've been volunteering at local food pantries and the local soup kitchen, where we distribute hot meals and sack lunches to low income and homeless individuals and families, for the last eight years, off and on, as times allows. And I'm currently creating and distributing basic care bags, with information on local resources, to the indigent homeless in Indiana.

This is one such stereotype of pro-lifer individuals which is inaccurate, perpetuated by biased perceptions and rhetoric, rather we should focus on constructive dialogue of what we can do to better support disadvantaged pregnant and parenting women in our communities.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Former Abortion Clinic Building Converting to Teen Parenting Center

Former Abortion Clinic To House Teen Parent Center

Little Steps To Lease, Renovate Laurens Road Site

Beth Brotherton, WYFF News 4 Anchor/ Reporter
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- A building that used to be an abortion clinic has a new tenant.

Little Steps has taken a lease out on the downtown Greenville property. The teen parent program offers parenting classes, mentoring, support groups, supplies and childcare to young moms and dads.
The group's founder, Mandy Black, was a teen parent herself. "They're young parents, they're going to be parents whether we come along side and help them or not," Black said.

The abortion clinic closed in 2002. The building has been unoccupied for years. It is moldy, water damaged and in need of repairs. To fix it up, Little Steps has planned a community makeover the first weekend in May. Black says they need supplies and sponsorships before then. "We will be repairing walls throughout the building. I don't think there is one wall in whole building that doesn't need repairs," Black said.

Little Steps hopes to finish renovations before summertime. They want to create more space for classes and play groups. Jackie Harris, a 15-year-old single mom to daughter Mary Grace, is excited about the move and the extended hours Little Steps will offer. "I didn't have the baby's father's help. I was a single mom at age 14, a freshman in high school. They gave me options for daycare. They helped me with a job."

Mandy Black knows the move is a bit of a political statement but she says the space really is a perfect fit to provide classrooms, playrooms and mentoring stations. "I don't want to forget what happened here," she said. "There were a lot of lives lost and a lot of lives changed in this building. We don't want to forget that, but at the same time we want to move from that and say here is what can happen now."

To learn how you can help Little Steps with renovations go to their website http://www.littlestepssc.org/.
This is one great example of a pro-life individual seeing a need in the community and taking the intiative for change, by provide mentoring, emotional support, and life skills to prepare pregnant and parenting teen moms for adulthood. Whether you consider yourself pro-life or pro-choice, this may be one area of common ground, there is definately a need in many communities for better support services, like this, for teens and college students who are pregnant and parenting.

H/T Christina at Real Choice

Monday, March 8, 2010


I just wanted to pop in and say hello. My blogging is going to be lighter for the next few weeks, as I'm taking six to eight week CNA (certified nursing assistant) or nurse aide certification course . Having worked for two years in direct care with the developmentally disabled, I've found that I enjoy providing compassion and care to patients and I think I've found my niche.