LiveAction has posted the story of Jewels Green, a woman who underwent a coerced abortion at 17 and later spent several years working at an abortion facility in Pennsylvania. Here’s an excerpt:
“My first baby would be 22 this week.
“I was a 17-year-old drug-using high school drop-out, but when the lady wearing scrubs told me I was pregnant, I already thought of myself as a new mother.
“Everyone wanted me to get an abortion… except me.
“I actually stopped using drugs, went to the library and checked out a book called ‘Under 18 and Pregnant’ and started to read it to prepare. I scheduled my first prenatal check-up. My boyfriend was relentless. I am deliberately omitting the details of the violence, both real and threatened, but I finally caved in to my boyfriend’s insistence to not have our baby. On January 4, 1989, he took me to the abortion clinic, but I literally ran out in the hope of saving my baby. Two days later, on January 6, 1989, at 9 1/2 weeks gestation, I had an abortion. It nearly killed me. No, not the surgical procedure, the psychological aftermath. I attempted suicide three times after my abortion and finally ended up in an adolescent psychiatric ward of a community hospital for a month to recover.
“I was coerced into having an abortion and thought that by becoming a counselor at an abortion clinic, I could help others like me really talk out their feelings on the issue, truly explore their options, and help them make an honest, informed decision–or help them leave an abusive situation. … [A]fter two years working at the clinic and starting college as a psychology major, I was trained as a counselor. The ‘counseling’ experience was not what I had hoped. Nearly every pregnant woman coming to an abortion clinic for ‘options counseling’ had already made up her mind, but just wanted to check out the facility and have her questions answered and perhaps her fears allayed. And most of the women coming in felt they had no other choice. A few were truly ambivalent.
“This is where the pro-choice movement and clinics fail. Sure, we had a little notebook with the names and numbers of two local adoption agencies, but we were never trained or taught how the adoption process works so we could explain it to women. We had the phone number of the local WIC office, public assistance, etc., but again, knew nothing about the process should anyone ever ask for details. If a pregnant woman wanted to learn more about these other choices, the best the ‘options counselor’ could offer was a post-it note with a phone number hastily scribbled on it.”
You can read the rest of Green’s story at LiveAction’s blog.
Research suggests that her observations about women coming for abortions believing they “had no other choice” and the lack of help and options offered is very accurate. A survey of American and Russian women who had abortions, published in the Medical Science Monitor, found that:
- 64 percent of American respondents reported they were pressured by others to abort;
- More than 50 percent said they were uncertain or needed more time to make a decision;
- 79 percent said they were not given any information about abortion alternatives;
- 84 percent said they did not receive adequate counseling before abortion; and
- 67 percent said they received no counseling before abortion.
As Green has pointed out, the solution is to provide real support to pregnant girls and women:
“We need to do better. We need to provide real resources to pregnant mothers facing an unplanned pregnancy. The women and babies of our country deserve better.”
You can find a list of resources and support for pregnant women and for women, men and families hurting after abortion in our Help & Healing Guide. The Center Against Forced Abortion also provides legal resources to women and girls being coerced or forced to abort.