An unexpected pregnancy can bring up a range of emotions, from fear to excitement to uncertainty. You may be wondering about a variety of issues. The changes your body will go through, the reaction of the child’s father and other family members, and how everyone’s lives will be affected are all valid concerns.
If you’re dealing with an unexpected pregnancy and are being encouraged to have an abortion, there are ways to stand up for yourself and make sure your voice is heard. Women who show signs that they’ve been coerced into getting an abortion are considered high-risk.
When it comes to possibly terminating a pregnancy, some prospective mothers feel pressure from many directions. As a result, they can become confused about what the best decision is, both for themselves and their unborn children.
Being pressured into having an abortion can have lifelong consequences. If you’re pregnant and not sure about what your next step should be, it’s important to be informed and make decisions without being swayed by others.
Pressure from Family, Friends, or the Child’s Father
A lot of women find out they’re expecting and naturally tell the child’s father, family, and friends. Although the announcement of a new life is often good news for loved ones, there are some cases where this news is met with negativity.
Younger women, particularly those in their teens, who learn they are pregnant may be encouraged by their parents to have an abortion. Even if a family member has your best interest at heart when voicing their opinion, insisting that abortion is the answer can be considered coercion.
If you are under age 18 and have recently found out you’re pregnant, you may think that there is nothing you can do except listen to those telling you to have an abortion. It can be hard to go against your parents’ advice. However, coercion at any age is still wrong. It is unlawful for anyone to force you to have an abortion. You must refuse to sign any documents. Tell every medical or clinic person that you do not want the abortion.
Sometimes, the child’s father is the person encouraging the mother to have an abortion. There can be a lot of reasons for this; the father may not want to take financial responsibility for the child, and/or he may not want to have a relationship with the mother. No matter what the reason, whether or not to have an abortion is a decision that should not be forced on the mother. No one can force a woman to have an abortion.
Medical or Psychological Reasons
Sometimes, women learn that there may be a serious medical problem with their unborn child. In these cases, medical personnel may advise terminating the pregnancy. Medical staff may indicate that continuing the pregnancy is unsafe for both the mother and child.
Alternatively, they may believe the child’s quality of life will be greatly diminished if the pregnancy is carried to term. While this may not be considered coercion by definition, it can definitely impact the mother’s decision-making process.
In the event of rape or incest, the mother may be encouraged by friends, family, and even medical staff to get an abortion. The mother herself may also feel that abortion is the best idea due to the potential or perceived psychological implications of becoming pregnant and giving birth as a result of abuse.
However, any decision needs to be made from a fully-informed standpoint—without outside pressure. In these cases, counseling is recommended before deciding to go through with an abortion, and regardless of the decision that is ultimately made.
On the Fence? That’s Completely Normal
An unplanned pregnancy can bring up a range of emotions and it’s common to be unsure of what to do next. If you have contemplated abortion, it’s totally normal to have mixed feelings.
Why do women have second thoughts about getting an abortion? Several studies have indicated that as many as 70 percent of women seeking abortions have moral reservations about the procedure. Another 30 to 60 percent would like to keep their child, despite their doubts.
The Aftereffects of Coerced Abortion
For those who go through with pregnancy termination, there are negative psychological consequences that can linger for months or years after the procedure. Some of the symptoms may happen immediately after the abortion. Others can take longer to show up but potentially last for decades.
Women who have been coerced into having an abortion may experience depression, guilt, nightmares or insomnia, suicidal tendencies, relationship difficulties and/or sexual problems, abnormal fear of pregnancy, and vivid or disturbing flashbacks.
If you are pregnant, and unsure of what to do, seek the support of a trained pregnancy support services counselor who will listen to you without judgment, and will provide compassionate support and information to help you decide what is best for you and your child.