When you discover you are unexpectedly pregnant, it may seem like a no-brainer that you are the one who gets to choose whether you opt for an abortion or not. However, once you start telling your partner, parents, or friends that you are pregnant, you could discover that everyone has an opinion about what you should do. It can cause your decision process to become very confusing.
The pressure of people trying to impose what they think is best onto you can feel overwhelming. Quite frequently, the pressure women experience when facing an unplanned pregnancy is to have an abortion. But what if you are not sure yet? Whose choice is it for an abortion anyway?
You can get through this. Keep reading to learn about the pressure pregnant women face and why the choice you make about your pregnancy is yours.
Whose Choice Is It for an Abortion?
When someone pressures you, manipulates you, or threatens you because they want you to make a particular decision about your pregnancy, it is called coercion. It may sound harsh or hard to imagine, but anytime you are coerced regarding your pregnancy, it is abusive.
Research by the Elliott Institute reveals that 64% of women felt pressured by others to choose abortion. Most women felt rushed and uncertain about their abortion decision, with 67% receiving absolutely no counseling beforehand. They say it did not feel like a choice at all because, in reality, it was coercion.
Women who had abortions they felt pressured into were more likely to suffer from clinical depression, substance abuse, anxiety disorders, and suicidal behavior after their abortions. For your overall health, it is critical that you receive information about all of your pregnancy options, have an opportunity to weigh them in an unbiased environment, and make a choice that you can feel confident about.
How do you manage when people in your life think they know what is best for you? Set strong boundaries. For example, you can say, “I have already made my decision, and I will not discuss this anymore.” Taking a stand like this can feel uncomfortable, but it is healthy for you and others when your personal boundaries teach them where they end, and where you begin.
Fortunately, you are here and learning that you are the one who has the authority to choose about your unexpected pregnancy. Whether you choose abortion or not is your decision to make. Next, we will talk about if this is still true if you are a minor.
Can My Parents Make Me Have an Abortion?
What if you are under the age of eighteen and your parents have strong opinions about your pregnancy choice? Can your parents make you have an abortion if you do not want one just because you are a minor? The answer is, “NO. Your parents cannot force you to have an abortion even if you are under the age of eighteen.”
The only time there could be an exception is if your parents convince a judge that it would threaten your life medically to continue your pregnancy.
Coercion by your parents to have an abortion is so serious that they can be charged with child abuse – that is how much your choice is protected.
Why would a parent pressure you to have an abortion you do not want to have? Sometimes this happens because they are dysfunctional people and do not want anyone to find out about your pregnancy because they are embarrassed or are afraid they will become responsible. In this case, they are putting their needs before yours.
Other parents are well-meaning and genuinely have your best interest at heart. They might be worried about your future or want to see you fulfill your educational and career goals before having a child. Whatever the reason to pressure you, it is not ok.
Teens have experienced parental threats to remove financial support, disown them, or kick them out of the home if they do not have an abortion. If this kind of coercion happens to you, help is available.
Can My Partner Make Me Have an Abortion?
In addition to parents, your partner may also pressure you into having an abortion. He might be afraid of the responsibility of being a parent, or he does not want the financial obligation. Or perhaps he does not want anyone to find out he is sexually active.
No matter the reason for a partner pressuring you to have an abortion, it is wrong. Nobody has the right to pressure you towards any decision about your pregnancy choice. Ways a partner might try to coerce you into an abortion may include:
- Begging, crying, or pleading
- Offering to pay for the abortion
- Threatening to break up with you if you do not have an abortion
- Threats to harm you
- Threatening to kick you out if you live with him
- Telling you that he will not help you financially
- Telling you he will not help you during your pregnancy or afterward
- Emotional manipulation by saying things that do not sound like direct threats but plant doubt into your mind
Trust your gut. If you feel like your partner is coercing you into an abortion either blatantly or covertly, get somewhere safe to get the support you deserve.
It is illegal in all 50 states to force a woman to have an abortion. There are resources available to you, including the Justice Foundation, if you feel you are being pressured into abortion. Willow Womens Center is also here to support you.
Do You Need Help With Your Choice?
When you visit Willow Womens Center, you will receive all of the facts you need to make an informed decision about your pregnancy. You will be empowered with accurate information, but you will never be coerced into any particular decision. Our licensed professional healthcare team and skilled advocates offer compassion. We believe you are capable of making the pregnancy decision that is best for you.
If you think you might be pregnant or need help processing your thoughts about your unexpected pregnancy, contact us today for a no-cost and confidential appointment. We are here to help you each step of the way. You are not alone.