At Willow Womens Center, we frequently meet women who share that they are facing pressure to have an abortion. This pressure can make an already complex decision much more confusing during such a difficult time. In this blog post, we will review different types of pressure, your rights as a woman who is expecting (regardless of age), and what you can do in this situation.
Different Types of Pressure
While some women know for sure that their partner or parents are applying pressure, other women feel confused about the behavior they are seeing and experiencing. That pressure comes in many forms.
Direct pressure occurs when your partner (or in some cases, your parent or parents) tells you to get an abortion. They may tell you that they do not want a child, will not stay with you if you have the child, will not claim the child, or they will not support the child. In some cases, a woman may even be subject to verbal or physical abuse if she resists this pressure to terminate her pregnancy.
Indirect pressure occurs when your partner plants seeds of doubt in your mind without directly demanding that you terminate the pregnancy. For example, he might say things like, “I just don’t know if your mental health can really handle this right now,” to a woman who has a diagnosis of anxiety or depression, or, “How are you going to afford this on your own?” to a woman who does not work outside the home. He might insinuate that your relationship will not survive, your body won’t bounce back, your finances won’t suffice, or other aspects of your life will suffer if you move forward with the pregnancy. After these comments, you might believe it was your own decision to have an abortion.
Situational pressure is more difficult to identify and occurs when a situation is not conducive to pregnancy or parenthood. Perhaps none of your friends have children and having a baby will leave you feeling ostracized or left out, or perhaps your parents are absent in your life so you do not believe you have the role models or support you need to provide a loving home for a child. Maybe you feel that having a child out of wedlock or born of an affair will lead to being shunned or judged by your peers at work or in school. These are all examples of situational pressure.
Legalities When Being Pressured into Abortion
There are several things you need to know about your legal rights if you are being pressured to have an abortion.
Nobody can force you to terminate a pregnancy. Even if you are under 18 years old, you cannot be forced to have an abortion against your will. Depending on the jurisdiction, the person attempting to force you to have an abortion can potentially be charged with coercion, a form of abuse. If you feel like you are not safe because you are refusing to have an abortion, contact the police and request a protection order.
You can always withdraw your consent even after you have already scheduled an appointment to have an abortion. Many women change their minds after scheduling an appointment they were pressured to schedule, but do not know that they can change their minds after signing consent. Until the abortion has been performed, you have a right to change your mind – even if you are already at the clinic or you have already taken one of the abortion pills. Abortion pill reversals may be available.
What to Do Next
First, schedule an appointment at Willow Womens Center to learn about all your options. We are located in Beloit, Wisconsin and offer pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, STI testing, community resources, and more to help you make the most informed decision possible during this difficult and often confusing time.
It is also important to give whoever is pressuring you some time and space to work through their feelings. Remember that an unplanned pregnancy causes emotions for you and other people that are close to you, such as your partner or a parent. Invite them to come with you to your appointment at our clinic, where they can see the ultrasound images and can find out some of the important information together with you.
Share your pregnancy with others who will support you. If you are not getting the support you need from your partner, it is important to share your news with friends or family members who will support you and can help you with your decision. These days can be less stressful when you have the right people alongside you, and often you also need somebody to talk to as you experience the ups and downs of pregnancy.
Finally, take time to get to explore what you want. Ask yourself what your plans for your future and your values are and how these will be impacted by your decision. Explore your fears and worries about this unexpected pregnancy in depth and get support to work through them with a friend, mentor, or counselor. Ask yourself what is important to you, how this pregnancy fits into that, and what kind of decisions you need to make now to align with your plans and values and who you are as a person.
Getting Help From Willow Womens Center
Facing an unplanned pregnancy is complicated in any situation, but it becomes infinitely more challenging if you feel pressured to make a decision that you may not want. Take the first step toward making an informed decision that you can stand behind and schedule a consultation with Willow Womens Center in Beloit, Wisconsin today. During your appointment, we can provide pregnancy testing, perform an ultrasound examination, and share all the options available to you, including abortion, so you can make the most informed decision about your future.